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How to Safely Clean Your Power Outlets

Electrical outlet with three slot receptacles installed on the kitchen island.
Jason Finn/Shutterstock.com

Cleaning smaller fixtures around the house, like doorknobs and light switches, is a common practice. But when was the last time you properly cleaned your power outlets?

An unmaintained outlet can stop working or even cause an electrical fire in your home. Knowing how to properly—and more importantly, safely—clean your outlets will allow them to last longer. The good news: cleaning them is a quick and easy chore.

Safety first! Before you clean your power outlet, it’s recommended to first turn off all power sources, as water and electricity do not mix. It also goes without saying that you should never stick a metal object into the outlet; both can result in severe shock and injury.

Then, begin by removing the screws from the face out of the outlet with a screwdriver. Set the screws aside and place the cover inside warm and soapy water to clean it. Use a rag to wipe it down. Remember—the cover needs to be thoroughly dried before reattaching.

After that, use a can of compressed air to remove any dirt and dust inside the outlet. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol is a helpful solution for the smaller sections around the outlet. Again, let this completely dry.

iDuster Compressed Air Duster

The perfect tool to clean every nook and cranny.

Once that’s all done, you can replace the cover with the screws and turn the power back on.

Cleaning your electrical outlets can be a daunting task, but as long as you practice safe techniques, you—and your outlets—will be just fine.

Lindsay Ray Lindsay Ray
Lindsay is a lifestyle and beauty writer currently living in Arizona. She has several years of experience as a freelance writer and reporter, with a specialized interest in the beauty and lifestyle space. From beauty hacks to DIY home décor and everything in between -- Lindsay has a passion for crafting stories that entertain, educate, and inspire. Her writing has appeared in Thought Catalog, The List, Drink Me Magazine, the Auburn Examiner, and Litro Magazine in the United Kingdom. Read Full Bio »
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