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Tips for Properly Cleaning Your Computer and Peripheral Devices

September 2, 2011 by Dustin

In our past blog postings we have talked about computer maintenance issues like performing backups, removing unwanted files or programs, and increasing the speed of your computer. In our posts for helpful hints to extending the life of your computer we have also briefly mentioned external conditions that can impact your computer but we have yet to address how to clean the actual PC and its peripheral components.

Keeping your computer and work environment clean is critical to the operations of your system and it can drastically extend the life of your PC. Dust is a common cause of overheating and the deterioration of important computer components. Computers may have advanced significantly but dust and dirt can still present major issues and glitches for internal elements. It is estimated that up to 70% of computer hardware problems can be attributed to dust and improper maintenance. Computers and external equipment should be cleaned routinely in order to prevent unnecessary problems caused by dust.

Although the fans of a computer are vital for the ventilation and cooling of the system they also provide a perfect opening for dust. Along with the cooling fans any small openings on monitors, keyboards, or any other devices are also dust gateways. In short the dust can settle on internal components and prevent the release of heat, causing the computer to short and overheat.

When everyday household items aren’t enough there are many products to choose from that are designed specifically for PC maintenance. Some of the available products include microfiber cleaning clothes, CD/DVD lens cleaners, anti-static monitor wipes, LCD cleaning solutions, aerosol duster, anti-static dust vacuums, wet wipes, and screen protectors.

Basic tips that you should know before cleaning:

  • Clean the area surrounding the computer before cleaning.
  • Always spray the cleaning solutions on a rag first, never apply directly to the computer or monitor.
  • When using compressed air, always hold the can up right.
  • Do not touch any internal CPU component without wearing an anti-static wrist band or using an anti-static mat.
  • Never use a regular vacuum to capture the dust (only use an anti-static computer vacuum).
  • Do not attempt to clean the inside of a computer monitor.
  • Wait to clean the monitor until it is unplugged and cooled down.
  • Unplug the computer before cleaning.
  • Do not touch an LCD screen with your fingers and do not use any unapproved liquid to clean your LCD screen.

The Keyboard:

  • Disconnect the keyboard from the computer and reconnect after completing the following.
  • Hold the keyboard vertically while blowing the keys off with a can of air duster.
  • Use anti-bacterial wipes to wipe the surfaces of the keyboard.
  • Dampen a Q-tip with rubbing alcohol to clean in between keys.
  • Wipe down USB cord with an anti-bacterial wipes.

The Mouse:

  • Disconnect the mouse from the computer and reconnect after completing the following.
  • With an optical or laser mouse you can use a lint free cloth to clean the bottom lens area.
  • You can also use compressed air or a dry Q-Tip to remove the dust from the cracks.
  • Use an antibacterial wipe to clean the top portion and the USB cable.
  • If you still use an older trackball mouse follow the previous steps in addition to removing the bottom plate and wiping the computer mouse ball with a lint-free cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol. Use a Q-tip to clean the inside of the mouse where the mouse ball sits.

The Monitor:

  • Make sure the monitor is turned off and cooled down (Don’t turn it back on until dry)
  • When cleaning an older CRT monitor it is ok to use a regular glass cleaner like Windex just as long as it is applied to a rag and not directly on the monitor.
  • For LCD screens avoid using a cleaner, use either a soft cloth that is dry or lightly dampened with plain water. (Products like KlearScreen can also be used)
  • Use lint free or a lightly dampened cloth to wipe other surfaces and vents.
  • You can also use a can of compressed air or an anti-static vacuum to remove dust from the grooves and vents.
  • Don’t forget to wipe the monitor’s cable and power cords.

The CPU Tower and Fans:

  • Shut down the CPU and remove the power cord from the wall outlet.
  • Remove the power cord and attachment cables.
  • Place your computer tower on a stable platform.
  • Use antibacterial wipes to clean the outside shell.
  • Open the CPU Case. (May need to use a screwdriver)
  • While wearing an antistatic wrist strap that is attached to the metal frame of the CPU tower begin using the compressed air to expel the dust from the case.
  • Try to blow indirectly or gently on the motherboard and slots so not to damage them.
  • Use the compressed air to remove the dust from the power supply and CPU vent.
  • Replace the CPU case and wipe down the power cord.

The Disk Drives:

  • While the CD/DVD tray is open use compressed air to gently clean out the dust. Avoid using too high of a pressure for it may cause damage to internal components.
  • Use a CD/DVD Laser Lens Cleaner to remove the dust from the player’s lens.

CD’s and DVD’s:

  • Use a CD/DVD cleaning kit or you can use a clean soft cotton shirt or rag to remove dust.
  • Always wipe from middle to edge and never in a circular motion.
  • To remove a substance you can use water as well as rubbing alcohol.

USB Connectors and Ports

  • Use compressed air to gently clean USB ports as well as the USB plugs on your peripheral devices.

Battery Contacts

  • Purchase a battery contact cleaner or clean the contact by rubbing them gently with a cotton swab that has been slightly dampened with alcohol. (Avoid applying too much pressure)

These simple tasks should be performed on a routine basis to get the maximum results and prolong the life of your computer. If cleaning of these components is neglected then the dust and dirt will eventually choke out the performance of your machine. Hope these tips will be helpful with keeping your equipment clean.

Thanks for Reading and Have a Great Day!


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One Response to “Tips for Properly Cleaning Your Computer and Peripheral Devices”

  1. nisha says:

    Good post.

    I think it important to properly cleaning computers and peripherals.

    A good Anti-virus program is Kaspersky 2012 for free to keep your computer clean


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Tips for Properly Cleaning Your Computer and Peripheral Devices