Computer cleaning information and steps

Cleaning the computer and its components


Computer Hope

Cleaning your computer, components, and peripherals assist keep everything in good working condition, helps foreclose germs from spreading, and helps let proper air flow. The motion picture shows a good example of how dirty the inside of your calculator case can go. Looking at this picture show information technology’s immediately obvious that all the grit and dirt is going to foreclose proper air menses and may even prevent the fan from working.

How often should I clean my computer?

The frequency of how oft to clean your computer varies on dissimilar factors. To assist you determine how ofttimes you need to clean your computer, we created the checklist below. Check each of the boxes below that apply to your computer’s conditions to assist make up one’s mind how often to clean the computer.

General cleaning tips

Below are suggestions to follow when cleaning any computer components or peripherals and tips to help continue a computer clean.

  1. Never spray or squirt whatsoever liquid onto any figurer component. If a spray is needed, spray the liquid onto a cloth.
  2. You lot tin can apply a vacuum to suck up clay, dust, or hair around the estimator. Withal,
    do not
    utilize a vacuum within your computer every bit information technology generates static electricity that damages your figurer. If you need to use a vacuum inside your estimator, employ a portable battery powered vacuum or effort compressed air.
  3. When cleaning a component or the estimator, plough information technology off before cleaning.
  4. Be cautious when using whatsoever cleaning solvents; some people have allergic reactions to chemicals in cleaning solvents, and some solvents can even harm the example. Try always to use water or a highly diluted solvent.
  5. When cleaning, exist careful to not accidentally adapt whatever knobs or controls. Also, when cleaning the back of the computer, if anything is connected make sure non to disconnect the plugs.
  6. When cleaning fans, especially smaller fans, concur the fan or place something in-between the fan blades to prevent it from spinning. Spraying compressed air into a fan or cleaning a fan with a vacuum may cause harm or generate a back voltage.
  7. Never eat or drink around the calculator.
  8. Limit smoking around the computer.

Although estimator cleaning products are available, you can as well use household items to clean your reckoner and its peripherals. Below is a list of items you may need or want to use while cleaning your computer.

  • Cloth
    – A cotton fabric is the best tool used when rubbing down calculator components. Paper towels can be used with most hardware, only we always recommend using a cloth whenever possible. Nonetheless, but use a material when cleaning components such as the case, a drive, mouse, and keyboard. Don’t use a cloth to clean any circuitry such as the RAM or motherboard.
  • H2o or rubbing alcohol
    – When moistening a fabric, it is best to use h2o or rubbing booze. Other solvents may exist bad for the plastics used with your computer.
  • Portable Vacuum
    – Sucking the dust, dirt, pilus, cigarette particles, and other particles out of a computer can be one of the best methods of cleaning a computer. However, do not use a vacuum that plugs into the wall since it creates lots of static electricity that damages your estimator.
  • Cotton wool swabs
    – Cotton swaps moistened with rubbing alcohol or water are excellent tools for wiping difficult to reach areas in your keyboard, mouse, and other locations.
  • Foam swabs
    – Whenever possible, it is amend to use lint-costless swabs such as foam swabs.


See our computer tools page for a listing of other tools every technician should have.

Example cleaning

Cleaning your case keeps the appearance of the computer looking new. While cleaning, if you see ventilation slots, these tin exist cleaned or cleared to help go on a steady airflow into the computer and keep all components cool.

The plastic example that houses the PC components can be cleaned with a slightly damp lint-free textile. For stubborn stains, add a little household detergent to the fabric. Don’t use a solvent cleaner on plastics.

Make sure all vents and air holes are hair and lint-free by rubbing a fabric over the holes and vents. It is also helpful to take a vacuum effectually each of the hole, vents, and crevices on the computer. Information technology is safe to use a standard vacuum when cleaning the exterior vents of a computer.

If you lot are looking for steps on cleaning the inside of the computer, encounter the motherboard cleaning department.

  • Estimator case (chassis) help and support.

CD-ROM, DVD, and other disc drive cleaning

A muddy CD-ROM drive or other disc drives can crusade read errors when reading discs. These read errors could crusade software installation bug or problems while running the program.

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To clean the CD-ROM drive, we recommend purchasing a CD-ROM cleaner from your local computer retailer. Using a CD-ROM cleaner should sufficiently clean the CD-ROM light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation from dust, dirt, and hair.

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Y’all tin also utilise a cloth dampened with water to clean the tray that ejects from the drive. Notwithstanding, make sure that after the tray is cleaned that it completely dry before putting the tray back into the drive.

Run into the disc cleaning recommendation for further steps on cleaning each of your CDs.

  • CD-ROM aid and support.

CD, DVD, and other discs cleaning

Dirty CDs can cause read errors or cause CDs not to work at all.

Use a cleaning kit or damp clean cotton cloth to clean CDs, DVDs, and other discs. When cleaning a disc wipe against the tracks, starting from the middle of the disc and wiping towards the outer side. Never wipe with the tracks; doing and so may put more scratches on the disc.

Cleaning a CD and DVD, and other disc directional cleaning


If the substance on a CD cannot exist removed using water, pure booze can also be used.

Difficult drive cleaning

Computer hard drives cannot exist physically cleaned. However, they tin be cleaned with software utilities to assistance information technology run fast and efficiently. Utilizing these utilities preclude the hard drive from slowing down.

See our bones troubleshooting department for your operating system steps to aid improve the figurer’s performance.

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  • Hard drive aid and back up.

Headphones cleaning

Headphones and headsets can be used by many different people and may demand to be frequently cleaned to help prevent the spreading of germs and caput lice.

If the headphones are plastic or vinyl, moisten a cloth with warm water and rub the head and earpieces of the headphones.


Library or school headphones should not be cleaned with any disinfectant or cleaning solvent since some people can have allergic reactions to the chemicals they contain.

Headphones that have cushions also have the availability of having the cushions replaced. Replacing these cushions can too help keep the headphones clean.

Finally, in regards to headphones spreading head lice. If different students use the same headphones, have students apply their own headphones, place bags over the headphones, or using headphones that can be wiped with warm water afterward each use.

Keyboard cleaning

These steps are for cleaning a desktop keyboard. For laptops, see: How do I make clean my laptop?

Dust, dirt, and bacteria

Dirt and hair under a keyboard key

The estimator keyboard is ordinarily the most germ infected items in your domicile or office. A keyboard may even incorporate more than bacteria than your toilet seat. Cleaning it helps remove whatsoever unsafe leaner, fix or forestall stuck keys, and keeps the keyboard working properly.

Before cleaning the keyboard, first plow off the computer or if you are using a USB keyboard unplug it from the calculator. Not unplugging the keyboard can cause other computer issues as you lot may press keys that cause the computer to perform a task yous practice not desire information technology to perform.

Many people clean the keyboard past turning it upside downwardly and shaking. A more efficient method is to use compressed air. Compressed air is pressurized air contained in a can with a very long nozzle. To clean a keyboard using compressed air, aim between the keys and blow away all the dust and debris. A vacuum cleaner can also be used, simply make sure the keyboard does not have loose “pop off” keys can be sucked up by the vacuum.

If yous want to clean the keyboard more extensively, remove the keys from the keyboard.

  • How do I remove the keys on a keyboard?

After the dust, dirt, and hair are removed. Spray a disinfectant onto a cloth or utilize disinfectant cloths and rub each of the keys on the keyboard. Equally mentioned in our general cleaning tips, never spray whatever liquid onto the keyboard.

Substance spilled into the keyboard

If the keyboard has anything spilled on it (e.g., popular, cola, Pepsi, Coke, beer, wine, java, and milk), not taking the proper steps tin destroy the keyboard.

Below is recommendations that aid forbid a keyboard from becoming bad after something has spilled into the keys.

If anything is spilled onto the keyboard, plough the computer off immediately or at the very least disconnect the keyboard from the computer. Once done flip the keyboard over to forbid the substance from penetrating circuits. While the keyboard is upside downwards, shake the keyboard over a surface that can be cleaned afterwards. While still upside down, utilise a cloth to start cleaning the keys. After the keyboard is cleaned, leave the keyboard upside down for at least two days allowing it to dry out. Once dry out, go along cleaning the keyboard with any remaining substance.

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If, after cleaning the keyboard keys are sticking, remove the keys and clean below the keys and the bottom portion of the central.

Finally, if the keyboard all the same works but remains dirty or gluey before discarding the keyboard as a terminal resort endeavour washing the keyboard in the dishwasher.

  • Can you clean a computer keyboard in a dishwasher?

If, after doing all the in a higher place steps the keyboard still does not work, we recommend buying a new keyboard.

  • Keyboard assist and support.

LCD/LED cleaning

Dirt, dust, and fingerprints can cause the figurer screen to be hard to read.

Unlike a CRT computer monitor, the LCD or LED monitor is not glass and requires special cleaning procedures.

When cleaning the LCD or LED screen, it is important to remember to not spray any liquids onto the screen directly. Press gently while cleaning and do not apply a paper towel since it can scratch the screen.

To clean the LCD or LED screen, employ a not-rugged microfiber cloth, soft cotton fiber cloth, or Swiffer squeegee. If a dry fabric does not completely clean the screen, you can employ rubbing alcohol to the material and wipe the screen with a clammy cloth. Rubbing alcohol is used to clean LCD and LED monitors before it leaves the factory.

  • Monitor, LCD, and display assistance and back up.

CRT monitor cleaning

Dirt, dust, and fingerprints can cause the computer screen to be difficult to read.

A glass monitor screen can be cleaned with ordinary household glass cleaner. Unplug the monitor ability string and spray the cleaner onto a lint-complimentary material to foreclose fluid from leaking into any components inside the monitor. Vacuum off any grit that settled on elevation of the monitor and make sure no books or papers are roofing the air vents. Obstructed monitor vents can cause the monitor to overheat or even catch on fire.


We suggest only using a cloth dampened with water when cleaning non-drinking glass monitors or whatsoever anti-glare screens. Using ordinary household glass cleaner on special screens, specially cleaners with ammonia, tin remove anti-glare protection or other special surfaces.

Other skilful cleaning solutions

  • Microfiber Towels
  • Swiffer Dusters

Related data

  • Monitor, LCD, and display aid and support.

Motherboard cleaning

Dust and especially particles of cigarette smoke can build up and corrode circuitry, causing various problems such every bit figurer lockups.


When within the calculator, accept the necessary ESD precautions and try to avoid unplugging any cables or other connections.

Our recommendation when cleaning the motherboard from dust, dirt, or hair is to employ compressed air. When using compressed air, hold information technology upright to prevent any of the chemicals from coming out of the container, which may damage the motherboard or other components. Too, ensure when using compressed air that you always blow the grit or dirt away from the motherboard or out of the case.

Another good alternative to compressed air is a portable bombardment powered vacuum. Portable vacuums tin can effectively remove the dust, dirt, and hair from the motherboard completely and prevent it from getting trapped in the case.

  • Motherboard help and support.


Never use an electrically powered vacuum, equally information technology tin cause static electricity that damages the figurer. When using a battery powered vacuum, keep it a few inches away from components to prevent damage and anything from being sucked into the vacuum (e.g., jumpers).


When cleaning the inside of the instance, as well wait at any fans or heat sinks. Dust, dirt, and hair can collect around these components the most.

Mouse cleaning

Optical or light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation mouse

A dirty optical or light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation mouse can cause the mouse cursor to be difficult to motion or movement erratically.

Apply a tin of compressed air that is designed for use with electronic equipment, spraying around the optical sensor on the lesser of the mouse. Blowing air on the lesser of the mouse clears abroad any dirt, grit, pilus, or other obstructions blocking the optical sensor.

Avoid using any cleaning chemicals or wiping a textile directly on the optical sensor, as it could scratch or damage the optical sensor.

Optical-mechanical mouse (ball mouse)

A dirty optical-mechanical mouse (mouse with a brawl) tin can cause the mouse to exist difficult to motility, and cause foreign mouse movement.

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Rotate bottom of the mouse cover

To clean the rollers of an optical-mechanical mouse, you must outset remove the bottom cover of the mouse. To practise this, examine the bottom of the mouse to see what management to rotate the cover. Every bit y’all tin encounter in the below illustration, the mouse comprehend must be moved counterclockwise. Identify two fingers on the mouse cover, button downwardly and rotate in the management of the arrows.

Once the cover has rotated nearly an inch, rotate the mouse into its normal position, covering the bottom of the mouse with 1 hand. The bottom should and then fall off, including the mouse ball. If the cover does not fall off, try shaking the mouse gently.

Computer mouse with ball removed

In one case the bottom embrace and the ball is removed, three rollers should be visible inside the mouse. Utilise a cotton fiber swab, finger, or fingernail to remove whatever substances on the rollers. Unremarkably, there is a small-scale line of hair and dirt in the middle of the roller. Remove as much of this substance equally possible.

Once you lot accept removed every bit much dirt and hair as possible, set the brawl back in the mouse and place the cover dorsum on.

If the mouse still has the same problems, repeat the above process. If, after several attempts the mouse is even so having the same problems, your mouse has other hardware issues and should be replaced.


Cleaning your mouse pad with a damp cloth can likewise help improve a computer’s mouse move.

All types of mice

To aid go along the mouse clean and germ-costless.

Use a textile moistened with rubbing alcohol or warm water and rub the surface of the mouse and each of its buttons.

  • Mouse and touchpad assistance and support.

Printer cleaning

Cleaning the outside of a printer helps keep the printer’s appearance looking proficient and if used by many different people keep the printer clean of germs.

Offset, make sure to turn off the printer before cleaning information technology. Dampen a cloth with h2o or rubbing alcohol and wipe the instance and each of the buttons or knobs on the printer. As mentioned earlier, never spray any liquid direct onto the printer.

Some printers require the inside to be cleaned to help keep the printer running smoothly.

  • Printer help and support.

Scanner cleaning

Flatbed scanners commonly go dirty with grit, fingerprints, and pilus. When the scanner is dirty, the images may have distortions.

Make clean a flatbed scanner’s surface by spraying a window cleaner onto a paper towel or cotton fabric and wipe the glass until clean. Equally mentioned earlier, never spray a liquid directly onto the component.

The aforementioned towel or cotton cloth can also be used to clean the outside of the scanner.

  • Scanner help and support.

Miscellaneous cleaning steps

Below is a list of miscellaneous figurer hardware that’due south rarely used today, but kept on this folio people working on older computers and need to clean these devices.

Floppy drive cleaning

Dirty read/write heads on the floppy drive can cause errors during the reading or writing process.

The floppy bulldoze is cleaned two different ways. The first method of cleaning a floppy drive is to purchase a kit at your local retail store designed to clean the read/write heads on your floppy drive.

The second method of cleaning the floppy drive is only recommended for experienced figurer users. Open the floppy drive casing and physically swab the read/write heads with a lint-gratuitous foam swab soaked in pure alcohol or trichloroethane. When performing these steps, be extremely conscientious when cleaning the heads to ensure that you do not lock them out of alignment causing the floppy bulldoze non to work. To help prevent head alignment issues, employ a dabbing motion lightly putting the swab on the caput and removing information technology, don’t perform a side-to-side motion with the swab.

  • Floppy drive help and back up.

Palm pilot cleaning

Muddied bear on screens can cause hard navigation.

To clean the PalmPilot screen, use a soft cloth moistened with rubbing booze and rub the screen and the casing of the palm airplane pilot. It is not recommended to utilise drinking glass cleaner every bit it could harm plastics over time.

SuperDisk and LS-120 cleaning

Cleaning the SuperDisk and LS-120 prevents the drive heads from becoming dirty.

Buy the SuperDisk cleaning kit available through Imation. Using whatsoever other method voids the warranty on your bulldoze.