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Cellphones and Media Players

Cellphones, iPods and other media players are designed to be pocketed, so you can be a little rough on them during the cleaning process. A very slightly damp cloth or paper towel will remove whatever fingerprint or residue your shirt or jeans won't.

As much as these gadgets are intended to live in pockets, they have an irritatingly high number of places for dust to hide itself. Cellphones have keypads, or, increasingly, sets up buttons at the base of a touchscreen or on the sideof the handset, all of which give dirt a place to accumulate. The grilles over cellphones' mics and speakers is another refuge for sludge, and they're totally immune to simple wipedowns. For this, you've got to go one step further. Luckily, you've probably got all the supplies you need in your house already.

Wooden toothpicks and old toothbrushes help reach into cracks and crevices, like those around buttons or running around the perimeter of some display panels. (Samsung and HTC are particularly guilty of leaving spaces in places like that.)

Sometimes, as in the case of the tiny little mic/speaker grilles on some phones, you don't want to push dirt in, but rather pull it out. For those situations, lay a strip of scotch tape over the afflicted area, run your finger over it a few times, and pull it off. If that doesn't work, upgrade to duct tape—though you'll want to be a bit more gentle with that, since applying too much pressure can leave adhesive on your device, which is a pain to wipe off.