Kim Komando, America's Digital Goddess
 

How to clean your Telephone

Tools & Chemicals:
Soft cloth, water, general-purpose cleaner, Windex etc.

Technique:
It is wise to unplug your phone before cleaning. This avoids electrocution and accidental calls to Cuba, or your mother in-law. Also you don’t want to inadvertently reprogram your phone when wiping the keys. Almost all commercial telephones that are part of a system retain the programming when unplugged, and household phones usually have power failure back-up batteries to save programmed numbers.

1. Spray your cleaning cloth and wipe the hand set thoroughly to remove heavy soil from make up, grease, etc.. A toothpick or pin can be used to clean the small holes or slots. Use caution though, as the microphone and speaker inside the handset can be damaged by punctures, and never allow liquid to enter these holes.

2. If you have an extremely dirty dial pad use a cotton swab and alcohol to wipe individual numbers and between them. With the telephone unplugged, spray your cleaning cloth and wipe the face of the keys by pressing down on the numbers to wipe them thoroughly.

3. In the event you do allow liquid to leak into the handset, or if you accidentally give your phone a double latte, unplug it immediately. Turn the phone over to allow as much liquid to drain off as possible. Wipe it thoroughly and allow it to dry for at least a day before trying to plug it back in. If the microphone is wet (at home often caused by teething babies) it will short, effectively muting the phone. You will be able to hear the caller, but they will not be able to hear you. Before punishing your toddler with no Barney, be sure to check that the “mute” button is not pressed.

4. If you are lucky enough to have a phone handset that lets you unscrew the microphone and speaker covers, cleaning is a snap. Unscrew the cover with all the holes in them, throw them in the sink, scrub like mad, rinse, dry and re-assemble. This is ideal, especially if there is a phone user that likes to reach out and lick someone. Handsets are swarming with germs, and should be sanitized often, especially if there are multiple users. Unfortunately these older style phones are becoming less common, and most newer phones, while they can be taken apart to clean, often need elastic bands and glue to be put back together again.