Is 70 isopropyl alcohol good for electronics? Electronic devices can have very delicate components and sensitive surfaces, making it a daunting task to clean them. However, this is something that you should take for granted since they can be among the dirtiest items in your house.
Aside from the everyday dirt and dust that can adhere to the surfaces and impede proper function, it is revealed that handheld electronics such as smartphones, remotes, keyboards, tablets, and game controllers, can contain more germs than toilet seats in public restrooms, mainly if several persons often use them.
Well, consider yourself lucky because you don’t need a big-time commitment or harsh chemicals to clean your electronic devices. Isopropyl alcohol, once used correctly, is an effective and safe method to sterilize and clean your electronics without causing any harm to them. However, experts recommend that you always check the instructions of the manufacturer first before cleaning.
What is isopropyl alcohol?
IPA or isopropyl alcohol is the most common type of disinfectant being used in hospitals as well as in the manufacturing medical devices and electronics. This is used in various concentrations to achieve the desired disinfecting or cleaning result. This must only be used in well-ventilated settings since this is flammable and can be a potential health hazard when used incorrectly.
Isopropyl alcohol is the best compound that can be used on water-sensitive devices such as laptops, computers, or other electronics since it can evaporate and dry almost immediately. The percentage number stated on the label is an indication of the percentage of alcohol per volume. If the percentage is higher, the alcohol content will also be higher and it will also evaporate faster.
The 99% isopropyl alcohol that has lower water content is the best cleaning agent for grease, grime, and sticky residues. Concentrations of about 70% or also called rubbing alcohol tend to have higher water content that are better at disinfecting and tend to remain on the surfaces a bit longer.
Why isopropyl alcohol is used in electronic devices
Isopropyl alcohol is the most ideal compound to be used on laptops, computers, and other electronics. The reason why this is used for getting rid of smoke smells on electronic devices is that this can dry very fast.
If you will use water for cleaning your electronic devices, this might end up destroying the product since electricity and water are always the deadliest combinations. Since isopropyl alcohol can dry quickly, on the other hand, this is considered as the most preferred method to use to clean electronics.
The first thing you have to remember before you use isopropyl alcohol to clean your electronic devices is to remove the batteries or unplug your electronic device first.
The second most important factor is to consider the device’s temperature. Isopropyl alcohol tends to work best if the room has a temperature of more than 60 degrees Fahrenheit for it to complete and do its job. It can also evaporate sooner on the surfaces of electronic devices. It will cost you more if you will apply this chemical without considering first the temperature factor.
These days, young and old alike are fond of playing games, especially video games, that they often use game consoles and controllers for hours on end. After they finished the game, they often tend to neglect these gaming peripherals. The result is that dust accumulates on these devices. For cases like this, isopropyl alcohol can also be used as a cleaning agent.
Some other types of electronic devices such as smartphones, headphones, TVs, printed circuit boards, and other smaller electronics can also be sanitized to keep them free from smudges and dirty fingerprints.
How to clean tablets and smartphones with 70 isopropyl alcohol
Before you start, just like with other electronic devices, make sure that you power it down, remove the case if you are using one then unplug other accessories like headphones. The battery can also be removed if possible. A microfiber cloth must be your main cleaning tool as this will not shed any fibers inside the device.
Less is often more when it comes to cleaning smartphones and tablets. Other portable gadgets like iPads and iPhones feature oil-repellent or oleophobic screen coatings that alcohol may end up damaging. When it comes to these devices, you should wipe the using a slightly damp or dry cloth and use dry cotton swab to get rid of dirt from the edges. The Apple Company recently changed their cleaning guidelines to include using 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes on the hard surfaces of their products.
How to clean computer keyboards with 70 isopropyl alcohol
The same rules are applicable when cleaning computers. After you power down your device, Microsoft recommends that you carefully wipe the keyboard using a cotton swab or microfiber cloth dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol or less.
This can work well for the keyboard, buttons, case, and cover but not really on the touchscreens like those on tablets and phones with delicate coating. Computers are also less waterproof compared to phones so it is crucial to keep moisture to a minimum.
For monitors or touchscreens, you can use dry microfiber cloth then wipe it horizontally in a gentle way before you wipe it across the screen vertically. If the screen remains greasy or dirty, Dell has recommended that you use mixing 30/70 solution of water and isopropyl alcohol on their products. The solution should be sprayed on a cloth and not directly on the device then gently wipe it on the computer screen.
How to clean TV screens with 70 isopropyl alcohol
LED and LCD flatscreen televisions can easily get damaged and scratched and therefore, these should be cleaned similarly to touchscreen monitors. You should a dry and clean microfiber cloth with diluted isopropyl alcohol solution when needed on those stubborn fingerprint marks. This is also applicable to DVD players.
The Bottom Line
Yes, 70% isopropyl alcohol is considered to be safe to use on electronics. Just make sure that you take extra care when doing so to prevent any issues or damages on your devices.
Do you want to learn how to dilute 91 isopropyl alcohol to 70?
Jody Bjerke is the president of Health Care Auxiliary of Minnesota (HCAM). HCAM represents 83 health care auxiliaries in Minnesota totaling in excess of 18,000 persons volunteering in services to hospitals and long-term care facilities.