How To Clean Your Computer

Rather than sending out your computer for basic service, try cleaning the monitor and keypad yourself in a few easy steps.

If you've noticed that your computer's keyboard feels sticky or the monitor screen appears spotted under the light, it's time to clean these pieces before internal damage occurs. Cleaning your computer's keyboard does not require special knowledge or skill. But you should take precautions to avoid damaging the internal parts when caring for the external hardware.

1. Unplug the computer and all accessories before getting started. Anytime you attempt to clean an electric appliance it is important to disconnect the power source to reduce the risk of electrocution or shock. After unplugging the keyboard and monitor, along with any accessories that may be plugged in, use a damp clean cloth to wipe all the cords that are connected to the monitor and keyboard and remove dust balls or hair, along with anything else that might cling to them.

2. Move the computer monitor and keypad to one side of the desk and wipe the area clean where the equipment usually sits. Be sure to wipe a large parameter around the monitor area and let it air dry completely before returning the keypad to that area. You might want to use a clean towel or dry cloth to rub over the desk to be certain it is dry, as dampness can damage the machinery or cause it to stick to the table's surface.



3. Rinse the damp cloth in clear hot water and wring it nearly dry. Gently wipe the monitor screen, including all the corners, to remove dust and spots. Then wipe the surrounding areas and framework of the monitor, including the indicator lights that show when the system is operating. Don't forget the back of the monitor as well. If you have a laptop computer with a top that folds down and closes, wipe the hinges carefully, using a cotton swab for grooves and the latch. Check the latch to see if it is sticky or closes readily.

4. Next, go over the keyboard with the cloth, lightly rubbing around each key and button. Wipe around the sides of the keyboard, catching the off and on switch and CD player. Then use a cotton swab to ease around the edges of each key and row to retrieve minute amounts of dust and crumbs. Carefully clean around the lights, plug openings, and speakers, as well as other areas of your computer. Check to be sure you are not leaving wet traces on the equipment, as this means your cloth is too damp and should be wrung out more.

5. Allow the machinery to air dry, or use a soft cloth to pat the keyboard and monitor dry. Don't use fabric with lint or that is tough enough to scratch the screen. Reassemble all the cords and parts when you are sure the entire unit is clean and dry.

Plan to clean the keyboard and monitor every month or two. You may want to schedule maintenance for an interior cleaning once or twice a year. A clean computer is more likely to work well and last longer.

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