Spring-cleaning is usually relegated to attics and garages, but this season is the perfect time to attack the dust that has taken over your home or office PCs. You should clean your equipment at least once a year, more frequently for particularly dirty areas—but often, this aspect of equipment maintenance is pushed to the back burner.
However, the cleaning of the computers should not be for the sake of cleaning only, rather it has to be done in such a way which doesn’t prove harmful for your computer. It is often observed that while cleaning our computers and computer parts we end up messing up a lot and damage them. These damages, most of the times, are not visible to our naked eyes. Thus we force our PCs to go nastier rather than helping them to come out clean. Therefore, follow our instructions and tips to clean up your PC.
When working around electronic devices there are some precautions you should always take when cleaning:
- The best way to clean any computer component or device is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions in your user manual.
- Always power off the system first
- Always use anti-static wristband or other professional grounding devices
- Never work on carpeted surfaces
- Never spray cleaning fluids directly onto computer components. Always spray the cleaner onto a cloth then wipe
- Do not allow any cleaner to run or drip near circuit boards, or near seams on device casings.
- Never allow circuits or electronics to become damp or wet.
- Cleaning electronics and circuit boards requires experience, knowledge and special electronics cleaners. This type of cleaning is best left to professionals.
Cleaning Tips & Tricks
- If compressed air is too strong for little dust jobs, try using a plastic liquid medicine plunger style dispenser. Pull the plunger all the way back to fill it with air and then push it forward quickly for a quick output of air to blow away dust in small places such as USB ports or SD memory card slots. The small ends of these dispensers enable you to reach a more concentrated area with the air then you could get with just blowing out air yourself (from your mouth).
- When using compressed air, always release in short blasts. Longer blasts can actually result in condensation.
- Anti-static cloths are great for attracting dust and are safe to use around computer equipment.
- The cleaner you keep your work space, the cleaner your equipment will be.
- Be sure to hang on to your user manuals as they provide you with the best cleaning methods for that particular device.
How to Clean?
Dust inside the PC
Attack your PC first. To clean dust from the components inside you will need compressed air, an anti-static cloth, a small (child size) soft paint brush, and a cleaning fluid made specifically for electronics.
Inside the case you will want to use the compressed air to clean around the fans, power supply and areas where the dust is building up. Be careful not to aim the air directly towards any circuit board or electronic components in the case. Use short blasts and arm movement to direct the falling dust outside of the case. You can use the small brush to dislodge dust in areas where the compressed air did not remove the build-up (such as the edges of fan blades). You can also use the brush to wipe dust away from the inside case walls and the wires. If you find dust has fallen down to the bottom of your case, dampen the anti-static cloth with the electronics cleaner and wipe along the bottom of the case to remove it. You can also use the damp cloth to wipe all around the metal case of your tower and the cover.
LCDs are not made of glass and will have special coating on them for anti-glare. Following your manufacturer’s recommendations is the best method for cleaning an LCD. If you can’t obtain this information, here are a few general tips: Never use paper towel on an LCD as it can cause scratching. Instead be sure to use a soft cotton cloth. You can also purchase microfiber cleaning cloths that are designed for LCD and camera lens cleaning. If a dry cloth cannot remove the prints, you can use a special LCD cleaning liquid. Always slightly dampen the cloth and wipe, do not put any liquid directly onto the display.
Keyboards that are dirty can cause some keys to stick when pressed or other malfunctions. Dirt and dust can easily be cleaned from your keyboard by periodically holding it upside down and shaking it, or blasting it with compressed air. If the keys are dirty, once you have powered off the system, you can use a damp lint-free cloth to wipe the top facings of the keys. Never spray cleaner directly onto the keys as it may drip down into the circuitry beneath.
If you spill a liquid on the keyboard, you should immediately shut down the computer (or if using a plug-and-play keyboard, unplug it from the computer). Turn the keyboard over onto a towel or cloth to prevent as much liquid from getting into the circuits as possible. You can use a small lint-free cloth to help clean the liquid out from between the keys, but do so with the keyboard still upside down. Leave the keyboard upside down for long time to help ensure as much of the liquid dries out as possible. A large amount of liquid spilled into the keyboard will usually result in the keyboard needing to be replaced, regardless of how well you try to clean it.
Optical or Laser Mouse
Wipe the bottom surface of the mouse with a clean lint-free cloth. For dust and particles over the lens area, you can use compressed air to blow it away. If you don’t have compressed air you can also try just blowing air (from your mouth) in a couple quick strong spurts. If this doesn’t clear the lens, you can also try a cotton swab to clean it without scratching.
Your PC is very important to you so be careful while choosing the cleaning products as some low quality products may contain harmful chemicals. Always buy cleaning products from trusted sources.