No, we are not here to teach you how to format a pc and perform a clean installation of your favorite operative system. This article is about giving your dirty, dusty computer a new look – a fundamental part of computer maintenance that is often neglected.
Laptops are usually very poorly treated and are exposed to a lot of dirt. We use our laptop everywhere, we don’t think twice before putting it down on a filthy table, and we surely don’t wash our hands before we lay our greasy, germ-filled fingers all over its keyboard and trackpad. Therefore, regularly cleaning the exterior of the laptop is absolutely mandatory.
Like most electronic devices, laptop cleaning also needs to be done with due care since there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Hardware components are very fragile and they don’t mix well with common cleaning products.
If you use the wrong cleaning technique, you can fry your computer or damage its screen in a matter of seconds. That’s why we decided to create this guide with a couple of tips to clean your laptop.
Laptop cleaning kit
Now that you know why you should clean your laptop every now and then, here’s what you will need to do it. You don’t need many things and they are all relatively easy to obtain (some of them you probably already have at home), so don’t stress.
Isopropyl alcohol: ideally, you should buy ninety percent or higher isopropyl alcohol to make sure you won’t damage any internal component. It is also the best product to clean and disinfect your laptop. You can buy this product at drugstores and supermarkets.
Canned compressed air: don’t think that you can clean your laptop properly without this tool. Canned air is the best way to remove debris and dust from certain parts of your laptop without provoking any damage.
Dry microfiber cloth: a microfiber cloth will enable you to clean different areas of your laptop without worrying about debris or scratches.
Screwdriver: this tool is not mandatory, but if your laptop is really dirty and you need to open it to clean its interior, it will certainly come in handy.
Do you have everything you need? Great. Now turn off your laptop, remove its battery if possible, and let’s start!
1. Ports and cooling vents
Some laptops have so much dust clogging the cooling vents and ports that they could very well trigger allergic reactions on its users. It is important to keep cooling vents unobstructed to allow your laptop fans to do their job: dissipate the heat coming from the internal components.
If your laptop often starts overheating without heavy use, you probably have your cooling vents filled with dust. You can clean these spots easily with the can of compressed air. Leave a safety distance to ensure that the air doesn’t reach the internal components, and place the can at an angle that allows you to remove the dust and debris (be careful not to push it inside!).
If you notice that the USB ports or other ports are visibly dirty, grab a cotton swab and dip it in isopropyl alcohol to remove that dirtiness. If you want to perform a deeper dusting on the inside, this is when the screwdriver will come in handy.
We recommend that you read the instructions manual very carefully before even trying to disassemble the laptop. There are also many youtube videos that can help you with this task. After this, you will most likely notice an increase in your laptop’s performance. Not only will your computer look like new, but it will also feel like new. Enjoy.
2. Keyboard and trackpad
This is usually the dirtiest part of the laptop. So much so that often the grease and dirt are quite noticeable – sometimes you can’t even see part of the printed key due to the dirtiness. But you should expect anything else since we even usually eat in front of the screen without any care.
Use the canned compressed air to get rid of crumbs on the computer and other dirt that might be stuck between the keyboard. Then, turn the laptop over and gently shake it to loosen the remaining debris. Repeat the canned air process.
Then pour a little bit of isopropyl alcohol into the microfiber cloth and wipe the laptop front clean: keycaps and the small spaces between them, trackpad, palm rest, everything. Be extremely careful because this might wear the finish of the surface.
That’s how to clean a laptop keyboard and trackpad. Simple, yet very effective. If you want to deep clean the keyboard, you will have to read the manual to find out whether it is possible to remove the keys to clean them individually.
Most people don’t know how to clean a laptop screen nor what to clean it with. It’s actually very simple, and all you need is a microfiber cloth and water. Generally, a dry microfiber cloth should be enough to clean a laptop screen properly.
If that is not your case, try to pour some water into the microfiber cloth to remove the dirtiest areas – just make sure you use the dry part of the microfiber cloth to absorb the excess of water after. If your screen is really, really dirty, you can also use a specialized cleaning product.
There are many options available on the market at very different price ranges, so you will certainly find something that suits your needs. Stick with those techniques and don’t believe in any other cleaning hacks you might find online.
The laptop case should be cleaned in the same way as the keyboard and trackpad: with isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth. Again, be careful with how much pressure you apply to the laptop while wiping it with the microfiber cloth because you can deteriorate the surface finish.
Wait until your laptop is completely dry and you are good to go. Now your laptop is properly clean and disinfected – and ready to be exposed again to absurd amounts of grease, dust, and dirt. It’s a neverending cycle. Fortunately, cleaning it is not that hard. Is it?