Buying a gadget is very easy. But maintaining it to the point its usability crosses the price you paid is the hardest part. This is the reason why brands make delicate gadgets these days, especially laptops, so it becomes harder to maintain and easier for you to buy another one soon.
To win this game, you need to gain the advantage of the cleaning and maintaining your laptop and every part of it. This article is going to help you out by answering what to clean, how to clean, and when to clean a laptop’s different portions. It tells you how to change a dirty, damp laptop into a new, smooth notebook that can even be sold as a refurbished product.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|General laptop cleaning tips|
Requirements to clean a laptop
How to clean different parts of a laptop
Fan & Cooling System
Keyboard and Touchpad
Dos and Don’ts
This is how you clean a laptop, period.
Just kidding, just kidding😂. That’s an illustration showing why you need to know how to clean a laptop, as there are certain steps that we take, most of the times, that actually do damage not less than washing it by the sink. Which is why here are a few guidelines to consider-
- TURN OFF THE LAPTOP: You wouldn’t want to get any liquid even near the keyboard as well as the screen when the laptop’s circuit is working. There is a tiny chance of short-circuiting. You shouldn’t even settle for the ‘sleep’ option since activity on keys and trackpad trigger the laptop on again.
- DISCONNECT: The same case of liquids goes with already connected chips, pen-drives, charging cables and even headsets. Cleaning liquids can even make the already existing dirt smudgy, as a result, stick the dirt to the surface more. So, it is better if you remove every connection before the cleaning process.
- HANDLING DELICATE PARTS WITH DELICACY: It is advisable to not use too much force while cleaning parts such as ports and internals. They aren’t as tough as the body, which is deemed to be strong and tough.
A lot of laptop vendors (offline) offer laptop cleaning kits with the package as a part of the sale. Some of us even buy really costly kits that eventually end up being stored back in the closet. To clean a laptop from top to bottom, you need basic cleaning material which is usually available at homes and can be bought cheaply. Here are those basic components-
Microfiber cloths are scientifically engineered pieces of cloth that act as a hygienic and dry alternative for cleaning surfaces without the usage of detergents and soaps. They clean vast areas in the fastest way possible. Due to a vast array of tiny fibres, the smallest pieces of dust can be wiped off with a single action. Which is why they are very useful for screens and some laptop lids that are rougher than the others.
Besides being used in beverages, syrups and industries, alcohol is one of the best cleaning liquids which is used and approved by professionals. If mixed with a proportion of water, you can clean not only a laptop screen or chassis but clothing materials such as bags and covers as well.
Air cans aren’t just a special necessity for laptop cleaning, they can be used for tons of appliances as well as areas that want to be cleaned and cannot be reached by normal clothes brushes, etc. As far as laptops are concerned, canned air is super helpful while blowdrying dust off of the fan as well as internals that cannot be cleaned with water.
Although cotton isn’t just a normal cleaning fibre and there is nothing special about it, the widely used cotton swabs (earlier used as ear cleaning buds) are useful to clean USB ports, Headphone jacks, VGAs and almost every other port that a laptop has. They are long, bendable sticks with soft cotton-ends which decreases the chances of them breaking and getting stuck into ports.
NOTE: You might be thinking about straightaway buying a laptop cleaning kit with all advanced tools. It seems like a good idea at first but since the tools are made especially for laptop cleaning, they aren’t useful anywhere else and ironically, eat dust for the rest of the year. Instead you can buy basic things like alcohol, brushes and cotton swabs that have numerous uses out of just laptop cleaning so that you can get full value out of a product you purchased
Every part of a laptop requires a different kind of attention and tools to clean them. Some work well without any liquid, some take effort to reach. Which is why here are the processes to clean the major portions of every laptop.
A screen is the most important part of a laptop, that needs to be frequently cleaned and wiped off as its surface gets mud, dust, smudge and moisture very easily. It’s also a delicate part that is prone to multiple problems if you try to clean it wrongly using liquids. Here is the procedure to clean a laptop using a Microfiber cloth, brushes and cleaning alcohol:
- FIRST: Open up the laptop screen. Make sure to power it off before doing anything else. Then take a small- bristled brush (a toothbrush works well) and brush off the dry freckles of dirt using it.
- SECOND: Make sure to wipe it off of the bezels so that the dirt doesn’t stick to them. For the remaining smudgy blots of mud, it is best to use a liquid such as cleaning alcohol.
- THIRD: Take the cleaning alcohol and apply it on a Microfiber cloth and use the wet cloth to clean the major portions of the screen.
- FOURTH: Don’t apply any liquid near the bezels, or it will cause damage to the circuits that the bezel encloses.
- LAST: Let the screen dry for a while.
Every laptop needs a cooling system or a fan (as we like to call it) installed in its internals, which is then connected to the air vents on either of its sides. It saves your laptop from overheating (without it the laptop would burn your lap), producing irrelevant noises and crashing at the end.
You probably didn’t clean your laptop fan at all since you bought your laptop unless you’re a tech enthusiast who has enough knowledge to not be scared of wires and chips. Most laptop users don’t clean their laptop’s cooling system, but it is more than important to clean the fan at least once a year. Here are a few reasons why:
- There is a correlation between the speed of your laptop’s CPU & GPU and the condition of the fan. Both of them produce heat that the fan releases out.
- An uncleaned cooling system can cause a fire! Yes, you read that right. If air vents and the fan get blocked by dirt, they aren’t able to release heat that gets trapped. Excess of that heat can raise the laptop’s temperature to such an extent that any cloth touching it can start burning.
- the dust can spread to other internals as well. Moisture, wind, etc. entering the air vents can cause the dry dust stuck on the fans to become mud and affect other chips and internals as well.
Since we know that cleaning the fan and in fact, the whole internal cooling system is something of an underrated and ironically, the most important part of the whole laptop cleaning procedure, here are the steps to be taken to clean the fan cautiously:
- FIRST: Remove the lid carefully taking the screws out using a screwdriver. There you will see chips, wires, SSD, HDD and the important target, the cooling system which consists of a fan and the air vents.
- SECOND: Before straight away reaching for the fan, first remove all the dust spread around the internal motherboard and chips using a medium-sized paintbrush.
- THIRD: This is the time to clean the main component, i.e., the fan. First, unscrew the fan and remove the furry dust manually using your hands (yes it is that big enough if you haven’t ever cleaned your laptop fan) and brush the remaining dust off.
- FOURTH: If you still see some dust crumbs left, and cannot clean them using gentle brushing, feel free to use an air can and blow the leftover dust. Do not use any liquid in the process of cleaning the internals! That would be like inviting issues to damage your laptop by yourself.
- FIFTH: Afer assembling the fan after cleaning it, it is the time to clean any blockage in the vents. Pump a few sprays of air outwards from the vents and you’re good to go. Close the lid and tighten the screws.
We interact with a laptop through keyboards and touchpads. They are bound to get attract dirt, crumbs and smudge from our hands. The problem is that they are as fragile as dirt-prone they are. Here’s how to clean both portions:
- FIRST: First of all, you need to clean the dry pieces of dirt meddling between the keys. A toothbrush is the best thing you can use to do that. Even small paintbrushes work the same.
- SECOND: Take the toothbrush and gently remove the dirt by brushing it off sideways. Don’t be scared if something gets inside the keys. Most laptops have scissor mechanisms that withhold a lot more damage than just dirt (it’s bad news if you are using Apple Macbook keyboards that have butterfly mechanisms).
- THIRD: For leftover dirt, rub some alcohol on a cloth (any cloth) or spray some of it directly. It’s the best practice to let the liquid rest for a few seconds.
- LAST: After that, wipe all of it using the cloth and wait for the keys to dry.
- FOR TOUCHPADS- repeat the same process if you use keypads that have defined buttons. For laptops that have non-defined buttons, you need not use a brush.
Different laptop lids have different ways of cleaning them, depending primarily on the design and texture. There are several types of laptop lids, major include the smooth plastic and aluminium ones, brushed-texture lids and the rarest and hardest to clean of all, the rough-textured lids (mostly available with low-quality laptops). Here’s how to clean the different types of lids:
- Smooth/brushed aluminium/plastic: You can use rubbing alcohol to remove most of the stains of smooth aluminium as well as plastic. Apply it on the lid directly and use a piece of cotton cloth or a napkin simply to clean the excess liquid and dirt away.
- Rough-texture plastic: Most of the laptops don’t use these kinds of lids nowadays but if you happen to have one, there is a high chance that you might have encountered white pieces of dirt stuck between crests that can’t be cleaned with just a liquid or a simple cloth. Which is why a microfiber cloth is required for cleaning such kind of lids. Use a microfiber cloth instead of a normal napkin to get the best results for rough surfaces.
Ports inside a laptop include USBs, headphone jack, LAN, VGA, charging and other necessary connectors. If these ports are kept uncleaned for long periods of time, they eventually stop functioning the way they used to. Here’s how you remove dust out of the laptop ports:
- FIRST: For cleaning such small openings, where simple brushes and cloths cannot reach properly, you can always use the perfect alternative in the form of cotton swabs. Take either end of a cotton swab and move it around the port.
- SECOND: Continue the same procedure for all other ports. Make sure not to apply too much force. If you don’t want to take chances, just use an air can instead.
✔ Clean your laptop timely, at least once a year
✔ Apply liquids like alcohol and multisurface cleaners on the external hardware
✔ Clean all the external surfaces with a dry cloth before the process
✔ Use microfiber cloth for cleaning intricate places like the screen
✔ Refer to a cleaning guide online or ask an expert if anything unusual happens
❌ Store a laptop at dust prone places without plastic or cloth cover
❌ Apply cleaning liquids on the internal hardware
❌ Smear too much force on the fragile parts
❌ Switch the laptop on before or during the cleaning process
❌ Try to re-attach anything without prior expertise
We hope that you would have understood the cleaning procedure and all the rights to be done and wrongs to be prevented while cleaning a laptop. The whole process is lengthier and more valuable than it seems, as now you know both how to maintain your laptop as well as revamp on externally.