How to Clean Your Computer Hardware

Everyone wants their laptop or PC to run as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is especially true if your computer is your primary source of income or if you own a gaming PC where performance must be at its peak. Dirt, dust, and other debris can potentially damage parts of your computer if neglected, resulting in weaker device performance. If your laptop is covered in crumbs and fingerprints, it's time to clean it. Follow these handy tips to keep your computer looking clean and pristine while simultaneously optimizing its performance.

Cleaning the keyboard  

Before doing anything, turn off and unplug your device completely. Skipping this step can cause severe damage to your hardware.  

If you are like everyone else who multitasks in the workplace, chances are you eat while using your computer. There will likely be crumbs between, on, or inside your keys. You'll need to extract those before using a cloth or other materials.  

Grab a can of compressed air to clear the crumbs from the surface. If you don't have one, a small fan may work. Make sure to get as many crumbs out as possible while still being as gentle as possible. 

Next, take a clean cloth, isopropyl alcohol, and some Q-tips. Take the cloth and dampen it with alcohol. Run the cloth over each key individually, applying little to no pressure. Once finished, take a Q-tip and get in between the keys. You can dip the Q-tip in alcohol but stop short of a full soak; you don't want any residual liquid to get inside of the keyboard while cleaning. Once you've cleaned everything, the alcohol should dry within minutes.  

Cleaning your mouse and touchpad  

If you've never examined your PC mouse before, this is the moment to do so. The mouse is undoubtedly the next PC accessory that needs frequent cleaning after the computer keyboard. This should be no surprise as we always touch the mouse when working on our computers. Start by unplugging the mouse from your computer and removing any batteries. Use a clean cloth with a bit of alcohol to wipe the outside clean, being careful not to get any liquid inside. If you have a mechanical mouse, you can give it a quick clean by placing it on a piece of paper and moving the mouse around. Some of the dust should roll off by itself.   

Touchpads are an easy-clean, too. Take the same cloth with some alcohol and rub gently in small, circular motions. Again, make sure to use a minimal amount of alcohol to reduce the risk of liquid damage.  

Cleaning the screen  

Dirt, fingerprints, and dust can make your computer screen difficult to read over time. Though you may want to give it a good scrubbing, it's essential to be very delicate when cleaning your screen. Avoid abrasive substances like glass cleaners or ammonia-based products, as they can strip the protective coatings off the screen.   

Start cleaning the screen by wiping it down with a dry cloth. Go from corner to corner, getting as much dust and debris off as possible. Next, take the cloth and dampen it with water. If you don't think plain water will get the job done, you could make a cleaning solution with 50 percent vinegar and 50 percent water. Do not spray any liquids directly onto the screen. Once complete, wait for it to dry and turn your device back on.   

Dealing with liquids  

If liquid gets onto your device, turn it off immediately and remove all wires and other connections. Then flip the device upside down to allow any fluid to drain. If the liquid is sticky, hold the device on its side under running water to rinse away the sticky substance. Then turn the keyboard upside down and drain it for two days before reconnecting it. You may not be able to repair the device, but the technique outlined above is generally the best alternative. We recommend keeping drinks away from the computer area to prevent this situation altogether.  

It's recommended to perform a light dusting at least every three to six months to maintain a healthy PC (or more often if you have pets or live in an especially dusty environment). Deep cleaning is recommended every six months to a year to maintain peak performance and avoid potential overheating issues. 

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Written by Kevin Kuhlman

As SeedSpark's Social Media & Content Specialist, Kevin takes pride in managing the online social presence of SeedSpark and their clients.

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