With the onset of COVID-19, many travelers are left wondering how to properly clean and disinfect their personal electronics including laptops and smartphones. It’s no wonder, as these items can carry more germs and bacteria than a public restroom. According to a Time Magazine report, your cell phone is 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat! The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends disinfecting high touch surfaces as often as possible.

First and foremost, consult your laptop or smartphone manufacturer for the best way to clean your device. Go online or check your device’s manual for the best cleaning option. Every device is different while some have screens made of glass, others do not. It’s very important to note that cleaning a glass surface may be different than cleaning other surfaces. Many Apple computers and phones may have a glass screen while Android devices and PC screens may not be made of glass.

Most Apple devices including MacBooks and Apple monitors have glass screens that can be wiped down with a disinfecting wipe. Do not use your Apple device immediately after you use the disinfecting wipe as most require a minimum of 4 minutes to disinfect and sanitize the surface. Allow the wipe to remain on the hard surface and air dry completely. Again it’s best to refer to the device’s manual as the Apple Pro Display XDR may have it’s own specific cleaning instructions different from other Apple products.

According to Good Housekeeping, here are 4 simple steps to clean your device’s glass surface.
1. Be sure to unplug your laptop from its power source, and turn it off if possible (do the same for monitors).
2. First, use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe down your screen; remove dust, scuffs, and any other surface-level fingerprints if possible.
3. Then, wring out a Lysol disinfecting wipe to ensure it’s not oversaturated. You can gently wipe down your laptop’s screen once, taking care to not touch any openings (including ports or speakers).
4. Let your screen air dry. If streaks have developed afterward, Forte says you should wipe it down once more with a clean microfiber cloth, as this extra friction can help remove more germs as well as smooth out any streaks. If you don’t have a clean microfiber cloth, you can submerge one in boiling water to eliminate any germs (letting it air dry), Forte says, or simply put it through a wash cycle using a laundry sanitizer (such as Lysol’s version).
LCD screens may not be made of glass and may have their own unique cleaning techniques. DO NOT use disinfecting wipes on regular LCD screens typically found on Microsoft Surface Laptops and some monitors. Disinfecting wipes can leave a glare causing film on these types of screens. It’s also never recommended to use soap and water on PC screens.

The best way to clean your PC’s screen is with a dry microfiber cloth. As these microfiber cloths don’t necessarily disinfect or sanitize the surface, they also won’t permanently damage your screen. Microfiber cloths will do a better job than soap would as they are made of specialized materials to capture and remove things like germs, dirt, and smudges. Some soap ingredients may leave a film on your PC’s screen causing unwanted glare or worse yet they may actually damage the screen.