It’s easy to tell when office drawers need to be straightened up or a bathroom could use a good cleaning because the mess is visible. It’s a lot harder, however, to know when it’s time to do some thorough laptop cleaning and how to clean your computer screen—two essential activities since computer keyboards are known to be covered with more germs than toilet seats.
So, here are some guidelines for how to clean your laptop screen and keyboard without risking damage to what’s inside.
1. Assemble your tools
Sophisticated electronic equipment requires specific tools that do their job without tampering with sensitive parts and wiring. Some must-have options include:
- A tool with a lint-free microfiber cloth that can gently clean the screen without scratching fine surfaces the way paper towel or other abrasive materials can.
- A slim brush with a pointed tip that can reach into often neglected or hard-to-clean areas (like between keys and near the laptop’s hinge)
- A duster that can trap dust and particles without scratching screens or other delicate electronic parts
2. Backup your computer
None of us does this as often as we should, so getting it done before a deep clean is a great idea. Experts recommend backing up your data to an external hard drive and a cloud-based service to ensure that you can access it via different ways should your computer ever have issues.
3. Turn off your computer and unplug it
Follow the same rule here that you would with any electronic items. Disconnect it from the power source before cleaning it and wait for all surfaces to dry before plugging it in again.
4. Wipe down the exterior
Dampen the microfiber fabric end of your tool with a splash of water and gently clean your laptop’s shell. Follow the damp cloth with a dry one to help minimize smudging
5. Disinfect your trackpad
Since your trackpad is likely the first thing you touch when you sit down to your computer, it’s probably one of the dirtiest areas of your laptop. Wipe it off with your microfiber cloth and a drop of rubbing alcohol, making sure to concentrate on the edges where dirt and grease from your fingertips can build up.
6. Clear out crumbs
7. Clean the vents
The vents on your machine keep all the sensitive parts inside cool, so it’s crucial to keep them free of gunk. A little spray of compressed air can do wonders for any dust bunnies lurking there. Another trick: Use an electronics brush to dust around the vents—and any jacks or ports, too!
8. Deep clean your keyboard
Since spraying a liquid cleaning product directly at your machine could damage it, use a clean rag lightly dampened with isopropyl alcohol or a disinfectant wipe to sanitize all surfaces instead. If it’s been a while, consider removing the keys from the keyboard and cleaning underneath them. Just snap a photo before dislodging them so you can easily put each one back in its place. Finally, if you’re sharing a computer with someone who is sick, clean it daily!
9. Polish your computer screen
Your computer screen isn’t made from standard window glass, so don’tt use glass cleaner which could damage the screen coating. Instead, put a small amount of isopropyl alcohol or LCD cleaner onto a soft microfiber cloth and gently remove smudges or fingerprints from the screen. For best results, move the cloth in an even, circular motion across the screen as if you are polishing dinnerware. Note: Don’t spray anything directly on the computer screen, as it could drip under the edges and ruin your monitor.
10. Clean your other heavy-use work items
Now that your keyboard is germ-free, deep clean the rest of the items on your desk and in your work area. Scrub down your water bottle and your coffee mug. Tea drinkers, sponge off your infuser basket with soapy water to ensure all used tea leaves are removed. If you drink smoothies or iced coffees through a reusable straw, make sure to clean out both the straw’s interior and the container with specialized brushes in order to dislodge any remaining food particles. Finish off by mopping under your desk and dusting any bookshelves or file cabinets nearby so they’re free of allergens and dust.