5 Steps to Sanitizing a Chromebook
Defending your staff and family from Coronavirus and other illnesses starts with keeping the thing they use most clean. Please review our detailed steps on how to effectively and safely clean your technology.
Coronavirus and Chromebooks
If you’ve even glanced at the news lately, you’re no stranger to how COVID-19–commonly known as Coronavirus–has turned into a global concern. People around the world are rushing to find ways to slow the spread of this respiratory virus, whose symptoms range from fever and coughing to pneumonia, liver failure, and even death. With an increasing number of cases popping up in the United States, people are bracing themselves for a potential US outbreak.
Organizations know how the spread of germs can wreak havoc and send attendance numbers plummeting. Many have been very proactive in putting together contingency plans and implementing preventative measures to protect their employees and families. While frequent room cleaning and hand washing play a huge role in defending against viral outbreaks, it doesn’t cover the objects employees interact with most–their technology.
Why Clean Your Chromebooks
In the US, over half of all mobile devices are Chromebooks. Due to their prominence in organizations and homes alike, being able to sanitize Chromebooks properly is a critical skill, but most of us have never been taught how. In this article, we’ll learn how to properly clean and sanitize personal, classroom and work computing devices.
5 Steps to Sanitizing a Chromebook
Step 1: Power off the device. You will be applying liquid solutions to your Chromebook, so powering it off is a must.
Step 2: Remove any accessories or plug-ins such as cases, USBs, and headphones. Once removed, cases can be separately disinfected with sanitizing wipes or spray.
Step 3: Clean the screen with an LCD-safe solution applied to a microfiber cloth. Strong alcohols can eat away the coating on LCD screens. However, LCD-safe solutions such as 50% isopropyl alcohol (diluted with distilled water) and dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride can be used to properly disinfect Chromebook screens. Never use Windex® or similar products, which contain ammonia, and never use any solutions containing acetone, ethyl alcohol (ethanol), ethyl acid, or methyl chloride. Also, while diluted vinegar may be safe for removing dirt and smudges from LCD screens, it’s not an effective disinfectant against many types of common germs, including those that cause colds, flus, and viruses.
To clean, wet a microfiber cloth in LCD-safe solution so that it’s damp enough to feel wet, but not damp enough to create any drips (drips are bad. In extreme cases they can ruin the bottom edge of your screen if they get sucked between the layers of the LCD through capillary action). Rub the microfiber gently on the screen in a back-and-forth motion, using the broadest strokes you can. Avoid small circular motions, which can sometimes leave buffed-out spots or whorl marks on the screen. Never use paper towels, kitchen rags, or any type of cloth other than microfiber. These could damage your screen.
Step 4: Use 70% isopropyl alcohol applied to a soft cotton rag to wipe down the keyboard and external chassis. DO NOT spray your device with disinfectant. It’s important that the solution is applied to a rag or cloth first so that liquid doesn’t seep into the keyboard. This can damage the keyboard itself or important components housed beneath. CAUTION–70% Isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable, so keep it and anything covered in it away from any sources of ignition.
Step 5: Wait for the alcohol solution to completely evaporate before turning your Chromebook back on.
The 70% isopropyl alcohol in the solution is non-conductive (meaning there’s no need to worry about that part affecting the electronic components of the device). It’s the other 30%, which consists mainly of water, that is conductive. Because of this, it’s important that you power down your device pre-cleaning and wait until the alcohol is completely evaporated before turning your Chromebook back on. If you’re like us, you may be thinking, “why don’t I just use a higher concentration of alcohol to speed the drying process?” Well, counterintuitively, the disinfectant properties of isopropyl alcohol drop off rapidly at concentrations higher than 70%, so in this case, stronger isn’t better.
It’s Cleaning Time!
There you have it. A little scrubbing goes a long way. But if you want to kill the most germs, note the difference between disinfecting and cleaning: Cleaning only removes viruses and bacteria from surfaces, but disinfecting wipes them out.