How To Keep Your Laptop In Top Shape

by katie George

Foreign particles such as dust, pet hair and dander, cigarette ash, and residue can cut the life of your laptop short. If left unattended, these particles can affect the performance of fans, causing the components to overheat. And we all know what comes after that. If you want to get your money’s worth from your laptop, you’ll have to keep it clean.

Cleaning your laptop should be done at least once a year, as part of your maintenance program. Don’t worry, you won’t have to spend a dime hiring a computer technician or a specialist to do this. Just check your user’s manual and follow these quick tips:

What You’ll Need

Aside from time, patience and steady hands, you’ll need a few cotton swabs, compressed air, cleaning solution, and a soft cleaning cloth, like your old cotton shirts.

Cleaning the Exterior

Use a soft damp cloth to clean the casing – make sure it’s damp, not dripping wet. And use a cotton cloth, keep away from scratchy or abrasive cloths. Also, stick to mild cleaning products for this task, and remember to spray it on the cloth first. Never spray the cleaning agent directly onto the surface of the computer.

The Cooling Vents

You’ll need a can of compressed air and cotton swabs for the cleaning vents. Just be careful not to spray too hard as you might get liquid on the fan blades. Use the swabs to keep the fans in place while you clean it. Don’t spin the fan while cleaning or you could cause it to over spin.

I/O Ports

The I/O ports should only be moved after the vents have been cleaned. Use the swabs to wipe away larger chunks of accumulated dirt. You may use compressed air as well, just be careful not to blow dirt into the ports.


Turn off your laptop before cleaning the display, this way you see dirt more easily. Use non-abrasive cloth such as cotton cloths or pre-moistened wipes – never tissues or paper towels – to clean your display. When using a cloth, you will need a monitor cleaning solution. Steer clear from amonia-based cleaners as these solutions leave a mark – more specifically, they leave a film on the display. If you can’t get monitor cleaning solution at your local computer shop, you can make your own by mixing one part water and one part isopropyl alcohol.


You can use compressed air to get rid of dirt stuck between the keys on your keyboard. If your user’s manual allows you to remove the keys for cleaning, then do so. You can take them all out and wash them with mild cleaning solution and a old toothbrush or cotton swabs. Just make sure you don’t lose a key and you put them back in the right place.

Like they say, prevention is always better than the cure. Sure, you can always clean your laptop – in this case, you must – but it would be much better if you kept it as clean as possible. You can do this by always keeping it away from food and drink. Make sure your fingers are also clean before you start working, or you’ll transfer residue on your laptop. And when not in use, try to keep it in a computer briefcase or any sort of protective covering.

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