How to clean a laptop computer

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Clean one part or all of your laptop computer

A laptop computer can be a handy tool if you conduct a great deal of business or study that relies on computer and Internet use and you frequently travel. But frequent use of your laptop computer can expose it to dirt, skin oil, dust, and other substances that can interfere with your work.


Knowing how to clean a laptop computer can help you restore the look and possibly the function of your machine.


Consult Your Owner's Manual


First consult your owner's manual, which may explain how to clean a laptop computer of your particular model. If your owner's manual does not address this task or doesn't explain the component which concerns you, you can follow the steps below, which are based on recommendations from various computer manufacturers.


Occasionally a specific product may involve different cleaning procedures than other products by the same company. Following your model's recommendations is always preferable to following general instructions on how to clean a laptop computer.



CD Drive


You will find several techniques online for cleaning your CD/DVD drive. These usually range from using a cotton swab or blowing air to running a cleaning CD. Both Gateway and Dell recommend you clean a disc drive with a special cleaning CD kit. You can buy kits from various manufacturers; each will provide instructions for how to run the cleaning CD. Other methods can actually harm your equipment.


Computer Casework


Laptop computers typically use plastic or aluminum casework to enclose the technical components that power the computer. This casework can accumulate dust. If it's a shiny plastic, it will also show fingerprints and palm smears from the oil in your skin. Manufacturers usually recommend that you clean plastic casework only with a water-dampened cloth. Apple recommends water, an LCD cleaning product, or rubbing alcohol.


You should never use a wet cloth or spray liquids directly onto the laptop computer because liquid can damage the speakers and internal components. And always turn your laptop computer off before you wipe it down.


Laptop Computer Keyboard


Cleaning a laptop keyboard is similar to cleaning a regular keyboard. In this case, however, you won't unplug the keyboard from the computer; you will turn the laptop computer off. You can use a can of compressed air to blow particles out from the cracks between keys. Hold the laptop computer firmly at a 90-degree angle as you work.


To clean the face of the keys, you should use a lightly dampened cloth. Gateway recommends a commercial anti-static cleaner, while Dell recommends water. Once again, don't use a wet cloth, as the moisture may damage your equipment.


LCD Screen


You should turn off your laptop computer before you begin cleaning the LCD screen. Avoid commercial cleaners which contain ammonia or abrasives. Never squirt any solution directly on your LCD screen. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to avoid scratching your LCD screen.


Manufacturers vary on their recommendations here, so once again, consult your owner's manual. Gateway recommends a water-dampened cloth. Others recommend either water or a special LCD screen cleaner. Toshiba allows the use of a household glass cleaner, but unless the documentation for your laptop computer specifically allows this, you should avoid commercial glass cleaners. Some LCD screens employ a special coating that glass cleaners can damage.



Apple, How to Clean Mac Products

Dell, Cleaning Your Computer

Gateway, Cleaning the DVD Drive

Gateway, Cleaning the Keyboard

Gateway, Frequently Asked Questions

Toshiba, How to Clean the Screen of Your Toshiba Notebook Computer

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