From televisions to power tools, power cords are largely disregarded facets of all electrical items. Power cords sit in the corners of rooms where debris often collects. People drag them through mud, toss them in pick-up trucks and leave them outside. Dingy power cords are not only unsightly, gunk on prongs or in prong inlets may eventually compromise the ability of the cord to receive or transmit power. When cleaning, use cleaners, tools and methods that will restore the power cord without causing any damage.
Dust the cord with a duster or a dry cloth to eliminate any dust, pet hair and other loose debris. Inspect the cord for damage. Replace frayed, peeling, cracking or chewed-up cords.
Create a sudsy solution of hot water and dish soap. Do not use alcohol or solvent cleaners. Wipe down the cord with the solution, using a sponge. Fold and pinch the sponge around the cord and run it up and down the length of the cord. Clean the plug heads. Rinse and re-dampen the sponge with the soap solution frequently, to avoid smearing dirt around.
Scrape off any dried paint splatters from the cord, using a spoon or a putty knife. If the paint won't immediately scrape off, wrap a paper towel soaked with citrus cleaner or hot vinegar around the splatters to soften the paint. A hair dryer is also useful for heating and softening paint splatters.
Whiten white cords that have yellowed by scrubbing them with a paste made of baking soda and water. Toothbrushes work well for scrubbing power cords. Allow the paste to dry to a crust the remove with a damp sponge.
Dig out gunk carefully from prong inlets, such as on the female side of an extension cord, using a wooden toothpick. Compressed air can also be used to blow out inlets.
Wipe down the cord again with a sponge dampened with fresh water to remove any soap or baking soda residue. Let the cord fully dry before plugging it back in.