Tips to clean your laptop. Photo: Laptop Mag
Tips to clean your laptop. Photo: Laptop Mag

As we’re all stuck indoors and working from home, there are likely a lot of you relying on your trusty laptops to get everything done. Whether you’re working from home, sitting in on a Zoom conference call, or just having some well-earned digital time with family and friends, laptops can be a lifesaver at a time like this, said The Next Web.

But your laptop can quickly become a breeding ground of nastiness, depending on how much you handle it. Given that we’re all trying hard not to get sick right now, keeping it clean can help keep you from having anything festering under your fingertips. So here’s how you disinfect your laptop.

Products to Use

  • Two-in-one: Flawless Screen Cleaner Spray with Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

  • For a deeper clean: Scrub Daddy

  • Use just a little: Deer Park Brand Distilled Water

  • Quick solution: Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack

Areas to Clean

Photo: Make Tech Easier
Photo: Make Tech Easier

The cleaning process for a laptop, tablet or other mobile devices should encompass the following areas:

Keyboards: The keyboard likely receives the most contact from fingers, which is why this part deserves close attention during cleaning.

Screens: Take a close look at any kids' computer screen and you're bound to see an assortment of fingerprints and smudges, especially on models with touch screens.

Cases: The cases that hold and protect the devices can accumulate dirt and germs. Depending on the material, you can often clean a case by hand-washing it with dish detergent and lukewarm water.

Accessories: Kids also handle accessories like charging cords and styluses, as well as mice and mouse pads, if your school supplies these. You can clean most of these with disinfectant wipes.

How to Disinfect a Tablet, Macbook or Ipad: Steps to Follow

Use this process to safely and effectively clean and sanitize the mobile devices in your schools:

  1. Power down and disconnect: Turn off the machine and unplug it from the electrical outlet or power strip. Unplug monitors or any other components connected to the unit. Remove the battery from the back of the computer.

  2. Shake out debris: Turn the laptop upside and give it a gentle shake to allow large chunks of material to fall out. Be careful not to shake it severely or repeatedly, as this could damage the internal components.

  3. Remove the remaining dirt and grime: Hold a can of compressed air approximately 6 inches above the keyboard and spray around the edges of each key to dislodge debris. Use tape to remove hard-to-reach materials.

  4. Sanitization: To sanitize the keyboard, use a disinfectant wipe or microfiber cloth dampened with water and alcohol and wipe the top and sides of each key, as well as the touchpad and surrounding surface areas.

  5. Computer screen: To clean the device's screen, start by wiping it with another damp microfiber cloth to remove dust, fingerprints and smudges. Sanitize the screen by wiping it with a fresh disinfectant wipe or water-rubbing alcohol combination.

  6. Outside and accessories: Use the same process to clean and sanitize the back and bottom of the laptop and accessories. Use a microfiber cloth to remove dust followed by wiping with a disinfectant wipe or water and alcohol.

  7. Case: Cases play the most important part in keeping your device clean and safe. Clean and sanitize the case for your device, and then put the case on! Ensure your device is protected and invest in a case, whether you need a Chromebook case, laptop case, Macbook case or tablet case.

Make sure that all cleaned areas are completely dry before reinserting the battery, reconnecting the components, plugging in the device and turning on the power, noted HG Gear.

More tips on how to clean your laptop

Photo: The Spruce
Photo: The Spruce

A note on the various degrees of cleaning: Some laptop users may only be able to sanitize their screen, which the CDC defines as "[lowering] the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level," due to commercial cleaners containing certain chemicals. Others, depending on the kind of screen they use, may be able to completely disinfect the surface, which "kills germs on surfaces or objects" entirely, and "further lower the risk of spreading infection" overall, said Good Housekeeping.

Remember: Like any other device, you never want to spray a cleaning agent directly on the screen — it could seep into the cracks and crevices of your laptop, Forte says. "You want to make sure that no excess water, cleaner, or liquid gets inside your laptop. Always spray a cloth first if you are trying to use aerosols or sprays."

Can I use water and soap to clean my laptop screen?

If you have a PC laptop that's loaded with a regular LCD screen, you should not use disinfecting wipes, because manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard say that active ingredients found in both Clorox and Lysol wipes could damage your screen. This HP customer support web page explains why: "Do not use any of the following chemicals or any solutions that contain them: Acetone, ethyl alcohol, toluene, ethyl acid, ammonia, or methyl chloride," it reads. "Plastic and glass cleaners containing ammonia may leave a glare-causing film…"

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