How to Clean Your Laptop Without Damaging It

How to Clean Your Laptop Without Damaging It

Laptops don’t take long to get grimy, and that grime can get in everywhere—from the exterior shell, to the screen, to the keyboard and the ports. The laptop that goes with you, collects dust (and crumbs, and oils from your hands) with you.

Chances are, your laptop is quite a bit dirty if you look closely enough. But cleaning it up, and making it look all fresh, won’t take nearly as long as you think. All you need is a cloth, some rubbing alcohol, and an air duster.

What you need before you clean your laptop

Here’s what you should gather before you start cleaning your laptop.

  • First, a lint-free cloth, a microfiber cloth, works best here.
  • 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol is the best liquid to use as it evaporates almost instantly, and there’s little to no risk of damaging the laptop’s internals when you’re cleaning the ports or the keyboard.
  • An air duster will come in really handy. You can use a generic can of compressed air, but you’re better off using a cordless electric air duster that comes with different bristles for cleaning, is not as harsh as a can of compressed air, and will last a lot longer as well.

And, of course, before you begin, please turn off your laptop and remove the power cord.

How to clean your Apple MacBook laptop

Apple suggests you use a damp lint-free cloth to clean your MacBook’s exterior. It doesn’t have to be Apple’s own polishing cloth—it can be any microfiber cloth.

Apple suggests cleaning the MacBook’s screen using only a dampened (with water) cloth. Dampen a clean cloth and wipe the screen, and that’s all it should take. And remember: damp, not dripping wet. The goal is to not get any moisture in any openings. Never spray liquid directly on the computer.

If there are smudges that won’t go, or fingerprints or marks that are tough to get out, you can use a 70% solution of isopropyl alcohol, and use that to gently wipe the display or the exterior of the MacBook.  Don’t use aerosol sprays, solvents, abrasives, or cleaners containing hydrogen peroxide, which might damage the finish of the MacBook.

Credit: Sparkling & Beyond

Apple does not offer instructions on cleaning the ports, or the air vents that are behind the hinges of some MacBooks. Here, using an air duster that we mentioned above will be helpful. You’re going to blow compressed air in the vents and the ports—just make sure that you do it at a distance so that you don’t push dust into the ports.

How to clean Dell, HP, or other Windows laptops

The instructions for cleaning a Windows laptop are similar. Companies like Dell and HP suggest you use a mixture of 70% isopropyl alcohol for most of the cleanup. And you should pair it with a microfiber cloth that is damp (not dripping wet). Spray the solution on the cloth, and not the laptop.

You can use this mixture and the cloth to clean the exterior of the laptop, the screen, and the keyboard as well. Because isopropyl alcohol dries up quickly, it won’t cause issues with the internals.

The rest of the job can be handled using the air duster. Use compressed air to remove debris or gunk that stuck in the spaces between the keys. You can also use the air duster on the ports and the vents on the back of your laptop.

Keep the isopropyl alcohol, the microfiber cloth, and the air duster handy so you can clean your laptop every couple of weeks.

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