Contact Us Live Chat

Safety first: The importance of clean devices during a pandemic and beyond

7th May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for a dramatic change in behaviour, as many of us step up our cleaning regimes to prevent the spread of infection. We’re washing our hands more often than ever and regularly disinfecting. We’re avoiding cash payments where possible, and perhaps wiping down groceries and post before opening them. Workplaces are taking precautions too, with social distancing rules in place, additional cleaning rounds and PPE for staff if appropriate.

Some environments, particularly public-facing ones, can be particularly risky. We supply portable printers to the healthcare, law enforcement and retail sectors among others – places where staff are still coming into contact with people multiple times a day.

As we saw in our last blog, medical professionals rely on clear communication, whether that be for test results or ensuring a patient’s allergies, dietary requirements and medication are accurately recorded. Thermal printing eliminates the problem of illegible handwriting and, with the government pledging to increase COVID-19 testing, label printers are expected to be used even more extensively in hospitals, labs and mobile testing units.

Since the virus can remain on surfaces for up to 72 hours, cleaning heavily-used devices could help stem the rate of infection and protecting staff and patients, both in the lab and on the ward. The NHS recommends washing your hands and cleaning mobile devices more often than usual – advice that is also applicable to anyone using handheld and panel mount printers.

Cleaning the exterior of your printer is essential for health and safety but, to ensure better functionality and longevity, it is important to clean the internal mechanisms too. Even if it doesn’t seem like a priority at the moment, it is one of the best ways to prevent a breakdown at this critical time.  

You’d normally do this after printing a few rolls of paper and the process is quick and straightforward. Simply turn off the printer and open it, then gently run a thermal head printing pen over each part. Be careful not to use sharp objects that could damage the mechanism because it won’t be covered by the warranty. Dust can also be removed using a can of compressed air, or even a vacuum cleaner.

An Able cleaning card – Ap1300RLRCC002.– can also be used to effectively and efficiently clean the whole mechanism.

It is well-known that mobiles, computer keyboards and other devices harbour bacteria and viruses. With one report suggesting smart phones are seven times dirtier than a toilet, we all need to get into the habit of wiping them down, as well as washing our hands and avoiding touching our faces. The current pandemic may just prompt us all to think twice about the devices we use, both at home and work, especially if they are shared or used frequently.

There is plenty of online advice about cleaning smart phones safely and effectively, and you can apply the same practice to other electronic equipment. Just as washing our hands regularly has become second nature in recent months, so too should cleaning our devices.

To find out more about cleaning and maintaining your printers, consult your operator guide or visit our support page.