How to Clean Your Computer – And Why It’s So Important

How to Clean Your Computer - And Why It's So Important

Your computer is probably one of the most important tools you use for running your business. So you need to do everything you can to keep it in quality shape for as long as possible. Something as simple as cleaning can dramatically impact the performance and longevity of your device. And it’s fairly simple to learn how to clean a computer with household products, so you shouldn’t need to purchase any expensive equipment or supplies just for this job. But so many small business owners overlook this step.

If you’re not sure how to clean computer components or why it’s so important, here’s a guide.

Importance of Cleaning a Computer

Lots of small business owners overlook this important task because they don’t get why it’s necessary. But a dirty computer can have a tangible impact on your business. Here are just some of the things that could happen.

  • Over time, dust can build up inside your computer tower and clog the fan that keeps your computer from overheating.
  • Frequent overheating ultimately slows down your computer, which can lead to a loss of productivity.
  • It can also shorten the lifespan of your device and cause you to spend extra money on early replacement or repair services.
  • Dust and debris can build up around the keys or moving components and cause them to malfunction.
  • Your computer can harbor germs and bacteria that could make you sick.

How to Clean a Computer

Now that the importance of cleaning computers is clear, we’ll move onto the actual steps involved in this process.

Shut Down and Turn Off Everything

During the computer cleaning process, you need to be able to get into all the nooks and crannies of your device and use cleaning products that may not mix well with a powered-up device. So shut it down, unplug it, and remove any extra hardware devices before getting started.

Gather Your Supplies

What materials do you need to clean a computer? In many cases you can simply learn how to clean a computer with household products you already have lying around. Here’s a quick list:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Water
  • Compressed air
  • Isopropyl alcohol or glass cleaner
  • Computer screen cleaning wipes
  • Q-tips
  • Screwdriver

How to Clean a Computer Monitor

Your monitor is likely to accumulate some smudges and dust over time. But learning how to clean a computer monitor is pretty simple. Use a soft cloth, preferably microfiber, to wipe down the surface.

Wondering how to clean a computer screen with water or isopropyl alcohol? Just add a small amount to your cloth and go over the screen to remove sticky or stubborn spots. Do not wet the cloth completely — there should never be any liquid dripping from the cloth onto your computer. You can also use Windex on a computer screen – just spray it on the cloth instead of directly on the monitor so the spray doesn’t get lodged in between other components.

Finally, there are computer screen cleaner wipes you can use to make this process easy. You can also use these in between cleanings to remove spots or smudges as they pop up.

How to Clean a Keyboard

Keyboards have more little spaces for crumbs and dust to get stuck. So this project requires a bit more time.

Start by using a can of compressed air to remove any visible crumbs or dust from in between the keys. Then take another microfiber cloth and dampen it with isopropyl alcohol. Go over the keys to remove surface buildup. From there, take a q-tip and rub it in between the keys so the alcohol is able to disinfect every surface.

How to Clean a Laptop Screen and Keyboard

Learning how to clean a laptop screen and keyboard is pretty similar to learning desktop cleaning. Use computer screen cleaning wipes or a cloth with water or alcohol to clean the screen, then run your cloth over the keyboard and use q-tips and compressed air to get in between the keys.

There is one major difference when cleaning a laptop screen vs. cleaning a desktop screen. Avoid using Windex or glass cleaner on LCD screens. It’s only meant for use on glass screens. If you don’t have a dedicated screen cleaning spray or wipe, stick to water or isopropyl alcohol.

Once you’ve cleaned the screen and keys, you can also go over the outer casing of your laptop with a soft cloth. Use water or rubbing alcohol if there are any tough spots. Just be careful around the battery or remove it before cleaning, if possible.

How to Clean a Laptop Inside

The exact process for learning how to clean a laptop inside may vary depending on the model. But the idea is the same: you want to remove any parts that come off and use compressed air to get dust and grime out of the machine. Start by shutting down the device, unplugging it, and removing the battery if there is one. Then you can unscrew the bottom panel with a screwdriver to access the fan and other components. Avoid using cleaners in this area and just stick to compressed air in spots where there’s visible dust buildup.

How to Clean a Computer Tower

For desktop computers, cleaning the tower requires a pretty similar concept. Remove the side panel or any casing over the tower so you can access the fan and other internal components. Then use short bursts of compressed air to remove dust. It’s a good idea to do this process over a drop cloth or in an area where you don’t mind if it gets a bit dusty, since all that material will blow out of the computer and into your room.

How to Clean a Computer Mouse

If you use a separate mouse with your computer, you first need to determine what type it is so you can choose the right cleaning method. An optical mouse is one that uses a light on the bottom to sense movement. For this type, unplug it and remove the battery if there is one. Then run over the surface with a soft cloth. Then go over the sensor and other components of the mouse with a q-tip that has been lightly dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Use a toothpick for any stubborn parts. Remove the cover with a screwdriver and do the same throughout the inside.

For a trackball mouse, the process is fairly similar. Except you’ll need to gradually spin the trackball as you go over it with a q-tip or cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol so you can clean the entire surface.

How to Keep Your Computer Clean of Dust

Once your computer is sparkling clean, do keep your computer clean of dust by storing computer screen cleaning spray, wipes or soft cloths near your workspace so you can wipe up spills or smudges as they happen. Keeping a generally clean office can also help; there should be less dust to clean out of your computer if there’s not a ton of it floating in the air. Additionally, try to avoid eating or drinking over your computer, since those small crumbs and spills can add up to big messes over time.

For best results, do a full cleaning of your computer or laptop a couple times per year. This, along with avoiding messes and keeping some basic cleaning supplies at your desk should help you get the most out of your device for years to come.



Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions
  1. More than the files, you should also ensure that the computer itself is clean. After all, it is the one thing that you work with every single day.

  2. Very very thorough article and timely one. I used to clean my computer once a month but during this coronavirus time I’m doing it everyday. Specially you should clean your keyboard and mouse with isopropyl alcohol frequently.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these excellent blog. These are very helpful.

  4. Hey, thanks for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.Thanks for valuable information,Keep posting.

  5. I appreciate your hard work. Keep posting new updates with us. My computer not showing any display when I start the home button. I just read your blog and clean my system from the blower, now it’s working fine. Thanks for sharing the blog and this great information which is definitely going to help us.