Disinfecting Computers and Electronics

By Aaron Vanasse
Published on April 27, 2020 12:32 pm MT
Updated on April 28, 2020 7:58 am MT
Posted in General CNSIT

With advent of COVID-19 on the loose, it’s a good idea to disinfect your IT gear on at least a weekly basis. If you are using a shared machine that a lot of people touch, these steps can be repeated several times a day if needed. A few tips and things to consider.


Laptops should be powered off before any cleaning begins. Laptop displays aren’t always made of glass (matte displays are plastic) so avoid using a disinfecting wipe on the screen, just in case. The display should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol (70 percent) solution and a soft towel. Bleach is not recommended as it can damage screens and computer surfaces. The current recommendation is to leave the alcohol on the surfaces for 30 seconds or more to effectively kill viruses. There is some controversy on the internet (imagine that) over whether or not isopropyl alcohol will damage a monitor or laptop screen. If you are super cautious, you can dilute the alcohol with a little water. You’ll want your soft towel moist but not dripping wet. Liquids and computers just don’t mix. Make sure you wipe down the keyboard, the trackpad, the exterior, and where your wrists rest on the laptop.


Desktop computers need some love too. Giving them a weekly wipe if you have been out and about isn’t a bad idea. Be sure to shut your PC or Mac down before you start cleaning. The best way to clean up a desktop is with non bleach disinfecting wipes or isopropyl solution and a soft towel. Again, avoid disinfecting wipes on the monitor, just in case—stick to isopropyl alcohol there. Solutions of 70% alcohol should be left on surfaces for 30 seconds to ensure it will kill viruses. If the isopropyl alcohol you have is pure (100%) alcohol this will evaporate too quickly for effective use, but you can always dilute it with a little water. Again, like with laptops it is super important to keep your cloth damp but not dripping wet. Make sure you don’t forget to wipe down the mouse (top, sides, and bottom), the keys on your keyboard, the exterior of the keyboard, and any mousepad you might have.

USB Drives

USB drives are another item to consider. Giving them a quick wipe down as well is a good measure.

Cell Phones

While specific instructions may vary depending on your device, Apple is advising the following for its products:

  • Use only a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Avoid excessive wiping.
  • Unplug all power sources, devices, and cables.
  • Keep liquids away from your device.
  • Don’t allow moisture to get into any openings.
  • Avoid aerosol sprays, bleaches, and abrasives.
  • Avoid spraying cleaners directly onto your device.

Apple is recommending the use of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipes or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to wipe down any hard, nonporous surfaces.

However, they say you should avoid using them on leather or fabric to prevent damage.

Finally, makes sure anything you are plugging back into your computer, mice, keyboards, usb drives, etc… are completely dry. These are unusual times and a little caution and time will go along way to preventing COVID-19, flu and other virus transmission.

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