It wasn’t so long ago that almost everyone’s home entertainment system was kept mostly behind glass doors. Large entertainment centers had shelves for every sort of electronic device, from stereo receivers and CD players to DVD players and VCRs, and dust was much less a problem than keeping components ventilated so that they wouldn’t overheat.
Now, affordable large screen, flat panel televisions and accessories that combine the functions of a half dozen components all in one simple unit have made the old-fashioned entertainment center virtually obsolete. Home entertainment systems are much more exposed, which is great for keeping units cool and well ventilated, but dust is a bigger issue than ever.
Don’t let dust bunnies ruin your home electronics. Here are a few tips to keep them at bay.
Read your manual
Everything is so user friendly these days, hardly anyone actually reads their owner’s manual, but when it comes to your home entertainment system, it’s a good idea to at least familiarize yourself with the recommended basic care. Remember, cleaning your products the wrong way could potentially void your warranty, so take a few minutes and see what the manufacturer recommends.
Microfiber is a great weapon
Microfiber cleaning cloths, used dry or barely damp, depending on what you are dusting, are among the most effective tools you can buy. But make sure you get a cloth that is safe to use on screens, if you will be using it to dust a monitor or television. This is the only way I have personally ever cleaned my flat screen electronics, and it has worked well for me.
Make sure products are safe for electronics
If a microfiber cloth is not doing the trick, you might want to try wipes made specifically for electronics. Dust-Off, a company that specializes in dust removal products, has a number of cleaning kits, from inexpensive disposable wipes to comprehensive care kits you can use on a variety of electronics. Windex also now offers wipes made specifically for cleaning electronics, although the consumer reviews on their site are mixed.
Keep a duster handy
It’s not a bad idea to keep a duster, like the Swiffer 360° duster or even a dry microfiber cloth, close to your home entertainment center to use in between cleanings. If you’re like me, you are a lot more likely to pick up the duster and give all the surfaces a once over if it is close at hand than if you have to go fetch it from the laundry room or under the sink. A hook on the back of your entertainment center would be a discreet place to hang a duster, so it’s always handy and can be used daily.
The power of pressurized air
If you maintain a regular dusting routine, you probably won’t even need to do any heavy duty dusting to keep your home electronics clean and working great. But if your components do suffer a build up of dust, you’ll probably need to enlist the power of pressurized air.
You can use compressed air blown over the surface of your device or directly into the device, to dislodge trapped dust which will then hopefully be expelled by the exhaust fan. Or you can use a vacuum to suction the dust off and out of the device.
Make sure the power is off when using pressurized air, and do not use either compressed air or a vacuum if the manufacturer recommends against it. Once again, this is a good reason to stop and read your owner’s manual when adding a new device to your home entertainment system.
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