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Digital Spring Cleaning

Digital Spring Cleaning - The Beacon


By: Jackie

Digital Spring Cleaning

Spring is here, and it seems to bring out the urge to clean our living space from top to bottom! Your BBB® and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) encourage consumers to include their computers and other web-connected devices in their spring cleaning regimen. “Our lives have become increasingly connected and, with multiple devices, we accumulate digital clutter that needs attention. That’s why we’re adding a new spin on spring cleaning that can help you be more secure online, protect valuable, personal information and avoid identity theft,” states Michael Kaiser, NCSA’s executive director.

If you’re like me and have over 5,000 emails in your Inbox, you are overwhelmed and wondering where to begin the decluttering and cleaning process. Luckily for us, there is a downloadable Digital Spring Cleaning Checklist which includes a four-week list of tasks grouped together by category. Week 1 tasks involve keeping a clean machine; Week 2 focuses on making sure you’re secure; Week 3 is for digital file purge and protection (good-bye 5,000 emails!); and Week 4 is for cleaning your online reputation. You can download the checklist at

Businesses especially need to do a digital spring cleaning. They can do a cyber safety check-up with BBB’s “5 Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity” at

While you’re cleaning up your digital life, also consider this. Did you know that your computer keyboard and mouse can harbor a host of harmful bacteria, including E. coli and staph? Tests conducted in offices in recent years have shown that 12% of keyboards and mice are potential health hazards, 3% can have levels of germs five times higher than that found on the average toilet seat! To clean your equipment, first, make sure everything is powered off. Wipe off your monitor with a damp cloth, shake out and/or spray your keyboard out with compressed air, and scrub the keyboard with a damp, mildly soapy solution to clean off the oils from your hands, coffee stains, crumbs, dust and so on. How-to-Geek has an excellent article on how to clean your desktop computer at  Directions for cleaning your laptop can be found here.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

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Jackie is the Operations and Education Foundation Assistant with the BBB. She assists consumers with business inquiries, and does presentations to senior groups and high school students. She is a regular contributor to the blog.