How to Properly Clean Your Laptop-Inside and Out

Ever hear the fan in your laptop making funny noises? Is your system beginning to run slower? Does the bottom of the case feel hotter than when it was new? Does the screen need cleaning? If so, follow these tips to keep the inside and outside of your laptop clean and running faster and smoother.

Cleaning the screen

The LCD screen on your laptop needs to be cleaned periodically. Dust and everything else that floats in the air will be attracted to the exterior of the screen. Make sure that the power is off to the unit. Use a clean water dampened lint-free cloth to gently wipe any light debris from the surface. DO NOT USE ANY CHEMICAL CLEANERS. If necessary, you can purchase a LCD screen cleaning kit that has a very mild cleaner and cloth included. This will work on flat screen rear projection TV’s as well.

Cleaning the keys

With the power still off on the laptop, use a clean lint free cloth with a mild window cleaner. DO NOT USE BLEACH OR ANY CLEANER WITH MADE FROM ORANGES. Spray the cleaner on the cloth, not the keys. Gently wipe each key until clean. Let the keys dry for about 20 minutes before turning the laptop on.

Removing the dust from the laptop-the right way

When you can see dust and hair in or on the vents on the bottom and sides of the case, you can bet there is more inside the laptop. The only way to get it all out is to open the case. Don’t attempt to blow it out from the outside. This will only clog it up inside the case. All laptop cases will come apart fairly easily. There are several small screws that hold the case together. There will probably be little rubber or plastic caps covering screws that hold the display on. Most all cases will be disassembled from the bottom. Make sure that the power cord and battery are removed before starting. Remove the hard drive and place in a secure place out of the way. DO NOT USE MAGNETIC SCREWDRIVERS OR CORDLESS TOOLS. When the case is completely apart, you will see the ‘dust bunnies’ hiding near the case cooling fan and cpu cooling heat sink. Remove large pieces with a pair of tweezers. Compressed air in a can will work well to blow out the dust on and around the motherboard and keys. Be sure to hold the case upright when using air in a can. If the can of air is tilted downward when spraying, the gas inside will become a liquid. This will damage the components inside the laptop. When reassembling the laptop, be sure to use the right screws in the right places. Some screws are longer than others, and need to be used where they were originally. Pay particular attention to any ribbon cables and their connectors. The keyboard and mouse pad will use this. Make sure that the compression or wedge connectors are tight before proceeding to the next step. You don’t want to have to open the case again until it is time to clean it again. When you are finished, your laptop will be as good as new.

Cleaning your laptop is easier than you think. If you don’t think you can handle it alone, then take it to a computer repair shop. But when you get the bill, you may think about doing it yourself. Either way, it will need to be cleaned to preserve the processor and hard drive of the laptop, and the investment you have in your personal computer. You maintain your vehicle with the best of care, so do the same for your laptop. You’ll be glad you did.

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