DIY Repair & Maintenance

8 Stupid Mistakes That Kill Your Electronics

Most people nowadays own thousands of dollars' worth of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and countless other devices that play crucial roles in our everyday lives. Properly caring for these items can be tricky, as they contain delicate hardware and run on complex software. Take a look at 8 common errors you may be making with your electronics that could lead to pesky breakdowns and burnouts.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Charging Your Phone Overnight

You’ve heard the warning before: Never leave cellphones plugged in overnight. The rechargeable lithium-ion batteries will lose their capacity over time, becoming “dependent” on their chargers. Cellphones may also overheat if plugged in for too long, and the power cord will draw lots of wasted electricity to boot.

Related: 50 Great Gadgets for a Smarter Home

Eating at Your Keyboard

If you take a “working lunch” to watch cat videos online, avoid munching directly over your computer. Crumbs can lodge themselves in your keyboard, which is very difficult to clean, and they can even affect the tracking on your mouse.

Related: 12 Gadgets Every Homeowner Wants for Christmas

Leaving Devices in the Car

Electronics function best at room temperature, but cars rarely maintain this temperate range, often becoming unbearably hot in summer and teeth-shatteringly cold in winter. Resist the urge to leave your laptop in the car while you’re running errands, which could result in shorter battery life or failed components.

Related: 10 Genius Gadgets You Can Power with a Car Cigarette Lighter

Using Household Cleaning Products

Even if the bottle says “all purpose,” household cleaning products aren’t meant for electronics. The chemicals can seriously damage screens or cause devices to malfunction. Put down the spray bottle and wet wipes, and rely instead on a simple microfiber cloth as your first line of defense.

Related: 15 Brilliant Hacks for a Cleaner Home in 2018

Bringing Your Phone into the Bathroom

Admit it: You’ve taken your phone into the bathroom. It’s time to flush this bad habit out of your life. Beyond the likelihood that your phone will collect all manner of germs, you also run the risk of dropping your phone into the toilet—ew!

Related: 10 Things Never to Flush Down the Toilet

Tangling Your Cords

A tangled mess of cords is a dangerous tripping hazard—and, if your outlets are maxed out, it’s also a fire hazard. Manage the situation by taming chaotic cords with twist ties, keeping an eye out for frayed sections, and relieving overburdened outlets that could spark a flame.

Related: 10 Things Your Local Fire Department Wishes You Knew

Not Using a Case

You may balk at the extra bulk in your pocket, but getting a case for your smartphone saves money in long run, as it protects against drops, scratches, and even water damage. Laptops, tablets, and e-readers also benefit from the extra protection of a case.

Related: 10 Pricey Gadgets That Are Worth Every Penny

Neglecting Updates

Keeping up with regular updates can feel daunting, but they’re vital for ensuring that your electronics keep working properly. Ignoring cellphone or computer updates negatively affects your apps, slows down your device, and makes it more susceptible to hackers.

Related: 9 Crazy Gadgets That Cost More Than Your Mortgage


When you spend your hard-earned money on big-ticket items, you want to know that they will last for more than just a couple years. Just as you are unknowingly damaging your electronics, chances are you’re making mistakes that are ruining your car as well. Be a bit more conscientious about your actions from here on out.