Working from home usually requires a laptop computer for portability and productivity. But it doesn’t take long before skin oils, dust, hair and gigabytes of bacteria build up on the device’s exterior, inside the keyboard and on your mouse. Let’s keep your laptop clean and protected during the coronavirus outbreak.
What you’ll need
To clean your computer, you need a compressed air duster purchased from an online store, microfiber cloths, 70% isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs. Apple has updated its recommendations to include Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes as an alternative. Avoid bleach and spray cleaners that can introduce moisture into the computer mechanisms. Power the device down before cleaning.
Dust and hair
When cleaning your computer, start with the insides and work outward. First, use the air canister to blow dust and hair out of the keyboard, vents and ports. Spray the air in short bursts from different angles around the keyboard and port openings to flush out the accumulated gunk.
If the air won’t remove stubborn wads of dust from ports, never try to dig them out with a metal tool that could damage delicate contact pins. Instead, gently use a toothpick or sturdy plastic pick. Don’t dig so hard that the pick breaks off inside.
Wiping down surfaces
Next, clean the outside of your computer. While computer cleaning solutions are available, isopropyl alcohol will clean off finger oils and other grime and also kill viruses and bacteria. Never pour any fluid onto the computer. Instead, apply the alcohol to a microfiber cloth and wring out the excess until the cloth is merely damp. Wipe all surfaces except the screen. Then, dip a cotton swab in alcohol, squeeze out the excess so that the tip is just damp and clean around the edges of all the keys.
Don’t forget the external mouse. Use alcohol on a cloth or a disinfecting wipe to remove skin oils and bacteria on the grip areas.
To clean the screen, first wipe it with a dry cloth. Then wet a microfiber cloth with water, wring it out thoroughly and gently wipe the screen. Never use household cleaning products on a computer screen.
If your computer smells
If your computer has absorbed strong food smells or smoke, a good wipe down with alcohol will remove most, but not all, of the odors. To get rid of any lingering smells, place the computer in an enclosed container with a bamboo charcoal packet and leave it for a day or two.