Traveling is hard on your trusty computer. Join us as we share advice on how to keep your laptop clean while traveling to keep your machine fitter for longer.

How to keep your laptop clean while traveling

Laptops get used everywhere ranging from coffee shops to the workplace and back home again, but in as much as you try to keep them clean, they still get dirty.

It is very important to know how to keep your laptop clean and clean your laptop frequently especially if you travel a lot or if you use your laptop in public locations.

Proper maintenance will ensure an increased life span for the laptop and will keep it running in top shape. However, failure to clean your laptop frequently can result in gradual deterioration, shorter life expectancy and finally, malfunction.

The cleaning equipment you will need

The equipment for cleaning a laptop is quite cheap and easy to come by and something I would consider an essential accessory for laptops. Below is a list of some equipment that can be used for the maintenance of your laptop.

1. Microfiber cloth or towel

Lint-Free cloth or towel is easily the best tool used when rubbing down laptop parts. Do not use paper towels, facial tissues, or scratchy or abrasive cloths. The towel is important for wiping off dirt and dust particles from the outer surface of the laptop. A thick towel is best for cleaning the case of the laptop while a light towel or microfiber cloth is better for the more delicate parts of the laptop such as the screen and the keyboard. You should, however, know that when cleaning the inner and delicate parts of the laptop, the towel or cloth must be clean and dry because water and electronics don’t mix.

Microfiber cloths are an essential piece of laptop cleaning equipment

2. Distilled water or isopropyl alcohol

Water is a universal cleaning agent so little wonder it found its way into this list. It is advisable to use a mildly moist towel for cleaning the outer surface and case of the laptop, just a small quantity of water or alcohol will do. You can also buy packs of screen cleaning wipes.

3. Portable mini vacuum

One of the best methods of cleaning a laptop would be by the use of a portable vacuum cleaner, this works by sucking in the dirt, dust, food and hair particles hidden within the keyboard of the laptop. However, it is not advisable to use a vacuum that plugs into the wall since it creates lots of static electricity that can damage your laptop. Also, be sure to check for any loose keys before turning it on otherwise it will get sucked up into oblivion. Well, the vacuum bag, but you don’t really want to go digging around in there,

4. Cotton swabs

Cotton swabs moistened with rubbing alcohol or water are excellent tools for wiping hard to reach areas in your laptop keyboard.

5.Brushes and dusters

The use of a brush or a duster is a very efficient way of cleaning your laptop. The brush is used for wiping off dust particles. This can easily be substituted for dusters and towels.

How to keep your laptop clean with a brush

6. Cleaning gel

Cleaning gel is a really cool slime type substance that is a great option for getting down in between keyboard keys. For want of a better word, it kind of splooges out and gets between the keys and the sticky slime picks up dust and crumbs. It is a great little product to use in-between deeper cleans.

Laptop cleaning Tips

Below is a list of some basic tips to keep in mind when cleaning your laptop as well as suggestions to following order to ensure the laptop stays clean.

  • Never spray, sprinkle or squirt any liquid directly onto the laptop. Doing this might cause it to malfunction as water is an enemy to most electronics. The liquid should be sprayed on a towel and the towel can then be used in cleaning the system.
  • A vacuum can be used to suck up dirt, dust, or hair around the laptop. However, it is not advisable to use a vacuum connected to a wall socket, instead use a portable battery-powered vacuum or compressed air.
  • Before commencing any cleaning operation on the laptop, endeavor to switch it off first, it is sometimes advisable to also remove the battery.
  • Be careful when using any cleaning solvents as some cleaning solvents activate allergic reactions of most people, some concentrated cleaning agents might even damage the laptop hence try always to use water or a very dilute solvent for cleaning.
  • Before cleaning ensure that no auxiliary item is still connected to the laptop. Items such as flash drives, modems, pads and sometimes mouse should be disconnected from the laptop before cleaning.

How to keep your laptop clean

Below are some stages passed through when cleaning the laptop.

How to clean laptop case

Cleaning the outer part of the laptop case can help give your laptop a good appearance. The exterior case of a laptop can be cleaned by using a cotton cloth or towel which has been moistened with water or any good cleaning agents. Although it is not advisable to clean the exterior case of the laptop with household cleaning agents, rubbing alcohol can be substituted for water especially in cases whereby the substance on the laptop cannot be cleaned with water.

Pay special attention to the openings

The presence of dust, dirt, hair or other substances in the case openings can prevent air-flow within the system and this can cause the laptop to reboot unexpectedly due to overheating.

In cases like this, the most appropriate method of cleaning is by the use of a cotton swab or compressed air. Search for laptop openings where the laptop draws in cool air from outside or blows out any hot air from the inside, these openings are usually situated on the sides, the back or the bottom. After locating these spots remove the dirt and dust particles using a cotton swab or compressed air.

Note of caution

If you are using compressed air to clean the openings that have fans in them, the amount of air blown on the fans can cause them to spin too fast, which may damage the fan. To prevent this from happening, place something in-between the fan blades, such as a toothpick, to keep the fan from spinning while blowing compressed air at and through the fan and air ducts.

How to clean your laptop screen

As much as modern LCD screens on laptops big and small can be gorgeously detailed and richly colored, they do sometimes get a little — or a lot — dirty. Whether you’ve simply left it open too long and it’s gotten dusty, or your keyboard has transferred some oil or other gunk directly to the center of your display. Cleaning the laptop screen is not as easy as it seems as different equipment and procedures are used for different cleaning activities. For example, in cleaning dust particles off the screen, it is most appropriate to use a microfiber cloth while for dirt and grime a damp sponge or towel is most appropriate, for oils and sticky stuff, cleaning solutions are most suitable. Below is an outline of the best way to clean laptop screen.

Step 1: Shut down your laptop. Not only is this safe, but it also helps you to see any dust or dirt that needs to be cleaned.

Step 2: Pressing gently on the screen, wipe in one direction using your laptop screen cleaner solution. Don’t scrub or wipe in circles, as this could damage the display or just move the dust particles around.

Step 3: Continue wiping across the display until it is free of dust or dirt particles

In cases whereby a moist sponge is used on the screen, allow the screen to dry up first before closing the lid.

How to clean laptop keyboard

Cleaning a laptop keyboard is quite different from a standard computer keyboard. For many laptop keyboards, the keys cannot be completely removed hence cleaning the keyboard might seem difficult. The best way, therefore, is by using a dry cloth, a painter’s brush or a duster to wipe off dust particles from the surface and the sides of the keys. Also compressed air can be used to blow out any dust, dirt, hair or other substances from in between and underneath the keys. You can also use a mini vacuum to get any crumbs or debris from beneath the keys.

Cleaning your touchpad

To clean the touchpad surface, a damp cloth can be used to wipe off oily stains and dirt while a dry towel or duster can be used to wipe off dust particles.

How often should you clean your laptop?

This depends on various factors such as the location and environment where the laptop is used, the purpose for which it is used and the person who uses it.

It is however advisable to deep clean your laptop at least once every year if you stay in a clean and cool environment. If your environment is quite warm and dusty then it is recommended to clean your tech at least once every month, this will help to prevent germs from spreading and helps allow proper air-flow through any vents.

Final thoughts on cleaning your laptop

In order to ensure a longer life span for your laptop, you must endeavor to clean it regularly. Apart from physically cleaning, it is important to keep on top of your system maintenance as well. Removing old files, defragmenting hard drives and checking for updates combined with a good hardware cleaning routine will ensure your laptop is top-notch for as long as possible.

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