Keeping Your Computer Clean

Keeping Your Computer Clean

It may not be the first thing that springs to mind, but keeping your computer clean is an important part of IT Maintenance. But this means more than just wiping down your monitor and keyboard. Below you will find some handy tips on ways that you can keep your computer clean, inside and out.

Exterior Cleaning

The first and most important step before you start any sort of physical cleaning of your device is to power off and unplug all of your equipment. If you do not, there is a chance you could do damage to not only yourself, but the hardware too.

Keyboard

As one of the two most frequently touched areas of your computer, your keyboard is one of the most important pieces of equipment for you to keep clean. We advise adding these two things to your cleaning arsenal to effectively keep your keyboard squeaky clean.

1: Compressed Air

Keyboards are known for attracting dirt and crumbs. We advise using a can of compressed air directed into the space around and under your keys to blow out as much of the dust and crumbs as you can. Prolonged buildup of dirt and grime around and under the keys can result in keys becoming unresponsive.

2: Damp Cloth/Keyboard Cleaning Wipes

The next thing we advise is a damp cloth or keyboard wipe for your keys. Dampen a cloth with isopropyl alcohol and run over all of the keys. If you have a cotton bud you can also dip this in the isopropyl alcohol to clean in between your keyboard keys.

If you do not have access to isopropyl alcohol you could use a very small amount of water. However, be careful that there is not enough water to cause liquid to drop between your keys as this could cause damage.

You can also purchase cleaning wipes designed for these tasks.

Mouse

As another high-touch area it’s also important to keep your mouse clean.

Before you clean your mouse we advise unplugging it or turning off/removing batteries. Similar to your keyboard we advise using a damp cloth with isopropyl alcohol to clean all of the surface areas of your mouse.

If you use a plastic or rubber mouse pad you can clean these with a standard cleaning cloth.  Just be sure that it is completely dry before it’s first use. If you use a fabric mouse pad you can hand wash this in a soap bath or in many cases you will be able to run this through your washing machine. We advise leaving your fabric mouse pad to air dry thoroughly before first use.

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Monitor/Screen

Before you clean your monitor, please be sure to turn off and unplug it. If you are using a laptop please power down your laptop and disconnect it from any power source. We advise starting by cleaning your screen with a dry microfibre cloth. Do not press too hard into the screen as this could cause damage to the display. In many cases this will be more than enough to clean ti to a reasonable level. 

If after cleaning with a dry microfibre cloth you do not see an improvement there are other options. Monitor cleaning cloths are designed with liquid that will not cause damage to your monitor. If you do not have access to these you could use a very damp microfibre cloth, being sure to ring it out thoroughly first so that no water will drip off the cloth or down your monitor. Simply wipe your monitor lightly to remove any further dirt. Then follow up by cleaning with a dry microfibre cloth before turning on.

Desktop

Your desktop may be the one place you may be afraid to go cleaning. However it is one of the most important places to keep clean from dust build-up.

One of the best ways to keep your desktop clean is with compressed air. First, turn your computer off and disconnect it from all connections. Open up the service panel on your computer. Usually, this is one of the side panels on your computer, but in some cases your computer may also have a front service panel.

Then blow compressed air around all of the components making sure to remove dust from around all of the connections & paying extra attention to the fans. Build-up of dust in or around the fans can hamper cooling and damage your device. If you would like to go one step further you can use a very softly bristled anti-static cleaning brush to brush away dust that the compressed air struggles with. Just be sure to not apply too much pressure.

File Organisation

Now that you are done with the physical cleaning it’s time to clean up those files.

A good place to start is your desktop & downloads.  Have a look at your desktop and see if there are any files or icons that can be organised into folders to make them easier to find. Many people are guilty of saving all of their files to their desktop. However, this is not always the best way to organise your files. Storing files in catagorised and clearly labelled folders will, for most people, make files easier to find.  It may also be worth looking into cloud storage for your files so that you can access them from any location and also backup these files. If they are on your desktop and your computer was to stop working are you confident that you have another copy of that file to work from?

Whilst you are doing this it is also good to clean out your downloads folder. Many people will download files and leave them to accumulate over time. Move anything you need to keep to a categorised folder, then delete the rest. 

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