dirtykeyboard_460409bbc7490Keeping Your Computer Squeaky Clean

For optimum computer system health, do your best to keep you computer's insides and outsides squeaky clean. Dust can accumulate in the vents and increase your PC's temperatures, which ultimately could cause system failure. Built up crumbs and dust in your keyboard can cause sticking and malfunction as well. So it's a good idea to make computer cleaning part of your regular routine. Here are some tips for cleaning your computer or laptop.*

Always start your cleaning routine by turning off your computer. If you are planning to clean internally, make sure to turn off your system and unplug all cords from the wall.

Some tools you may need:
  • Very soft lint-free or microfiber cloth
  • Can of compressed air (available at computer or office-supply store)
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Cotton swabs (do not use a cotton ball)
  • Water
  • Screwdriver

Cleaning Your Computer's Exterior

Dampen a soft, clean cloth with plain water. Never spray water directly onto the computer. Moisten the cloth and then wipe down the computer's hard exterior. Then run a cotton swab moistened with-not wet with-rubbing alcohol around all of the openings on the back of your computer. Go back over each opening with a dry swab to finish.


Extra Tip: Dryer sheets work well to routinely remove static from computer monitors. Simply, wipe the computer hard outer surface with a new sheet when necessary.

Cleaning Your Screen

Again with a soft clean cloth dampened with plain water, wipe the screen. Many cleaning solvents or special computer-cleaning cloths are too harsh for monitors or leave a residue. Gently wipe the screen and remove dust, hair and fingerprints. Especially on laptop screens, apply pressure evenly to the cloth and try not to press your fingers into the cloth or the screen.

Cleaning Your Keyboard

Next flip your keyboard over and give it a gentle shake. You might be surprised how many cookie crumbs fall out of there. Then flip it back and clean between the keys with a can of compressed air and a damp microfiber cloth. Again, do not spray directly into the keyboard but moisten the cloth first. Use moistened-not wet-cotton swabs to clean in and around keys.

Of course, it's always recommended that you keep your eats and drinks away from your computer. However, if you've really been on a snacking while typing frenzy, you may need to take the cleaning a little further. You can use a dab of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab to carefully remove outer grime. Then check your user's guide to see if you can remove your keys for a deeper cleaning and crumb removal.

Extra Tip: If a spill happens, immediately unplug the keyboard and flip it over to get the liquid out. Then dab the affected area with a paper towel, blow compressed air between the keys and leave it to air dry overnight. If you have a laptop, spills are even more critical, so flip the whole computer over and let it dry completely. If, after you take these steps, the keyboard doesn't work, take it to your computer service provider for assessment.


Extra Tip: There are several cool keyboard protectors on the market that are designed to fit over and protect the keyboard without interfering with the normal task of typing. That way, you can have your cake and protect your keyboard too.

Cleaning Your Mouse

Unplug your mouse and wipe down the outer casing with a soft, damp cloth. Flip over the mouse, unscrew the bottom and remove the ball. Wash the ball with water and allow it to dry completely. For extreme grime, use a little rubbing alcohol on your damp cloth to remove. Use compressed air to blow any dust and particles out of the interior. When the ball is dry, replace it and replace the cover.

Cleaning Inside Your System

For this step, remember to turn off and unplug your computer, and never spray water directly into your computer.

  • Remove the exterior casing opposite your motherboard with a screwdriver. It is very important to keep your fingers and tools clear of cards and cords. Just be very careful not to touch any of the inner workings of your system.
  • Keeping the can at a four-inch distance, blow compressed air around the components and along the bottom of the computer but away from the machine. Blow air into the power supply box, the fan and the floppy disk and CD drives. Wipe the inside of the cover with a damp cloth and then replace it.
Once everything is clean and dry, plug back in and enjoy your computer's fun, new-again sparkle.

* Before cleaning your computer the first time, make sure to consult your user's guide to check for any special instructions or warnings for cleaning your individual system.

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