How to Clean Your Computer


How to Clean Your ComputerThis is your guide on how to clean your computer to keep it looking spotless. Computers collect more than just dust, grimy fingerprints, crumbs, hair, fingernail clippings and other unidentified miniature objects. We’ve heard reports that they have been home for cookies, Batman action figures, spider nests and half a cheeseburger.

The regular procedure for cleaning your computer can be a quick once-over with a vacuum or dust cloth. But it’s a good idea to give it a more thorough cleaning occasionally. Once every three months is sufficient, although you’ll want to clean the screen every month or so. If you’re apprehensive, take it to a professional. If you opt for the at-home treatment to clean your computer, the first step is to make sure the computer is turned off and unplugged.

Cleaning your computer screen if it's a traditional tube monitor: Dust it with a clean cloth or a facial tissue. To remove finger prints, wipe with a slightly damp cloth. Special towelettes, sold at office supply stores, may be used on the screen, but they sometimes leave a soapy film. Try an all-purpose cleaner instead, sprayed on a cloth and then wiped on the screen. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners, because they sometimes leave unsightly streaks.

How to clean your computer flat screen monitor: Use special care. This also applies to the screen on a laptop. First unplug the power supply, then lightly dampen a clean, soft, lint-free cloth (no paper towels or facial tissues on these babies) with water and isopropyl alcohol (not ethyl alcohol). Wipe the screen gently with a back-and-forth motion, never in a circle. Wipe the display case gently with a nonabrasive, soft, dry cloth to pick up dust. And take these precautions to prolong the life of your flat screen: never tap or touch the screen with your pen, finger or other object. And don’t slap sticky notes on your screen.

WATCH OUT: If you have a new flat LCD monitor – or a lap-top – never use products containing acetone, ethyl alcohol, toluene, ethyl acid, ammonia or methyl chloride to clean the screen. They can damage it.

How to clean your computer keyboard: First turn it upside down over a wastepaper basket and give it a good shake. Most crumbs and dust will fall right out. Then vacuum it with your brush attachment. To clean the keys, rub them and the surrounding plastic with a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol. Or purchase a special keyboard cleaner-degreaser. Using a can of compressed air, available at electronic and computer shops, blast away hair, crumbs and dust from between the keys. Rubbing keys with a fabric softener sheet will keep dust-attracting static at bay. A computer duster which attracts dust and can dust inside keyboards can be purchased at computer shops and supermarkets.

WATCH OUT: Don’t use ordinary household spray cleaners on your keyboard. If the liquid gets under the keys, it can damage the keyboard by shorting the contacts under the keys.

How to clean your computer mouse: Unscrew the mouse-ball cover on the bottom and take out the ball. Wipe it down with denatured alcohol, available at hardware stores and pharmacies, on a soft cloth. Remove any dust or fluff inside the mouse-ball socket with your finger. Then, with a cottonwool bud dipped in alcohol, clean the three rollers the ball touches inside the socket.

To clean inside your computer, you can also use compressed air. To open an upright computer, unscrew one side of the case. One side is usually held by screws with knurled heads that you can turn by hand, but on some models you may need to use a screw driver. Don’t touch anything inside that you don’t have to. Keep your fingers away from cards, cords and other parts. And be sure the compressed air wand is at least 10 centimetres from the machine. Blow air into the power supply box (that’s where the power cord enters) and the fan at the back of the case. Then blast a hit of air into the CD and USB disk drives. Before replacing the side, wipe it with a damp cloth. Let it dry before switching it back on.

How to clean your computer equipment exteriors: Simply wipe the outside surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner, sprayed on a soft cloth. Dust can collect in ports where you attach cables. Use the compressed air with wand to blow the ports clean. Or give them a swipe with one end of a cottonwool bud dampened with isopropyl alcohol. Use the other end of the cottonwool swab to dry them.

To clean the glass bed of your scanner, use mild soap or an ordinary glass cleaner without ammonia. (Ammonia cleaners, unnless they’re completely wiped off, leave a film that could make scanned documents look weirdly oily or speckled.) Spray the glass cleaner on to a soft cloth rather than squirting it on the glass itself. Another approach: use denatured alcohol available from hardware stores and pharmacies. If there’s a metal ruler scale along the edge of the glass, avoid getting it wet. That goes for the glue holding it down too. Never use paper towels on your scanner. Even the more expensive types can make fine scratches on optical surfaces. Use soft, lint-free cloths instead. An old cloth nappy or clean T-shirt is perfect.

I hope this guide on how to clean your computer brings you cleaning success!


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