The Case of the Dirty Hot Laptop

By | October 3, 2020
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The Case of the Hot & Dirty Laptop

The Case of the Hot & Dirty Laptop - Cloudeight Computer Tips

We’ve written about keeping your computer clean and free of malware, junkware, excess startup apps, etc. But rarely have we written about keeping the outside of your computer clean. Keeping your laptop clean can not only make your laptop run better and last longer – it can help keep you healthier too.


If you never clean your laptop, you’re not doing your computer’s health (or yours) any favors. Did you know that if you never clean your laptop keyboard it could be dirtier than a toilet seat in a public restroom? YUCK!

A recent survey found that laptop keyboards often contain more germs than toilet seats in public restrooms – and most users rarely clean their laptop keyboards – if they clean them at all. So, let’s be clean and healthy…

Unless you like the idea of typing on a dirty toilet seat it’s time to clean it. Apply isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to a microfiber cloth. Make sure the cloth is damp but not dripping. Use the cloth to clean the keyboard keys and all the areas bordering it. Next, take a dry microfiber or other lint-free cloth to dry and polish your keyboard. If the spaces between your keys are still dirty, use a cotton swab lightly dampened with isopropyl alcohol to clean and sanitize.


Just about everyone dusts the furniture and other objects around the home. But very few people dust the vents on their laptops. Dust can also clog your laptop vents inside and prevent it from cooling down properly.
Dusty cooling vents, can block airflow and cause your laptop to overheat. Overheating can drain your laptop’s battery, and shorten its life as well as hinder its performance. Also, if your laptop gets too hot it can randomly shut down. The hotter your laptop gets the worst its performance may be as your try to compensate for the excess heat.

Let’s get clean those dusty vents. Locate the cooling vents on your laptop – they are usually on the sides or bottom. Next, point a can of compressed air at the vents. Be careful not to use too much pressure. The best way to clean your laptop’s cooling vents with compressed is to shoot short bursts from different angles into the laptop vents. This cleans your vents and helps your laptop stay cooler.  To prevent dust from building up, you should clean the vents once a month.

And, if your laptop is running hot and you’re sure the vents are not full of dust, make sure the vents are not blocked by clothing, tablecloths, etc. And don’t place your laptop on top of a comfy pillow on your lap. Instead, use a cooling pad (available for $20 and up) or place your laptop on a flat, solid surface such as a tabletop. If you use your laptop on a table, make sure you don’t place your laptop on top of a placemat or tablecloth.

Clean the screen

A dirty laptop screen can dull colors and make it difficult to read text.. So, let’s clean the screen.

First, shut down your laptop. It’s easy to see dust, dirt, and grime when the screen is dark. Use a clean new sponge dampened (not soaked) with distilled water. Never use tap water or harsh chemicals to clean your laptop screen and never use paper towels on your screen. Gently wipe the screen with the damp sponge being careful to clean up any drips right away.

If your computer screen has sticky gunk or spatters or greasy spatters on it, use a clean microfiber cloth dampened with one of the following mixtures:

50% distilled water & 50% white vinegar
50% distilled water & 50% isopropyl alcohol
100% distilled water + one or two drops of dishwashing liquid

Rub the screen gently in small circles to avoid streaks. Never press too hard or you can damage your laptop’s screen. Remember…easy does it! Be gentle. Repeat as often as necessary until your laptop’s screen is clean and clear.

Finally, wait for the screen to dry completely before closing your laptop’s lid or powering it on.

It does not take a lot of time or effort to make sure your laptop is a clean machine.

7 thoughts on “The Case of the Dirty Hot Laptop

  1. Nora

    Good advice especially in a household with a lot of little kids with runny noses and people sneezing on the laptop and coughing, etc. Anything you plug into it too should be cleaned regularly .

  2. layor nala

    You wull also be surptised if you turn the laptop upside down and side to side and shake. Some people could get a whole meal out of the content that falls out!

  3. Lin

    Good advice to keep your computer and yourself healthy. If you could answer a question for me I would very much appreciate it. I read somewhere about only charging your laptop battery 80% and I made the adjustments then. Now I would like to change it back to a battery charge of 100% as I am using my laptop more and having to recharge the battery it seems to often to me. Being of later years ; – ) lol , I’ve forgotten how to do that. Some info would be helpful.
    Thanks for your help and take care of yourselves.

    1. infoave Post author

      This info about running laptop batteries down to 80% or 0% or any percent is outdated as is the only charging it to 70 or 80% info. Modern Laptops use Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride, or Lithium-Ion batteries. The lives of these batteries are not affected by occasionally draining the battery or running it down to a certain percentage. One thing that has not changed is that aging batteries don’t hold a charge or last as long as a new battery does.

      I am aware some Samsung laptops have a setting called “Battery Extender” which claims to extend the life of the battery by only allowing it to charge to 80%. I doubt this extends the life of your battery. If you have a Samsung laptop you can do this:

      Click “Start” > All programs > Samsung > Battery Life Extender > Battery Life Extender. Click “yes” if prompted. When the program launches you should have the option to go back and forth between 100 and 80% on your battery.

      Windows 10 has a Battery Saver mode, but it does not allow you to adjust the percentage of charge. See our article here.

  4. Annabelle Lee

    Could you use the compressed air spray on the keyboard also? I know I did that with my desktop but those keys were more raised up that things could get underneath them. I also did use rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer on my desktop keyboard and it wore the letters off. I was wondering if that will happen to my new Dell laptop lettering ?

    1. infoave Post author

      I would not recommend using hand sanitizer on any keyboard. It can contain oily substances such as aloe vera and lanolin. I’ve been cleaning my keyboards with 70% isopropyl alcohol for years it never took the letters off, so not sure what kind of keyboard you have. You can also use 3% hydrogen peroxide to sanitize you keyboard. I am not sure how well compressed air would work on a keyboard… it sure would not sanitize it.


    i Had the same problem after i upgarded to win 10 . It was not the ovber heating thing it was the drivers
    I had win 8 drivers after 20 minutes it would shut down and reboot it self.
    Went and checked the drivers in Device Manger and some of then needed up graded, I went to HP and downloaded all Win 10 Drivers and i have no problem with shuting down any more.
    This might help you


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