How Often to Clean Your Entertainment Equipment

Films and TV, gaming, music – how do you keep yourself entertained in your spare time? While there are hundreds of household electronics on the market to keep us amused at home, many studies have shown that a variety of household items can carry viruses, fungi, bacteria, mould and other microbial life forms, so it’s imperative you clean them regularly.

So, which household electronic items should we be cleaning, and how often? The Neo Online team decided to get some expert advice into the subject. Read on to find out more…

Expert cleaning advice

We questioned Lisa Evans, spokesperson from MyJobQuote.co.uk, Henry Paterson, Senior Operations Executive at Housekeep, and Lynsey Crombie, Queen of Clean, to gather more insight into why we should be cleaning our household electronics, how often we should be doing so, and the process we should be using to sanitise them:

  • TV remote
    • Why? –
      • TV remotes are especially infamous to harbour germs, dirt and bacteria. Remotes tend to harbour more germs than other products, as everyone in the household will handle it numerous times throughout the day.
    • How often? –
      • At a minimum, cleaning your remote monthly is recommended. If shared by multiple people, weekly is advised, and more frequently if a family member is ill to get rid of any germs that may be lingering.
    • How? –
      • Firstly, remove the batteries from the remote, then use a disinfectant wipe to sweep over the remote a few times. To clean around the buttons, use a cotton wool bud and a toothpick to remove any stuck debris.
  • Gaming controller
    • Why? –
      • Unlike a TV remote, gaming controllers are being handled for a longer period of time.
    • How often? –
      • Depending on how often you use them, gaming controllers should be cleaned every-two weeks if used daily. Consider doing so weekly, or more frequently, if shared by multiple people though.
    • How? –
      • Again, using a disinfectant wipe, clean the entire controller area, ensuring any power sources have been removed. Use a cotton wool bud and toothpick to gently clean around the button and joysticks. This will remove any lodged grime.
      • It’s also a good idea to wash your hands before gaming – this will prevent germs and keep your controller clean for a longer.
  • Earphones
    • Why? –
      • Ear infections are one of the health risks of gaming headphones and earphones that have not been sanitised. To prevent them from collecting germs, avoid sharing your earphones with anyone. This way, it prevents any contamination and bacteria swapping for all parties.
  • How often? – Cleaning your earphones once a week is recommended. However, if you take them out of the house, then clean before each use.
    • How? –
      • Cleaning with a cotton wool bud and disinfectant spray will keep any germs and bacteria away. Make sure to avoid spraying directly into the electrics and remove the earphones from any power source before cleaning.
  • Headsets
    • Why? –
      • Whether you use a headset for work or gaming, it’s important they’re cleaned often.
    • How often? –
      • Every two weeks should suffice, but there is no harm in wiping them down before each use if you wear one five days a week, e.g. for work.
    • How? –
  • Chargers
    • Why? –
      • Many chargers are shared around the household, therefore building-up a lot of dirt and bacteria.
    • How often? –
      • Every week should do the trick
    • How? –
  • How? –
  • Computer keyboard
    • Why? –
      • Similar to the computer mouse, keyboards are handled regularly throughout the working day and certainly need to be cleaned often.
    • How often? –
      • Computer keyboards should be cleaned at least once a month, or before and after each use if excessive daily use.
    • How? –

With regard to the above frequencies, these are approximate, and the frequency that items require cleaning will be determined by the number of people who use them, the regularity of your handwashing routine, and whether or not these items leave the house with you.

Other considerations

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, more frequent cleaning and disinfection of ‘high-touch’ and ‘high traffic’ surfaces, which includes household electronics, is being recommended in general. For items that are shared by multiple members of the household, as well as items that you take outside of the home, it is advised that you clean them more often, such as before each use, or weekly as a minimum.

Lots of different germs can survive on household electronics, including coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as cold and flu viruses. Once household electronics have become contaminated, the germs can linger for days, and it’s possible to fall ill via contact with contaminated surfaces.

In fact, a recent study showed that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could still be detected on plastics 72 hours after initial exposure. Also, without proper handwashing and cleaning, household electronics can also harbour bacteria from the kitchen and bathroom, which can cause illness.

Generally, the better your hand washing routine when returning home, the less often you’ll need to clean these sorts of items. Also, when cleaning any surfaces, you should be conscious of cross-contamination. For example, use a single alcohol wipe for each item you’re cleaning, or if you’re using microfibre cloths, you can fold it into eighths and use a side for each item to prevent cross-contamination.

For cleaning electronics, it’s best to use alcohol wipes, or a small quantity of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) applied to a microfibre cloth. Alcohol evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave behind excess moisture which could damage electronics. Look for between 60-80% alcohol for optimum effect, as higher concentrations can evaporate before they’ve had sufficient contact time to sanitise. Whatever devices you’re cleaning, make sure that you do not get any moisture in openings such as charging ports or headphone jacks.

We hope the advice in the article helps to answer any questions you may have about cleaning your entertainment equipment.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. As the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing.

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