We spend hundreds, even thousands, on electronic gadgets every year. But then we beat them up and don’t treat them with care, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

It’s important to protect your investment and take proper care of your electronics to ensure they live long, happy lives. The consequences are expensive, so take our advice and follow these simple electronic care tips to keep your cell phone, iPod and laptop in good shape.

1. Don’t drink or eat near your electronics

You probably think this sounds like a simple piece of advice, but think of all the times you’ve eaten dinner with your laptop on your lap or worked at a desk with a glass of water sitting right next to your keyboard.

Even if a food mishap hasn’t happened to you, odds are you probably know someone who has fried a keyboard or cell phone thanks to knocking over a soda. While it seems inconvenient to keep drinks far away from your electronics, it’s worth it in the long run. Also, eating away from your computer ensures you’ll keep crumbs away from your keyboard. Crumbs can gunk up the keys and even damage the keys over time.

2. Clean your electronics regularly

We use our cell phones, computers and iPods every day, but how often do we clean them? Studies show that our electronics are filthy, covered in dead skin cells from touching our faces and slathered in bacteria from using them with dirty hands. Roach motels might be cleaner than our electronics.

The good news is it’s simple to keep your electronics clean by just wiping them down with a damp cloth and mild antibacterial hand soap. Be sure the cloth isn’t wet and use only a tiny bit of soap. You can also use antibacterial hand wipes to clean up your electronics. You’ll be shocked – and grossed out – at how much dirt comes off your electronics.

3. Keep electronics away from children and pets

If you’ve ever raised a puppy, chances are you have a horror story of a laptop or cellphone cord getting chewed up. Even worse, some puppies will chew directly on cell phones, laptops and iPods. Similarly, children can also be very destructive with electronics.

While iPhones are great for keeping kids entertained, it only takes a split second for the child to throw or drop the phone, shattering the screen into a million pieces. If you do want to let your child play with your phone, considering buying a protective case to keep it from breaking should it does slip out of your child’s hand. Also, never underestimate how quickly a puppy can snatch your phone or chew up a laptop cord. Never leave puppies unattended with your electronics.

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