Can You Use General Purpose Cleaning Wipes To Scrub Your Laptop?

While we’ve covered laptop cleaning in the past, one question we haven’t answered is whether or not you can use off-the-shelf disinfectant wipes, rather than various combinations of household cleaning fluids that, while safer, aren’t as convenient. As always the answer is: it depends.

There’s no shortage of cleaning wipes you can buy and at first glance, any one of them looks right for the job. Where you run into problems is the chemicals used and the surface of the cloth (which can be abrasive).

For instance, your average disinfectant wipe is fine according to Apple, as long as it doesn’t contain breach or other harsh ingredients and you wring out any excess liquid.

What’s classified as “harsh”? HP has you covered:

Do not use any of the following chemicals or any solutions that contain them: Acetone, ethyl alcohol, toluene, ethyl acid, ammonia, or methyl chloride.

Even so, the wipes that do pass muster should only be used on certain surfaces, such as the lid or around the keyboard.

While some sources suggest isopropyl alcohol is OK, you run the risk of rubbing the letters off your keyboard (if they’re printed on), so be careful when giving it a clean.

As for the screen, it’s just not worth the risk. Apart from purpose-made LCD wipes, the age-old combo of a tiny amount of dish-washing liquid and warm water will see you through. The issue with using wipes designed for cleaning plastic or windows is that they often contain ammonia, which won’t do your delicate screen much good.

Note that brands such as Windex do offer actual wipes for computer screens, but then, you’re less likely to find those just lying around in the kitchen.

In the end, it comes down to how much you’re willing to invest in the upkeep of your notebook. If you’ve spent a couple of grand on it, you shouldn’t feel too bad about spending $10 for proper cleaning supplies.

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