Microfiber cloth or premoistened electronics wipes All-purpose cleaner or spray bottle of equal parts water and white vinegar; sponge Rubbing alcohol; cotton balls Clean paintbrush
Clear the dust. Nothing seems to attract dust like electronics do — static is a powerful draw. But because computer screens and discs can be easily damaged, cleaning them is delicate work. Reach for a microfiber cloth or electronics wipe, as these won't scratch surfaces or leave lint behind. (Also, you shouldn't use glass cleaner — screens have antiglare coatings that can be stripped by solvents.) Lightly go over the turned-off screen with your cloth. Then, dampen the cloth, and buff away grime on the rest of the monitor or laptop. Handle the mouse and printer the same way. With a clean spot on the cloth, wipe any CDs and DVDs from the center out to the edge — not in a circular motion — in case there's grit that could leave scratches.
Erase surface stains. Next, quick-wash your desktop. To do: Move light items like files, the phone, and your keyboard or laptop out of the way (just work around the bigger stuff). If your work surface is laminate or another washable material, spritz on all-purpose cleaner, wipe with a sponge, and rinse. For sealed wood surfaces, use the vinegar-water mix. Let either cleaner soak on sticky stains for a few seconds, then scrape with your fingernail or a credit card; wipe and rinse. Ink stains will come off with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol; rinse with the sponge. Last, give your phone and desktop accessories a sponge-down. Rinse.
De-gunk the keyboard. Keyboards are one of the dirtiest, germiest office surfaces. To clean yours, unplug it and hold it upside down over a trash can or sink. Tap the back to loosen any crumbs trapped between and beneath the keys. Use a paintbrush to whisk dust from all the openings and crevices. With a cotton ball dampened with rubbing alcohol, wipe the surface of the keys. Let dry about 20 seconds before plugging back in. For your laptop, do the best you can with the brush, or use a bottle of compressed air (find it at office stores).
Make It Easier Next Time
Keep a canister of disinfecting or alcohol wipes handy to clean and de-germ surfaces. Consider GHRI-recommended Seal Shield washable keyboards — they can be run through the dishwasher! Or try the Dirt KWIK, a cordless electronics mini vac that recharges in your computer's USB port.