Tech • gadget
Why and How on Cleaning Your Laptop
Everything gets dirty eventually. The more you use something the more it picks up grime, dust, and smudges. Your laptop is no different.
Stop for a second. If you are reading this article on your laptop, we want you to take a long hard look at it. Can you see smudges and smears on the screen? Is there grey spots here and there? Now look down. Do you see something similar on your keyboard? Perhaps there is some fluff under the keys and little crumbs from last night’s dinner?
If you’ve noticed that your laptop is in fact looking quite dirty, now is the time to clean it. Rather than just making your laptop look as good as the first day you got it, there are practical reasons for a good clean as well:
- Every time we touch our keyboard, germs and bacteria from our hands are being transferred! A British study found that out of 33 keyboards tested at an office, 4 were regarded as potential health hazards and one even had 5 times more germs than the office’s toilet seats! Case in point: clean your laptop so you do not get sick!
- Dust and dirt clog up your laptop. This especially occurs to your laptops fans which are great at picking up dust. A fan with a lot of dust will not perform as well and lead to overheating. And overheated laptop results in lower performance and a faster draining battery since the fans need to work harder.
- Clunky keys. Yep, keys can get slow and unresponsive overtime, especially when dirt, gunk and dust is hidden under them. You may not realise it, but overtime your productivity will go down as the keys stick more to your fingers and become less responsive to the pressure pads below.
As you can see there are many reasons why you should clean your laptop. And now we get to the how part. We have consulted Zachary Mosley – a tech enthusiast and clean freak, from Shopper Bytes – on how to give your laptop the clean it deserves.
He recommends things that you would normally use to clean tech items – canned air, isopropyl alcohol, cloths, cotton swabs and even toothpicks.
Cleaning the Inside
To start off, a good clean on the inside is recommended. “You want to clean the hardest part first. Getting rid of the dust from the inside will ensure you won’t need to clean the outside twice in the case where more dust is pushed onto the screen or keyboard,” says Zachary.
Make sure your laptop is off and unplugged and remove the battery. Using pressurised air, blow into the vents, cracks, and crevices. This will blow dust and dirt particles off the internal components, including the fans as well as between the keyboard.
“If It’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned your laptop you may have to open it up.”
You should see a back panel which can be unscrewed. This will allow you easy access to the fans which you can blast with some more compressed air. If you’re laptop came with some sort of service manual, be sure to consult that as well which should have precise instructions for cleaning.
Zachary adds, “However; you might want to check your warranty. Some will be void if you open up the back.” It pays to be careful!
Tip: When using compressed air, spray a bit first to test the pressure. Then only use short bursts. Continuously pushing out compressed air can cause damage.
Cleaning the Surface
“When cleaning the screen, keyboard and the rest of the laptop surface, it’s best to use a lightly damp cloth or cotton tip”, says Zachary.
The best thing to do is to dab some cloth with the alcohol and ensure that is slightly damp but not wet. Wipe the front and back of the screen. You can also do the same for the keyboard. Cotton swabs are especially useful to get in between the keyboard keys. Again, the cotton swabs can be damp but nothing more than that.
Toothpicks are also useful to dislodge more stubborn gunk and debris. Be careful though and don’t apply too much pressure.
“Besides alcohol, you can also use water or a 50/50 mixture of both”. Yep, slightly wetting a cloth with water will help remove smudges and the like. Go over a few times to make sure you get rid of most of it.
Getting that Fresh New Smell
Zachary says, “Whilst cleaning the laptop will remove bad smells, there can still be something lingering, especially if a smoker has used the laptop.” To fix this, you can use charcoal. Place a cup or so in a bag and put the laptop in there. After 1 -2 days the odour will mostly be neutralised.
A user from Spiceworks by the name of Michael W. also recommends using kitty litter which contains charcoal. Baking soda is also an effective option.
Just Like New!
Cleaning your laptop will give it that brand-new shine whilst also boosting performance. There are some things you can’t make new though. If your keys are faded, then that will always be the case unless you get new keys. Similarly, do not expect dead pixels on your screen to magically light up again after you wipe it down!
So, there you have it. Performing a clean of your laptop when it starts to look worn down is a great way of keeping it looking and performing well.