Everything works better when it is pure. Not to mention the mess kills. This is why it is so important to clean your computer regularly, and this spring is the perfect time to do it.
Just as a computer with an uncluttered hard drive runs better and faster, a computer without dust accumulates runs cooler, which means better and faster. Add a clean monitor, keyboard, and mouse for an even more enjoyable computer experience.
Good cleaning is time consuming but can be very quick. Due to the number of steps and details, this article will be split into 2 parts; physically clean up the computer and clean up its “insides”, that is, Windows and hard drive.
Let’s take a look at the best way to clean up your Windows PC.
Clean up the physical parts of your computer
DO NOT perform any physical cleaning on a computer that is turned on and still connected to power. Unplug your computer or components before cleaning.
You will also want to discharge residual or static electricity from your computer or laptop. Below are the steps to take for desktop and laptop. Static electricity is a real threat to you and your computer. Doing so may cause you severe shock or irreversibly damage your computer.
- Shut down the computer in the operating system as usual.
- Disconnect your computer from the network.
- Drain off static electricity by touching the metal part of the chassis, not the components inside.
- Drain the water. residual electricity by pressing and holding the power button for about 20 seconds.
Drain residual and static electricity from your desktop
- Shut down your computer through your OS, as you normally would.
- Disconnect the computer from the wall.
- Drain any static electricity by touching a metal part of the can, and not any of the components inside.
- Drain remaining electricity by pressing and holding the power button for 20 seconds.
- Shut down your laptop through the operating system as usual.
- Unplug the power cord from the wall and disconnect the power supply or converter from your laptop.
- If possible, remove the laptop battery. For some newer laptops, this is not possible unless you open the laptop case. We do not recommend doing this.
- Drain static electricity by touching the metal part of the chassis, not the components inside.
- Drain any residual power by pressing and holding the power button for about 20 seconds.
Drain remaining and static electricity from laptop
- Turn your laptop off by OS, as you normally would.
- Disconnect the power cable from the wall and unplug the power block or adapter from the laptop.
- Remove the laptop battery if possible. For some newer laptops, this is only possible if you open the laptop case. We do not recommend this.
- Drain any static electricity by touching a metal part of the case, not any of the internal components.
- Drain remaining electricity by pressing and holding the power button for 20 seconds.
Liquids and computers
Never apply liquid cleaners or water directly to any part of the computer. Always dampen a cloth, cotton swab, or magic eraser and use it to clean. It must be moist enough to know that it is not dry.
Water or liquids and electricity DO NOT mix. Water and most liquids are excellent conductors of electricity, so even the smallest amount will conduct electricity.
This can cause a short circuit in your computer or an electrical connection between you and the computer, which can cause pain and possibly serious injury. In extreme cases, it can even lead to death.
Also, allow the computer enough time to air dry completely before reconnecting power and turning it on. It won’t take long if your fabric was a little damp, maybe 5 minutes or so. If you can wait longer, do so.
Safely use canned or compressed air with computers
For removing dust and dirt, nothing beats a can or compressed air. But there are some safety concerns when using pressurized air for you and your computer.
- DO NOT use an air compressor that is not specifically designed for use with computers. Conventional air compressors can use too high pressures and displace small computer components. They can also contain moisture and grease in the airflow, which can cause short circuits in your computer.
- Put on safety glasses and a respirator. The glasses will protect your eyes from debris. The dust mask is designed to prevent inhalation of dust. It’s just disgusting. In addition, dust may contain traces of heavy metals such as mercury or lead. If you clean computers every day, these metals can build up in your system and harm your health.
- When using compressed air, follow all instructions on the can. Never spray it on yourself and always keep the can upright while using. The propellant can cause skin burns similar to frostbite. Holding the can upright will prevent the propellant from escaping as a liquid burst, which could damage your computer.
Now that you are sufficiently prepared for security, let’s start cleaning up the physical parts of the computer.
- Two clean, dry microfiber items or a soft, lint-free cloth. One for wetting and the other for keeping it clean and dry.
- Cotton swabs, such as cotton swabs. There are some with very pointed ends that are great for bezel edges and other hard-to-reach places.
- Screen cleaning fluid. DO NOT use anything that contains ammonia or alcohol. You can buy a screen cleaner, or make a mixture of half a glass of water and half a teaspoon of white vinegar or two drops of a mild dishwashing detergent like the original Dawn.
- Any cleaning solution designed for hard surfaces will work for the rest of the computer. Your screen cleaning solution will work, too.
- Canned air.
- 97% medical alcohol. (Optional for deep cleaning of electronic components. If you are uncomfortable cleaning electrical contacts, skip this. Better safe than sorry.)
- Magic keyboard or computer eraser The case is especially dirty.
What you will need to clean
- Two clean, dry microfiber cloths or a soft, lint-free cloth. One for moisturizing and one for keeping it clean and dry.
- Cotton swabs, such as cotton swabs. There is a species that has very pointed ends which are great for reaching the edge of tire and other hard-to-reach places.
- Screen cleaning fluid. Don’t use anything with ammonia or alcohol in it. You can buy screen cleaning liquid, or you can make a mixture of about half a cup of water, half a teaspoon of white vinegar, or two drops of dishwashing liquid like Original Dawn.
- For the rest of the computers, any cleaning solution intended for hard surfaces will work. A screen cleaning solution will also work.
- Canned Air.
- Rubbing alcohol 97%. (Optional for deep cleaning around electronic parts. If you are not comfortable cleaning the electrical contacts, skip this. Better safe than sorry.)
- Magic Eraser if the keyboard or computer case is dirty In particular.
How to clean your computer screen or screen
A computer screen or monitor is your view of the world of your computer. Ultimately, it turns out why we use a computer at all. So why not keep it clean? Easy to read and easy to see means easier to use.
Steps to clear the screen
- Turn off your monitor and, if possible, unplug it. If it’s a laptop, turn it off. This is to prevent damage or injury to you or the screen if any liquid somehow gets on the electronics.
- Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe the entire screen, bezel, or outside edge and back of the screen. This will remove dust and dirt.
- Use compressed air to spray all hard-to-reach areas that look like they have dust in them.
- Use a cotton swab to hit the tight corners where the bezel meets the screen to avoid dust or dirt getting stuck.
- Spray or wet a microfiber cloth with screen cleaning solution. The fabric should be slightly damp to the touch. You don’t want it to be wet enough to drip off. DO NOT spray it on the screen or computer. Liquids and electronics are not compatible. Wipe the screen to remove any remaining dust, dirt, or fingerprints.
- Using a second dry microfiber cloth, wipe and polish the screen. Circling helps avoid streaks.
- Allow the screen to air dry completely before turning it on again.
- Rotate the screen again and check for missing spots. If you’ve missed a stain or two, you can probably clean them off with a dry cloth. If you need a damp cloth, unplug your monitor and try cleaning it again.
How to clean the keyboard and mouse
Steps to clean the keyboard
- Disconnect the keyboard from the computer. If you have a laptop, make sure it is turned off, unplugged, removed from the battery, and follow the static and residual electricity guidelines above.
- Flip the keyboard over and shake it out. If it is not a laptop keyboard, you can try gently tapping it on a hard surface while it is upside down. Be prepared to get a little pissed off. Even if you never eat at your computer, something that looks a little nasty will fall out of it. Wipe it off with a cloth before proceeding.
- Blow off any remaining dust or debris from the cylinder.
- Gently wipe the keys with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to remove any remaining residue.
- If possible, wipe with a damp cotton swab under the keys and slots on the keyboard.
- Dampen a cloth with the cleaning solution and wipe the keyboard, then clean each key individually. If some keys have accumulated dirt, you may need to rub a little harder or use a slightly damp magic eraser.
- Use a damp cloth to clean the entire length of the keyboard cable. Pay attention to whether it sticks or not. If it sticks, the cable is likely damaged, which could cause problems. The safest way is to replace the keyboard.
- Disconnect the mouse from the computer. If you have a laptop, make sure it is turned off, unplugged, removed the battery, and completely drained of power.
- Use compressed air to blow away dust or debris. / li
- Gently wipe the entire surface of the mouse or touch pad with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
- If necessary, use a damp cotton swab to wipe the slits on the mouse or touchpad.
- Moisten a cloth with the cleaning solution and wipe the mouse or touchpad. If there is a buildup of dirt, you may need to rub a little harder or use a slightly damp magic eraser.
- Wipe the entire length of the cable with a damp cloth. Pay attention to whether it sticks or not. If it sticks, the cable is likely damaged, which could cause problems. Again, the safest option is to replace the mouse.
Steps to clean the mouse or touchpad
- Disconnect the mouse from the computer. If you have a laptop, be sure to turn it off, unplug it, remove the battery, and drain the power.
- Use canned air to get rid of any dust or debris.
- Gently wipe the soft, dry, lint-free cloth across the mouse or the entire touchpad surface.
- If necessary, use a damp cotton swab to clean the crevices of the mouse or touchpad.
- Moisten the cloth with the cleaning solution and wipe the mouse or touchpad. If there is a buildup of dirt, you may need to scrub it a little more vigorously or use a slightly damp magic eraser.
- Use the damp cloth to clean the entire length of the mouse cable. Pay attention to whether or not it crashes. If it breaks, then there’s most likely damage to the cable that could cause problems. Once again, the safest option is to replace your mouse.
General steps to clean up your computer or laptop
Turn off your computer or laptop and follow the instructions for dealing with residual and static electricity above.
Disconnect all cables from the computer.
Use compressed air to blow out any vents or ports on the computer. Get ready for large clouds of dust. Do this until visible dust stops coming out.
If you are using a PC that can be removed from the cover, do so and blow out any dust from the inside. This is a good change for visually inspecting your computer components for damage or degradation. Then go back to cleaning the outside of the computer.
If you are working on a laptop, there may be panels that can be removed to access the hard drive or RAM. If it is convenient for you to do this, remove the panels and blow out all the dust with compressed air.
- Use a cotton swab dipped in cleaning fluid to remove dirt from crevices or vents.
- Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove dirt from any ports.
- Use a dry cloth to wipe off all dust and debris.
- Dampen a cloth with a cleaning solution and wipe the outside of your PC or laptop.
- If necessary, use the magic eraser to erase any hard marks from it.
- Wipe with a damp cloth all cables connected to the computer; power, monitor, USB, whatever. Check cables and ends for damage and repair or replace them. It also gives you the ability to organize your cables so there is no clutter around you.
- A cotton swab moistened with rubbing alcohol can be used to clean the pins on the ends of the cables, if deemed necessary. Then allow the cables to air dry for at least 5 minutes before reconnecting them. Inspect them to make sure they are completely dry.
- Replace the cables, making sure they are fully inserted and secured, and come back to enjoy your computer.
Everything is clean
Your computer is now almost as clean as it was when it was out of the box. I bet you will feel better too. I guarantee your computer is doing better too. Air can now flow through the computer normally, keeping it cool and fast.
The pins on your cables are now clean and tight, allowing your computer’s components to communicate better with each other. If you’ve removed the cables, you’ll probably have more desk space and less risk of tripping.
If you find damaged cables and repair or replace them, your computer will perform better AND safer. This whole process took you about half an hour.
Was those 30 minutes worth it? Stay tuned for the second part of this article on how to clean the insides of your computer by configuring Windows and your hard drive.