The Case of the Hot & Dirty Laptop
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.