Tech Hygiene 101: Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Electronics?

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If you’re part of the small population that thinks cleaning your electronics is unnecessary, think again. The devices you have at home and carry with you are not immune from dirt and germs. But what can you clean them with? Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Electronics?

Cleaning electronics is essential for their longevity and for functioning properly. And when it comes to cleaning them, rubbing alcohol can be quite useful.

Rubbing alcohol, usually known as Isopropyl alcohol, has unique properties that make it efficient and safe to clean gadgets. Hence, it is the most popular cleaning agent to clean electronics. 

It evaporates quickly, simplifying the process of cleaning your electronics. It is also non-conductive, which means it won’t conduct electricity or cause short circuits. 

Cleaning your electronics with rubbing alcohol may seem simple – swipe, wipe, and give a moment to dry. However, this should not always be the case, as electronics have delicate parts to consider when cleaning them.

So, in this article, we will tackle things you must know about cleaning your electronics with rubbing alcohol.

Why Should You Clean Electronics?

We are surrounded by electronics wherever we are in the world – whether smartphones, computers, game consoles, or electric appliances; hardly a day goes by when we are not reliant on electronics. That’s an unavoidable fact.

Another unavoidable fact is that electronics get very dirty. So, while electronics make our lives convenient, dirt and contaminants are more than an inconvenience. Hence, its important to clean your electronics regularly.

If you don’t clean your devices often, dirt and dust may cause the following scenarios to happen:

  • Overheat and possible fires
  • Short circuits that may damage the device or injure people
  • Spread diseases from infected cell phones, keyboards, tablets, and other devices

Why Should You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Electronics?

Why-Should-You-Use-Rubbing-Alcohol-to-Clean-Electronics

Rubbing alcohol, especially those with higher concentrations is a go-to cleaning solution for some manufacturers and professionals. This is because rubbing alcohol:

Quickly Evaporates

Rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl alcohol evaporates very quickly, leaving no residue. This makes it a perfect cleaning tool for water-sensitive devices.

Sanitizes Surfaces

Rubbing alcohol kills bacteria and viruses. This is why we used rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer (containing alcohol) so much during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But while high concentrations of alcohol are the most commonly used cleaning tools for gadgets, lower concentration ones (with 60% to 70 alcohol content) are preferred for sterilization.

Lower concentration alcohol evaporates slowly, allowing more time for the solution to come in contact with surfaces and kill bacteria.

Learn how and when to use rubbing alcohol to sanitize your home when you read our guide – The Fundamental Guide to Sanitize Your Home: Tips and Tricks

Dissolves Adhesive, Oil, and More

Many people use rubbing alcohol to get rid of oil, adhesive residue, and grease. While it can be difficult to clean these types of messes with other cleaners, rubbing alcohol makes it easy.

Watch my video below to see me clean grease with rubbing alcohol.

To learn how to clean with rubbing alcohol, read our post – Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean?

Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Electronics with Screens?

Are your TV, tablet, computer, or cellphone screens a bit grimy? Then don’t just clean them by wiping them with a clean cloth. Sure, it may keep your screens clean, but you need to do more to clean off germs and bacteria.

Use rubbing alcohol for cleaning electronic screens. With touch screens, wipe them with a clean microfiber cloth gently. Then, apply some rubbing alcohol to the microfiber cloth. Touchscreens are sensitive, so you should clean them with slight pressure.

For the rest of your electronics, turn them off and wipe them. Then spray rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth and wipe them like you did for the touchscreens. Turn them on once they are dry.

Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Electronics in Your House?

Yes! Rubbing alcohol is a popular cleaner for a wide range of electronics. The most common items you can clean with rubbing alcohol are computer monitors, keyboards, mouse, mouse pads, game controllers, laptop exteriors, and more.

You can also use rubbing alcohol with 90% alcohol to clean internal electronics but with extra caution. This alcohol content will help remove dust, dirt, and other contaminants from the internal electronics of your device.

Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Electronics in Your Office?

As much as you can clean electronics in your home, there is no reason why you can’t use rubbing alcohol to clean office devices. Since rubbing alcohol dries quickly, your office devices will remain dry.

Rubbing alcohol, therefore, is a perfect cleaning solution because it evaporates and dries quickly. The solution dries without leaving residue and, most of all, dissolves even the toughest buildups of grime.

How Much Alcohol Do You Use to Clean Electronics?

Ideally, use lower-grade alcohol to clean electronics. Rubbing alcohol with 70%, 80%, or 90% isopropyl alcohol can clean various electronic devices.

The alcohol grade you choose will depend on the electronics you’ll have to clean. The higher alcohol concentrations are better for dissolving grime, debris, and dirt from water-sensitive areas.

For the screens of TVs or smartphones, 60 to 70% will do the job. However, for delicate electronics and those with circuitry like a computer motherboard, a 90% alcohol content is advisable.

How Often Should You Clean Electronics with Rubbing Alcohol?

Once a week is enough to clean electronics. It’s not essential to clean them more than that, but you can sanitize them once a day if necessary.

Moreover, for electronics you regularly use, like phones, air pods, computers, or TV remotes, it is advisable to clean them daily.

To clean them, put alcohol on a clean cloth and wipe it on your devices.

Extra Tips for Cleaning Electronics with Rubbing Alcohol

There is no hard and fast rule for cleaning electronics with alcohol. But if you want to make sure not to harm your devices, you may want to follow the following tips:

  • Clean your devices in a well-ventilated area.
  • Avoid sparks and flames, as rubbing alcohol is combustible.
  • Turn off your devices before cleaning them.
  • Use rubbing alcohol with the least amount of alcohol.
  • Ensure the alcohol has dried before you turn on or plug in your devices.

Conclusion

After reading our post, you know you can and why you should clean electronics with rubbing alcohol.

Electronics are prone to dirt, dust, and grimy fingerprints, which can be difficult to clean. Their screens pick up smears to smudges of germs and viruses.

Overall, electronic devices endure a daily barrage of contaminants. By using rubbing alcohol to clean them, you eliminate these potential health hazards.

Follow our guide above, and start cleaning your electronics quickly, cheaply, and easily with rubbing alcohol.

Read our article – Five Ways to Use Alcohol for Cleaning Glass to learn how to clean glass using rubbing alcohol.

Question: How often do you clean your phone?

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