How to Clean an iPod

An ipod on a lime green background.

A couple of years ago, I worked as a backstage tech for a stage version of “Guys and Dolls.” It was “tech week,” which is when all the elements (lights, sound, curtains, etc.) come together. I was helping out with the fly system, the area that controls the raising and lowering of the curtains. The fly area, where I was located, is roughly 90 feet or so above the stage level. The floor is such that it’s impossible to fall, but it’s unnerving as hell when you can see through it to the stage below. I tripped between slats, and watched as my iPod slipped out of my pocket, hit one of the girders, and slipped through the gap. There was a long pause before it made contact with the stage. Thankfully, the stage was empty at 4 in the morning. Somehow, the iPod did not shatter, but it never turned on again. I imagine it was a bit like scrambling an egg inside its shell.

Have you ever dropped your iPod in mud, or on the bus, while being chased byzombies, or on the floor at a movie theater? All are great reasons to clean an iPod, but if memory serves, water and technology do not make great bedfellows. Start by cleaning up the mess.

Steps to Cleaning an iPod

  1. ipod power switchPrepare the iPod. Turn off the iPod, and remove the iPod cover and any attachments if you have them. In older model iPods, switch the “HOLD” button so that you can see the red light, ensuring you won’t screw up any settings.
  2. blue microfiber clothCleaning the front of an iPod. Find a fresh microfiber cloth. A new cloth is best, but freshly washed will work, too, as long as you did not use fabric softeners when you washed it. Fabric softeners can make the cloth leave a residue on the sleek surface of the iPod. If you used fabric softeners, a very soft paper towel will do, though it’s not ideal. Use your dry cloth or soft paper towel to gently wipe down the front of your iPod.
  3. spray bottle of seventh generationCleaning the front of an iPod. Find a fresh microfiber cloth. A new cloth is best, but freshly washed will work, too, as long as you did not use fabric softeners when you washed it. Fabric softeners can make the cloth leave a residue on the sleek surface of the iPod. If you used fabric softeners, a very soft paper towel will do, though it’s not ideal. Use your dry cloth or soft paper towel to gently wipe down the front of your iPod.
  4. ipod power portFinish cleaning your iPod. Take your cloth, dampen it in warm water, and use it to wipe down the back and sides of your iPod. Take care to avoid any ports and possible openings on your iPod with the damp cloth, like those on the top and bottom. Once you’ve wiped down the back and sides completely, take another cloth or paper towel and dry the iPod thoroughly.
  5. Surface of IpodSpot-cleaning your iPod. If the crevices and ports of your iPod have collected grit or dust, you can still clean them. Use a dry cotton swab to gently swipe the crevices and ports. Never use water or alcohol on the cotton swab, and always make sure the iPod is off when you do this. Using water or alcohol can damage your iPod, and may be dangerous to you, even if the iPod is off.

Prophylactics for iPods

After you clean your iPod, you can protect it by getting an iPod cover. There are many to choose from, so there is bound to be something that suits your taste. You can find them at any Apple store, an online vendor, or just about anywhere iPods are sold. They range from very cheap to very expensive, so you can be sure to find one that suits your tastes.

Natural Products for Cleaning an iPod

Scott Naturals Paper Towels.These are a reasonable alternative in lieu of a microfiber cloth. Scott brand paper towels have been around for a long time, and it’s not surprising that they have jumped on the eco-friendly band wagon. These paper towels are all natural, and soft enough to clean an iPod.

Organic Essentials Cotton Swabs.As advertised, these are completely organic, which makes them better to use and better for the environment. It also grants you the peace of mind that comes with going green.

Biokleen Glass Cleaner. The name sounds silly, but it is actually a very good product. It is nontoxic, ammonia-free, non-corrosive, and apparently safe for plants. This is the perfect product for cleaning an iPod or your windows. You can order Biokleen from Amazon.

About the Author

Eric D. Ronning

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