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Computer Cleaning 101

Computer Cleaning 101

Words Lisa Milbrand

Believe it or not, your computer may be one of the dirtiest places in your house. Here’s how to clean the screen and keyboard safely.

Here’s an icky fact: Scientists have found that computer keyboards can be loaded with germs—often even more than a toilet seat. Lovely, right? Unfortunately, bleach-bombing your computer keyboard isn’t really an option—you have to be a lot more careful cleaning sensitive electronics than you do cleaning up your bathroom.

So how do you give your device a deep clean—one that results in a sparkling (and germ-free) computer screen and keyboard? Follow these steps to restore that almost-new look to your computer without risking damage to what’s inside.

Step 1: Turn off the computer. This will help minimize the odds of you hitting a wrong key and deleting an essential file while you’re cleaning (and avoid any possible short-circuiting of the electronics as well).

Step 2: Give the exterior a good wipe. A microfiber cloth, slightly dampened with water, can do wonders on the exterior and bring it back to that like-new computer condition. Follow the damp cloth with a dry one to help minimize smudging. Once the outside of your computer has been addressed, do a once-over of the keyboard with a gentle brush that whisks away dirt and dust on the surface.

This will help dump any bagel crumbs or other random bits out from between the keys. For those stubborn particles left behind, use a loop brush from a keyboard cleaning set to reach behind the keys and remove any grime.

Using too much of a liquid cleaning product could damage your computer keys or even the actual device. A clean rag that is barely dampened with isopropyl alcohol is a great way to polish the keys effectively or use a brush for crumbs. (Top tip: If you’re sharing the device with someone who is sick, clean it daily with a disinfectant wipe!)

The glass in your computer screen isn’t made from your standard window glass, so do not 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.

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: Try an electronics brush to dust around the vents.

Step 7: Maintain your keyboard. Microbiologists (those people who study germs for a living) suggest a weekly clean for computer keyboards. A consistent cleaning schedule keeps grime from piling up and likely will add years to the life of your device.

Now that your computer looks sparkling new, how about putting a little law and order in the rest of your home office with these easy office organizers?

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By Lisa Milbrand

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