Using Alcohol to Disinfect Electronics

Regularly disinfecting electronic devices, especially those used by multiple people, can reduce the spread of pathogens, including COVID-19. 70% alcohol can be an effective disinfectant, but it can also damage electronic devices (and the people who use them) if not used safely.

LBIS has compiled instructions for disinfecting common electronic devices at Kenyon, including personal computers, audio-visual equipment, and laser printers/copiers. Read the instructions carefully before you proceed.

Tools You Will Need

  • Latex or nitrile gloves
  • 70% alcohol and a microfiber cloth OR disposable 70% alcohol wipes

Employees may request these items from Kenyon's Maintenance Department by submitting a work order request.

Important Points

  • Wear disposable latex or nitrile gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Turn off the device, disconnect AC power, and unplug the device from its outlet before you clean it. DO NOT clean a product while it is powered on and plugged in.
  • If a device has a significant amount of debris on the surface, it will not be possible to disinfect the device without first cleaning that surface.
  • When using alcohol in a spray bottle, ALWAYS spray a microfiber cloth and use that to wipe the electronic device. DO NOT spray the device directly with alcohol.
  • Only moisten your cloth lightly! DO NOT cause any liquid to drip inside the equipment.

Steps to Disinfect Computers

  1. Wear disposable latex or nitrile gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  2. Turn off the device and, if possible, disconnect AC power.
  3. Moisten a microfiber cloth with a mixture of 70% isopropyl alcohol / 30% water. Do not use fibrous materials, such as paper towels or toilet paper. The cloth should be moist, but not dripping wet. You may also use a pre-moistened alchohol wipe.
  4. Do not spray any liquids directly onto the product.
  5. Gently wipe the moistened cloth on the surfaces to be cleaned. Do not allow any moisture to drip into areas like keyboards, display panels, or USB ports. If moisture enters the inside of an electronic product, it can cause extensive damage to the product.
  6. To disinfect peripherals like keyboards and mice, start by wiping the peripheral itself, then end by wiping any flexible cables attached to the peripheral.
  7. When cleaning a display screen, carefully wipe in one direction, moving from the top of the display to the bottom.  Do not rub strongly, as you might scratch or crack it.
  8. Ensure the surface has completely air-dried before turning the device on after cleaning. You should not see any moisture on the surface of the computer when you power it on.
  9. Discard your gloves after each cleaning. If possible, wash your hands immediately after you remove the gloves.

Steps to Classroom A/V Equipment

  1. Moisten a microfiber cloth with 70% alcohol OR open a disposable 70% alcohol wipe. Put on latex or nitrile gloves.
  2. Gently wipe the moistened cloth on the A/V control panel buttons or touch panel to clean. Carefully wipe in one direction, moving from the top of the display to the bottom.
  3. Important: Prevent moisture from entering inside the product or between gaps around the control panel or buttons.
  4. DO NOT rub the control panel strongly, as you may easily scratch or crack it.
  5. Ensure the surface has completely air-dried before turning the device on after cleaning. You should not see any moisture on the surface of the A/V panel when you power it on.
  6. Discard your gloves after each cleaning. If possible, wash your hands immediately after you remove the gloves.

Steps to Disinfect Laser Printers

  1. Moisten a microfiber cloth with 70% alcohol OR open a disposable 70% alcohol wipe. Put on latex or nitrile gloves.
  2. Gently wipe the moistened cloth on the surfaces to clean. Prevent moisture from entering inside the product or between gaps around the control panel or buttons.
  3. To clean a display screen or control panel, carefully wipe in one direction, moving from the top of the display to the bottom. DO NOT rub the control panel strongly, as you can easily scratch or crack it.
  4. Ensure the surface has completely air-dried before turning the device on after cleaning. You should not see any moisture on the surface of the printer before you power it on.
  5. Discard your gloves after each cleaning. If possible, wash your hands immediately after you remove the gloves.

Advice for Disinfecting Personal Devices

Below is disinfecting advice from personal device manufacturers:

Cleaning your iPhone

Cleaning your Apple Device

Cleaning your Samsung Device