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Weekend Project: How to Clean Your Laptop

by Roy Choi | July 27, 2013July 27, 2013 8:00 am PST

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  • Time: 5-15 minutes
  • Cost: Free to $20
  • Difficulty: None

Like many users, I use my laptop fairly regularly. I use it daily for work and occasionally for some gaming, which usually prompts my wife to ask, “Who are you killing today: Zombies? Aliens?”. But I keep it near me just about all the time.

Laptops, tablets and smartphones are great useful tools and the more you use them the more they get germy, grimey and just downright gross they get. And if you have kids? Blegh. But it doesn’t have to be that way with just a quick wipe down and a little care you can be well on your way to a clean laptop.

I am quite particular about how I clean things. I have a process. Basically, dust, wipe, clean and wipe again.

Tools

  • Compressed air duster
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Microfiber polishing cloth
  • Post it Tabs
  • Scotch Tape
  • Water
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Paper towel or napkins
  • Monitor wipes

Dust

Before you get started, remember to turn OFF your laptop.

I dust off of the device, out of cracks and vents before I start wiping it with any cleaners or water. If I didn’t do this I’d just be smearing around dust and dirt around on my laptop, plus this helps prevent any scratches from any rogue particles.

Lots of dead skin cells fall into the cracks of your keyboard so go ahead and turn it over while you dust to make sure all particles fall out. If you’re a regular eater of food in front of your laptop, it may be interesting what you find in your keyboard.

Remember to dust your plugs and vents, they definitely need a good dusting and doing so prolongs the life of your ports and plugs.

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Wipe

I like to give my gadgets a nice wipe with a microfiber cloth to get any other dust particles that I didn’t catch in the dusting process.

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Monitor Wipes

I do not recommend monitor wipes.  I’ve never had a good experience with that and have found that they can be streaky and leave fibers from the cloth. Avoid buying monitor wipes and save your money.

Water

I prefer cleaning my display with a microfiber cloth and some water. Just enough dampness to moisten the cloth, but keeping most of towel to wipe up excess water. I like to quickly wipe away any water so that water spots do not remain. Microfiber doesn’t leave any cotton fiber like wipes or paper towels do. Microfiber cloths also absorb water really well, which helps prevent streaks and water spots.  I also have a polishing cloth that came with a pair of glasses that I use as well. Water is also gentle enough so that it doesn’t  take off any finish (e.g., anti-reflective) the display may have and won’t leave streaks like some chemicals may.

Tape

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Tape is great for removing any dust from any tight cracks, corners or vents.

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Paper Towel

Fold paper towels like origami to create a sharp corner to get into any tight cracks or crevices. This is great for pulling out any gunk that was left from other of the methods above. Also helps if you use a stiffer paper towel.  I’ve tried using Q-tip cotton swaps, but the heads are too big to get into tight spots.

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Disinfect

You can use a disinfecting wipe as pictured above, or you can spray some type of solution on a cloth towel. I use the disinfecting wipes to wipe down any frequently touched areas to clean away germs.  If you do clean with a wipe or solution I recommend wiping down the surface as soon as possible to avoid any streaks or spots.

Once you’ve completed that task you are set to type away on your laptop.

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What other methods do you use to clean your laptop? We would love to hear what else you do to keep your laptop looking fresh and clean.


Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...

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