Is your laptop starting to get dirty? Are the keys starting to stick? Is the screen looking filthy?
If so, that means it’s time to clean your laptop. As we all know, one drop of liquid on your laptop can cause it to completely malfunction. This is why you need to take extra care and precision when cleaning a laptop.
How do you clean a laptop? Check out this guide to learn how to clean your laptop, so it’s looking as good as new in no time.
Start With the Inside
While most of the dirt and grime on your laptop is a cosmetic issue, cleaning the inside is what’s most important. Dust, crumbs, and debris that accumulate inside your laptop can clog the vents, fans, and heat sinks. This can result in overheating and poor overall performance.
This is why cleaning the inside of the laptop is so important. If your laptop opens, begin by powering it down and taking out the battery. Then, unscrew the back panel. But, keep in mind that opening the laptop may void the warranty. If your laptop is past warranty, this isn’t an issue. If you need to clean your laptop to get it working properly, then opening it is really the only option.
Then, use short bursts of compressed air (you can use can-less air or a compressed air can) to move dust from the center of the laptop toward the vents. Next, use gentle bursts of air to push the dust out of the vents. Then, close your laptop up, and you’re done!
If your laptop doesn’t open (which is the case for most modern laptops), power down your computer and push some compressed air in short bursts into your vent. While this will be more of a guessing game than science, it still should help clean out the interior of your laptop.
Be patient, and be careful not to shove the compressed air sticks into the vents. This could cause you to hit a wire or push canned air condensation right against the motherboard.
It’s rare to find anything other than dust and debris on the inside of your laptop. If you do find something that looks like a stain, use a cotton swab to clean it off with 90 to 100% isopropyl alcohol.
Make sure you apply the alcohol to the cotton swab and not the motherboard.
Clean the Keyboard
Once you’ve cleaned the inside of your laptop, it’s time to get after the keyboard. Years of finger grease and small stains can really do a number on your keyboard, so this will likely be the main area of focus.
To clean your laptop keyboard, you’ll need a microfiber cloth, 90%-100% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs, and compressed air. Never use household cleaners to clean your laptop, and don’t try to swap vinegar for alcohol, as it’ll destroy your laptop.
Start by using the microfiber cloth to wipe down the surface of your keyboard. This should pick up most of the dust so you can later focus on removing the grime. You can also use short bursts of compressed air to get out any dust trapped under the keys.
Once you’re done, apply some alcohol to a cotton swab and begin rubbing down your keyboard. Get between the keys, and if you need to, use a dry toothbrush to get into those hard-to-reach areas.
If there are crumbs under your keys, you may want to consider removing the keys to take them out. First, you’ll need to Google to see if your laptop keys are removable. If they are, you can remove them with a small, flat tool such as a guitar pick.
Then, you can go after the crumbs with a cotton swab or some compressed air. If you can’t remove the keys from your laptop, shoot a quick burst of canned air under the dirty keys. Be careful not to go overboard, or you’ll end up with condensation under the keys.
If you have trouble removing debris from your keyboard after all of this, you may want to consider sending it to the manufacturer for repair. Or, you can take it to a local repair shop. If you find out that you need a new laptop, you can find out more from Lenovo.
Clean the Screen
Once you’ve cleaned the keyboard, the hard part is over, and you can move on to cleaning the screen. While it can be tempting to spritz some household cleaner onto your screen, the only thing that should touch your laptop screen is a microfiber cloth.
Even the smallest amount of household cleaner can cause damage to your screen. Plus, microfiber cloths are cheap, so there’s no point in using a substitute.
Before you begin cleaning, prepare the screen by turning off your laptop. Wait until the screen reaches room temperature. If your laptop screen is super dusty, give it a few quick bursts of compressed air. If your screen isn’t noticeably dusty, you can skip the canned air.
After this, take your clean microfiber cloth and gently run it across your screen. Do it in a vertical or horizontal motion- don’t press hard and don’t wipe in a circular motion, as this can cause smudges or scratches.
If you have tough, greasy stains on your laptop, you can lightly dampen your cloth with water and wipe down your screen using the same motion. Remember, the key is to use a small amount of water, as too much water can cause your laptop to go haywire.
Clean Your Laptop Case
No laptop cleaning session is complete without cleaning your laptop case. Unlike your laptop’s keyboard and screen, your laptop case can handle some tough love. Just make sure you avoid using harsh chemicals on your laptop case, as this can cause damage to the material and discoloration.
While you can use a range of products to clean your laptop case, we recommend using a microfiber cloth and white vinegar. Or, you can use isopropyl alcohol or water and a microfiber cloth. Lightly apply the cleaning solution to the cloth and wipe down your laptop case.
Don’t be afraid to apply some elbow grease to the troubled areas. When you’re done, dry off your laptop case with a clean cloth. If your laptop case has some nasty sticker residue, you can apply alcohol to a microfiber cloth and wipe it down.
Clean Out Your Hard Drive
To make sure your laptop is running at peak performance, make a habit of checking how much space is left on your hard drive on a monthly basis. Chances are if your laptop is running slowly, it’s because your hard drive is at capacity.
To free up space on your hard drive, uninstall any unnecessary apps or programs. Also, consider deleting any files that you don’t need. You should then move the rest of your files to Documents, Photos, or Video folders. Deleting will free up space on your hard drive, and moving the rest to other folders will prevent your laptop from slowing down.
We also suggest getting rid of any monster files that are taking up extra storage space. You can search your files by size on a PC. Start by looking through the largest files, and see if there are any you can get rid of.
You can also use the Disk Cleanup Tool to delete any unnecessary operating system files. Windows can recognize these for you and remove the ones you no longer need.
If you can’t store everything on your laptop or desktop, you can also save it to the Cloud. If you have a Mac, you can use iCloud. Otherwise, you can invest in a cloud storage service.
How Often Should You Clean Your Laptop?
As we mentioned, you should be removing files from your hard drive as frequently as possible. We recommend cleaning the external components of your laptop every three to six months.
If you notice a lot of dust following your cleanup, you may want to increase the cleaning frequency to reduce the amount of buildup.
Cleaning a Laptop: Time to Tidy Up Your Digital Life
Now that you’ve read this guide on cleaning a laptop, it’s time to get started. By following the steps above, you’ll have a brand new-looking laptop in no time.
If your laptop still runs slowly after all of this cleanup, we suggest taking it in for repair. It may even be time to consider buying a new laptop. For more laptop cleaning tips and tricks, check back in with our blog.