How to Clean Your Laptop or Desktop Computer

Proper Cleaning Means Longer Lasting Technology

After dropping several hundred, or even several thousand, dollars on a new computer, you want to make sure that it lasts without issues.  Of course you have already taken the necessary precautions to protect it, like the proper carrying case, but things still get dirty.

how to clean a dirty computer

Here’s how you should go about cleaning your computers.  When it’s done right, they will last a whole lot longer than if you just let them run their course.

Prepare for Cleaning your Computer

Most of the supplies are the same for cleaning your various devices.  Here is what you will need to have on hand:

  • Non-abrasive cloth (micro-fiber works the floss pick for cleaning computerbest)
  • Rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes
  • Screen cleaner (non-ammonia)
  • Q-tips
  • Flosspicks
  • Compressed air

Naturally you will want to turn off and unplug.  For laptops disconnect the battery if that’s an option, for the desktop unplug every peripheral device.

How to Clean Your Laptop

When it comes to your laptop, the dirtiest part is going to be the keyboard (aside from the 2-in-1 models which you should buy next time you need a computer).  But things still get dirty.

To clean the screen, a simple wipe with a micro-fiber cloth should remove the majority of the dirt.  For oils and grime (maybe it transferred from the keyboard when closed or maybe you smudged it while eating a maple bar, we won’t judge how it happened) use a small amount of screen cleaner on that microfiber cloth.

To clean the keyboard turn the laptop upside down and gently tap the edge.  This will loosen as much debris as possible.  Then blow it free with the compressed air, and wipe between the keys with a bit of rubbing alcohol on a q-tip.  If you really want to get crazy you can pop out every key and clean each one individually.  Avoid using a vacuum cleaner as it’s hard to control suction and you may pull loose keys out, or worse damage another part of the computer.

For the majority of the housing, an alcohol wipe will get rid of anything stuck on.  For those tight spots, especially around ports, a dental pick can get the gunk out that has built up in there.

How to Clean Your Desktop Tower

Towers are a whole different ordeal.  While the screens are pretty similar to cleaning a laptop screen, the power these devices have means that the towers get dirtier faster.

The best way to prevent your tower from getting dirty is to ensure that it’s in the right place.  If you have your computer in the kitchen, it will get clogged with grease and smoke from cooking.  If you smoke around your computer, that smoke will clog up the computer with tar and ash.  Put it in the right environment and you can minimize your cleaning efforts.

The tower’s housing can be cleaned by wiping with a micro-fiber cloth and wiping up gunk with alcohol wipes.  The inside will take a little more finesse.

Remove the cover so that the guts are exposed.  From here you can assess the work.  If it’s really dirty, begin by removing everything that can be removed; this includes RAM, the hard drive, and disk drives.  Carefully blow out the dust using compressed air, and then blow off each of the components  that you disconnected.  Pay special attention to the fans, these moving parts can become dust and hair magnets.  Be careful not to touch anything as oil from fingers doesn’t play well with electrical components.

Most of the time there won’t be any grime or gunk built up in the computer, but if there is take care when wiping with a q-tip.  Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, but too much can still damage delicate electronics.  Remember, if you’re in doubt, don’t do it.

When the rubbing alcohol has dried, put the case back on, and reconnect everything.

Bring Your Devices to iDoctor for a Tune Up

If your laptop or desktop computer is too dirty for you to bother with, or you’re uncertain about the cleaning process, bring it to iDoctor!  We can give it a full tune up to ensure that it’s running properly and as clean as it should be.

With two locations in Billings, we’re always convenient to you.