How to clean a dirty Laptop

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Laptops have become an essential part of our lives to the point where for most of us, not a day passes when we don’t have to use it. Be it for watching movies or TV shows, doing college assignments or research or preparing that report your boss has given you to finish over the weekend, we need our laptops. For something so vital, it is important to keep it in the best working order.

While some of us keep the operating system and the programs up to date and delete unnecessary files that take up space, many ignore one thing that, in my opinion, is equally important. Cleaning it.

Admit it, folks. People just don’t seem to be interested in cleaning their laptops. They have drink stains on the lids, fingerprints on the screen and even food crumbs stuck between the keys of the keyboard. I don’t know about you but it makes me cringe hard. Upon asking most of my friends with filthy laptops, the most common excuse I get is that they don’t know how to properly clean it. So today I’ll tell you steps to get that notebook looking shiny as if it’s brand new.

Things you’ll need:

  1. Lint-Free/Microfiber Cloth They are available in most departmental stores. They have the same texture as eyeglasses cleaning cloths (which can also be used). The purpose of this is that these don’t leave scratches. DO NOT use paper towels, tissue papers or any abrasive cloth as they leave scratches.
  2. Distilled/Mineral Water This is preferred over tap water because tap water can leave behind permanent mineral residue stains on your laptop.
  3. Isopropyl Alcohol Also known as “Rubbing Alcohol” is available at most drugstores or even departmental stores. It is used because it evaporates quickly without residue, reducing the risk of short-circuiting in electronic circuits. This is why Ammonia, water, or window cleaner is not recommended as they do not evaporate as fast.
  4. Can of Compressed Air Also available in most departmental stores and supermarkets. It is used to clear dust from hard to reach places.


Now that you’ve gotten everything you will need to:

  • Make a mixture of equal amounts of water and alcohol. This will be your cleaning fluid. Make sure it is stored in a closed container as it can easily evaporate.
  • Switch off your laptop. Unplug it from the mains and (if possible) remove the battery. If something goes wrong, this reduces the risk of the electronics from short-circuiting.
  • Dampen the microfibre cloth with the cleaning fluid to clean. DO NOT spray or apply the cleaning fluid directly on ANY part of the laptop. The cloth should be moist rather than wet.

Places to Clean

  1. Outer Lid Start with the outside. Make sure the lid is closed and gently apply the damped cloth in a circular motion over the case, covering all the spots. This is fairly easy and you will have a fairly newer-looking lid in no time!
  2. Screen Open the lid and start working your way towards the screen using the same cloth (re-moisturized) and do the same as you did with the outer lid. You have to be a little extra gentle as the screen isn’t as robust as the case but repeat the same technique and your screen will be good as new. Also, apply this to the areas surrounding the screen on the inner lid which includes the webcam.
  3. Keyboard Area This is the most crucial part is to be attempted with care. Start by loosening dust and food crumbs by using the air compressor stuck between the keys. After that turn your laptop over and remove the loosened debris by running your hand over the keyboard.

    If your laptop has a spill-proof keyboard, you can pour water over the keyboard and wait for it to dry. Similarly, if the keys are removable then remove them, keeping in mind the order they are placed and wipe the area beneath them with a cotton bud dipped in the cleaning fluid. Either way, make sure you read your laptop’s manual to confirm your laptop has those features before trying to attempt. If they are not mentioned DO NOT try this step.
    Lastly, use the same damp cloth to clean the keyboard and the touchpad area in the same way you cleaned the lid and the screen.

  4. Ports and Vents They are the most overlooked parts while cleaning a laptop but is equally as important. A clogged up air vent may result in your machine overheating while performing simple tasks. Clean the air vents and ports, using the air compressor, in such a way that the dust and debris are pushed away from the internals of the laptop rather than towards it. This is also fairly easy. You just have to be wary of any liquid left over from the previous steps isn’t pushed into the vents or ports while doing this.

There you are! Your laptop is all cleaned up. Just make it is completely dried up before you turn it on and you’re good to go.

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