Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
You probably already know some good reasons for keeping your computer’s internal system clean – better performance, virus protection, more space for your vast collection of cute kitten pictures.
But did you know that real dirt and grime can do as much damage to your PC as the cyber kind? And the harm is not just to your computer – crumbs, dried-up spills and sneeze residue attracts germs that can make you sick too. Clean your computer often and you’ll both feel better.
10. Case the Case
Turn you PC off and let it cool down for at least 30 minutes. Wipe the outside down with a soft lint-free cloth or an anti-static cloth. If the dirt doesn’t come off easily, dampen the cloth with water or rubbing alcohol – any other cleaners or solvents could harm the finish. If it’s a desktop PC, remove the covers carefully and wipe the insides of them down the same way. Do not remove the cover of a notebook PC without first checking to make sure it doesn’t invalidate the warranty.
9. Fan the Fans
Fans and fan vents keep your PC cool, so it’s important to keep them clean and dust-free. Using a can of compressed air, blow the dust out of all of the filters in the case. Next, blow the dust off of all fan blades. Finally, blow the dust off of the internal components. Be careful not to aim the compressed air directly on computer chips and boards as the cold air could damage them.
8. Don’t Forget The Cable Mess
PC cleaning is a good time to organize that snake’s den of cables under your desk. Untangle everything and wipe each down with a soft cloth. Use some tape to label each end for future reference – you may want to consider a cable organizer that will keep them neat and separated.
7. Monitor the Monitor
Monitors and displays attract dust, dirt and fingerprints that can make viewing difficult. Flat-panel, LCD and notebook displays are plastic so a soft or micro-fiber cloth damped with water or rubbing alcohol is all that should be used for cleaning. Be very gentle to avoid pressing on the screen and never use paper towels – they can scratch. If you have an old-style CRT with a glass screen, you can use a cloth dampened with glass cleaner.
6. Chase that Mouse
It’s in your hand all day long – think about it! Besides harboring any germs you pass on to it, a dirty mouse will perform erratically. Wipe it down frequently with an alcohol-dampened cloth making sure to clean the crevices. Check your manual for instructions on how to remove the mouse cover to clean rollers, balls and other internal components. Don’t forget the mousepad – clean it with a cloth or get a new one.
5. Klean the Keyboard
Your PC keyboard knows what you’ve touched, what you’ve smoked, what you’ve spit and what you’ve eaten while working. Always unplug a desktop PC keyboard before cleaning it. Use compressed air to blow particles out from between the keys. Hold the keyboard upside down and shake out loose particles. A cotton swab soaked in alcohol can be used to clean between the keys. Wipe everything else with a dampened cloth. If you have sticky keys, consult your manual for how to remove and replace them.
4. Ditch the CD Dirt
Dirty CD and DVD drives can cause read errors. Electronics stores sell CD-ROM cleaning kits with special cleaning fluids and CDs for removing dust, dirt and hair from the drive. In addition, clean the tray with a damp cloth – be careful not to press down too hard on it and make sure it’s completely dry before closing.
3. Heed the Headphones
If you share headphones, you should always clean them before using. Headphones can be wiped with an alcohol-dampened cloth or cleaned with a cotton swab. Foam pads or ear-bud cushions should be replaced regularly. Better yet, get your pair of headphones, and keep them to yourself.
2. Get the Prints Off The Printer
Computer printers used by many people can get covered with fingerprints and germs, so turn it off and clean the outside often with a damp cloth. A cotton swab with alcohol will clean the buttons and crevices. Never spray any liquid inside a printer – check the manual for instructions on how to clean the inside of dirt, paper particles and paper jams.
1. Clean Your Desk Too
You can cut down the number of times you need to clean your PC by keeping your desk and office clean. Vacuum often, wipe down your desk, eat your lunch someplace else, smoke outside (or better yet – quit) and be a general neatnik – your PC will appreciate it and so will your office mates and family.