We are disgusting creatures.
There’s really no shame in it. We’re coated in oil, covered in hair, and produce a myriad of delightful liquids and solids just to make our bodies work. It’s normal. Unfortunately, as electronics have become more and more personal, beautiful and expensive creations of plastic and metal have been inserted, covered, and generally sprayed with all of the ick that makes us human.
It’s easy to accept that as par for the course, but now that I have OXO’s Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush and OXO Sweep & Swipe Laptop Cleaner I feel a need to spread the good word. It doesn’t have to be like this, at least not entirely.
Worth the price
Let’s get the bad part out of the way early. The “Cleaning Brush for Electronics” costs $8.99 and the “Sweep and Swipe Laptop Cleaner” costs $11.99. I really view these products as a pair, which means you could be dropping $21 to join me in the promised land. I won’t be offended if that turns you away, or if you buy just one, but so far, they’ve been worth it.
My exposure to OXO has mostly been kitchen products, but their line of cleaning brushes, scrapers, and clothes are equally high in quality. They’re plastic, but they feel solid, and I suspect they could last forever if they’re used carefully.
The best of both worlds
Earwax — Of the two, the narrow, pen-shaped cleaning brush gets the most use. It’s double-sided, with a retractable brush on one end, perfectly suited for dusting a camera lens or doing detail work on a low-profile keyboard like the Logitech MX Keys, and the other side ending in a silicone scraper. I only use the scraper for the grossest and most satisfying tasks: cleaning out earwax.
The silicone end of OXO’s cleaning brush makes quick work of them.
AirPods, they’re almost good enough to make me not think about Bluetooth. What they lack in any kind of environmentally-friendly construction, they match in their ability to collect earwax like it’s nobody’s business. The silicone end of OXO’s cleaning brush makes quick work of them though. You might have to wipe in between scrapes, but it doesn’t leave behind any cotton residue like a Q-Tip does, and it’s easy to clean once you’re done.
I’ve caught myself using OXO’s brush for non-earwax-related tasks too. Since it ends at a fairly fine point for both the brush and the silicone tip, both sides of the tool are great for getting into small crevices to remove things, like the port of an iPhone 13 or the hinge of a laptop. When you’re done, you just retract the brush and put the cap on the tip, and then you can forget the great and terrible things you’re body is capable of producing for at least a few weeks.
Spittle— Do I have no control over my mouth or are monitors just really good at collecting anything that flies towards them no matter how small? The jury’s still out on this, but anytime I turn off my laptop or desktop monitor, I’m greeted with a constellation of smudges and drops of what I can only assume are spit.
The Sweep and Swipe is a bit of a grandiose title for what’s essentially a retractable brush with a microfiber cloth on one end, but I think it’s earned. You have to apply a bit of pressure, but working in a criss-cross pattern, it’s able to clear up most of what ails the screens in my life, whether it’s fingerprints or spittle. It can’t make anything “fresh out of the box” clean, but they do end up looking like I haven’t been using them, which is really the goal when I clean anything.
Like my other OXO tool, I personally find more uses for the non-brush side of things than the brush itself, but the Sweep and Swipe is a bit wider than its partner, which means it can sweep through more things at once. I do wish it was longer — it can’t quite reach the bottom of my Keychron K2 mechanical keyboard — but it should be more than enough for most laptops or any other hard surface that needs a good dusting, like a video game console.
I’m not at all embarrassed to say that when I’m not using these tools, they basically become fidget spinners. There’s something about the soft plastic OXO uses, along with the solid snap when a brush pops into place that makes both of these tools a delight to play with. Not the intended purpose at all, but it at least means they’re not far from my desk when I’m making calls or writing because I just want to play with them. All of my electronics are better for it.
Cleaning your personal gadgets is a hassle that’s not entirely necessary. But if it preserves the life of something you dropped hundreds or thousands of dollars on, and it’s satisfying to do, then I think it’s the exact kind of thing to work into your routine, whether you buy these tools or not.
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