When you think of house cleaning, you probably think about your rooms, your closet, your bathroom, and your garage. But how often do you remember to clean your electronics? If you don’t normally do so, it’s recommended to clean your computer and other electronics at least once per year. If you’ve never done so, a spring cleaning spree is as good a time as any! PCs need intermittent cleaning and maintenance to ensure they run properly. Too much collected dust can result in your system overheating, a costly mistake that can be avoided by relatively light cleaning of the equipment. Even if you use cleaning services, a maid is probably not the best person for the job of cleaning your computer. This is something you want to be sure is done right. Read on to learn how to clean a computer properly and keep your investment in top shape.
Computers generate static electricity while they run, which attracts the dust and particles in its environment. Dust bunnies, pet dander, human hair, and bits of lint can all be attracted due to the static electricity. As they collect over time within the computer components, they clump together and block airflow, which can cause a computer system to overheat. Heat buildup can cause damage to your computer or even cause it to become unstable. This can result in your PC shutting down to refusing to operate once it reaches unsafe heat levels.
Tools to Clean a Computer
- Can of compressed air
- Wireless Wipes
Deep-Clean the PC Tower
This is the biggest part of your PC – and the most important thing to do when you clean a computer! If you haven’t done regular cleanings, this is the piece of equipment that’s going to require the most effort and care. Even with a filter, it can get packed with dust sitting around on your desk or floor.
1) Unplug your tower and take it outside.
This cleaning process can get pretty dusty, and you don’t want remove the dust from your computer tower just to blow it into your room. That would defeat your valiant effort, so let’s be efficient and bring the PC tower outdoors. First, make sure to disconnect all of the wires that are hooked up. This includes the monitor, keyboard, mouse, power cable, audio equipment, and any USB drives you have plugged in. You should also remove any disks or CDs that are currently in the computer tower drives. Make sure to discharge any remaining power in the PC tower by grounding yourself (i.e. feet on the floor) while pressing the power button to turn it off.
2) Wipe down the outside of the case.
Use your computer wipes to wipe down the entire exterior of the case including the sides, the top, the bottom, and feet.
3) Clean the dust filters.
Detach any filters and blast them with a few sprays from the can of compressed air. If you have a foam dust filter, rinse it quickly in the sink for good measure – make sure to dry it completely before putting it back. You’ll want to blow the dust away from the clean side to avoid getting both sides dusty.
4) Wipe down the inside of the case.
Before you use any more compressed air, use your sanitizer wipes to clean out the entire inside of the case. You can disconnect the components such as the graphics card, if you’re comfortable doing so. This is a very important step when you clean a computer, so don’t skip it.
5) Clean the graphics card.
Using a pen to hold the fan in place (so it doesn’t spin too fast and damage it), you can use the compressed air in short spurts to clean this part. You can also use a q-tip to clean bits on the outside, just don’t get any of the fibers stuck on the fan or inner pieces.
6) Deep clean
Using your disinfectant wipes, wipe away any big dust bunnies. Then, use your compressed air can to blow away all of the other dust and small particles.
7) Put it all back together!
Make sure all the parts are dry before closing up the case (super important when you clean a computer), then bring it back inside where it belongs. But first, we recommend vacuuming and dusting the room your PC lives in. That will help keep your tower cleaner for longer.
Clean the Keyboard and Mouse
Now that you know how to clean a computer tower, we’ll move on to cleaning computer accessories. Both the mouse and keyboard can store more dust and dirt than you might think because they have such small crevices for particles to collect.
1) Make sure your mouse and keyboard are unplugged.
2) Use your antibacterial wipes to clean both the keyboard and mouse. These parts get very dirty and collect oils and bacteria through touch. Make sure to clean the sensor on the cottom of your mouse.
3) Turn your keyboard upside down and shake it well to let any loose material fall out.
4) Give your keyboard a few short blasts of compressed air to clean out the remaining dust.
Wipe Down the Monitor and Screen
Warning: Do NOT use Windex, ammonia, or alcohol-based cleaners on your monitor and screen. These abrasive chemicals can damage sensitive screens. Use a gentle product such as Wireless Wipes that is made specifically for effectively cleaning and sanitizing electronic devices.
Use your Wireless Wipes to clean a computer screen, then move on to the outside of the monitor. Don’t scrub hard on the screen, as that may damage the monitor.
While You’re At It…
Since you’re already in the cleaning mood, check out our articles about how to clean a flat screen TV and our best tips for how to clean a cell phone! Do you have any idea how dirty your cell phone is? The answer is: your cell phone is extremely germy. Cleaning a cell phone is one of the easiest things to do to keep you and your family healthy (after all, it touches your face multiple times a day)! Check out our other blog posts to learn more.
Images via Wgrl, Guru3d, PCGamer, Giphy