Monthly Archives: October 2012

How to Clean Your Cell Phone

Germs on Keyboard

Image Credit: Sappymoosetree

Your cell phone is dirtier and more bacteria laden than you realize. Studies are finding that cell phones have more germs on them than toilet seats, and that up to 16% of all cell phones have poop on them. Eww. And we don’t think twice about placing our cell phones against our faces.

Instead of worrying about what, exactly, is living on your phone, take the time to clean it regularly and you won’t have to wonder any more.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for cleaning your cell phone. These tips can also be applied to most electronic devices (like your remote control, which is the most germ laden device you own).


To ensure you don’t grab the wrong product or cleaner, we’ll review the don’ts first.

Cleaning Your Phone

In order to clean your phone, you will need to gather a few items. Here’s what you’ll need.

Items to Gather:

  • Isopropyl alcohol or Disinfectant Wipes made for electronics
  • A Microfiber cloth (more than one if your phone is really dirty)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Can of air (optional)

To Clean Your Phone:

1. Mix the isopropyl alcohol with water to make a cleaning solution. You will want a ratio of 40 % alcohol, 60% water (or something similar). The point is to not use straight alcohol, or straight water. If you have disinfectant wipes made for electronics, you can also use those.

2. Spray the alcohol mixture onto the microfiber cloth. DO NOT apply the mixture to your cell phone directly. The cloth should be damp, but not wet. Wipe down the LCD, and any outside surfaces of the phone.

3. For hard to reach areas and crevices, dip a cotton swap into the cleaning solution, squeeze with a cloth to remove the excess moisture (again you want it damp, not wet), and clean those difficult areas. If crumbs or other crud is really stuck on there, try using a can of air to spray out any debris.

4. If your phone has buttons, use a cotton swab to clean around the buttons. It’s also a good time to clean around the charging port, as germs and other gunk can gather there too.

5. Allow your phone to dry thoroughly before using.

Other Tips

Use scotch tape to remove finger prints and other strange debris on your screen and phone. Note, this will not remove germs.

UV light is a great way to keep your phone clean, but is a more expensive solution. Some UV light solutions include a wand that you wave over your device, or a container that you put your device in to clean it. However, these solutions start at $50 on up, depending on the light.

Cleaning your phone, and other devices, ensures that you and anyone else who uses those devices, is safe from bacteria and other dangerous germs. Make it a habit to clean your phone at least monthly, and you’ll never worry about this problem again.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help others learn how to clean and maintain their technology. Email:

Microsoft Word: Other Document Formatting Tips

Paragraph Dialog Box

Paragraph Dialog Box

When it comes to properly formatting documents in Microsoft Word, using the Ruler and Tab Stops aren’t the only features that help you create a clean looking product. There are many additional features built into Word designed to help you make the most out of your formatting, if you know where to find them.

*Note: This post is specifically geared towards Word 2007 / 2010 users. If you use a different version, you probably have the same features, but they may or may not be in a different location.*

Adjust the Space Between Lines

Sometimes it’s helpful to have extra spacing between lines of text, particularly when you’re giving the document to someone else for review and editing.

To adjust the space between text, highlight the information that you would like to change the spacing on (or do this on a blank Word document before typing), then right click, and when the menu appears, select Paragraph.

The Paragraph dialog box will appear, allowing you to change various aspects of your paragraph. The last section is about spacing. To change your spacing, change the drop down under Line Spacing from Multiple to whatever you want, such as Single (for single spacing) or Double.

To further adjust the space between lines, change the After field (to the left of Line Spacing) to something other than 10 pt. Note: The higher the number the greater the spacing, and vice versa. Once everything is

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adjusted, click OK to save your settings.

Tip: When adjusting a document to single spacing, change the Line Spacing to Single, and the After field to 0 pt.

Increasing and Decreasing Indents

When you want a paragraph indented a certain way, you don’t want to hit tab repeatedly, as manual formatting can cause a lot of unnecessary, extra work to make sure everything lines up correctly. Instead, use the Increase / Decrease Indent buttons, to indent your paragraphs just the way you want them.

Increase Decrease Indent

Increase / Decrease Indents

To use this feature, either click before the paragraph in question, to move the cursor, or highlight the paragraph. Then, click on the Increase Indent button located on the Ribbon under Home > Paragraph. (See image for more details.)

If, for example, you want to increase your indent, and one click doesn’t quite do it, click the increase indent button again, until your text is formatted the way you want.

The Paragraph Button

When you can’t format your document properly, but you don’t know why, you need to use the Paragraph button. This button is probably one of the more underused features in Word. However, when used properly, it can work wonders.

Paragraph Button

Paragraph Button

To view your Paragraph formatting, click on the Paragraph button, otherwise known as the large backwards P on the top of the Paragraph section of the Ribbon. (See image for more details).

When activated, this feature shows you ever space, every return, every part of the layout in great detail, which can often help you find and fix where formatting went wrong. To turn off the feature, simply click on the paragraph button again.

Knowing how to use these few simple tools in Word can go a long way in helping you create clean looking, well laid out documents.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you create clean looking documents. Email:

Formatting Word Documents with Tab Stops

Accessing the Ruler

Accessing the Ruler

When formatting documents in Microsoft Word, many users will press the space bar, or tab key, repeatedly, until the text is in the location they want. However, formatting your text manually can cause lots of formatting issues and alignment problems. Not to mention that formatting a Word Document this wan can take up a tremendous amount of time.

Instead, save yourself the time and the trouble by formatting your Word Document using Tab Stops.

A Tab Stop is a way to align your text properly by only having to press tab once. When you set a Tab Stop, you are telling the computer that this is the location that you want the cursor to stop when you press the tab key. It eliminates the need to repeatedly press tab to line up your text, saving your fingers and your sanity.

*Note these tips apply to Word 2007 and 2010. If you are using a different version of Word, these tips still apply, but will need to be accessed differently, depending on the version you are using.*

Turn On Your Ruler

Before you can begin using Tab Stops, you must first turn on your Ruler. To do this, go to View in the Ribbon at the top, and then click the Ruler check box. You should now have two rulers, one on the top, and the other to the left of your document.

Tab Stops Are Your Friend

Once the Ruler is activated, you can begin adding your Tab Stops. To do this, click on the Ruler, in the location where you would like your Tab Stop to appear. So, if you want your text aligned at the three inch mark, click on the 3 on the Ruler, and a little black L will appear. That L is a Tab Stop.

There are several different types of Tab Stops. If the L is pointed to the right (just like a typical upper case L) then your text will extend to the right of the tab. If you would like a different kind of Tab Stop, double click on the Tab Stop and the Tabs dialog box will appear. From here, you can set the type of Tab Stop that you want, along with the exact location which allows for more control over your

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The types of Tab Stops available are:

  • Left: Text is extended to the right of the tab.
  • Center: Text is centered in the middle of the tab
  • Right: Text is extended to the left of the tab.
  • Decimal: Any text before the decimal point extends to the left, and text after the decimal point extens on the right.
  • Bar: A vertical bar is entered into your document.

To remove a Tab Stop, double click on the Tab Stop, then click on Clear All in the Tab dialog box, and then click OK. Or, simply drag the Tab Stop down from the Ruler, and it will disappear.

Despite being so simple to use, Tab Stops can give you greater flexibility and control when it comes to formatting your documents.

What’s your favorite Microsoft Word trick? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you use your favorite software more effectively. Email: