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Now that youíve been around your laptop a few times, you should do some cleanup. Look at all those tiny footprints! Look at those fingerprints! Yikes! If only your mother could see ...!

Laptops are really robust beasts. They can go through a lot without cleaning. But when your mind does turn to it, heed the following sections.

  • Itís best to turn off the laptop before you start cleaning it.
  • You will need a sponge or lint-free cloth as your cleaning tool.
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is also a good cleansing agent.
  • If your laptop manufacturer has any specific cleaning instructions, directions, or warnings, please refer to them first over the instructions offered here.

Cleaning the case

The best way to give the case a bath is with a damp sponge. You can use standard dishwashing liquid, mixing it at about 1 part detergent to 5 parts water. Soak the sponge into the mixture, and then wring it clean. Use the sponge to gently wipe the laptopís case.

When youíre done with the sponge, wipe off any excess moisture or dust using a lint-free cloth.

  • Ensure that the sponge is dry enough that it doesnít drip liquid into the laptop.


  • You might also want to use cotton swabs to clean some of the gunk from the cracks.


  • Do not clean inside any disk openings or the PC Card slots. Never spray any liquids into those openings either.


  • Avoid using detergent that contains strong chemicals (acid or alkaline).Donít use abrasive powders.

Cleaning the keyboard

Every so often, I vacuum my laptop keyboard. I use the little portable vacuums, either with the tiny (toothbrush-sized) brush or the upholstery cleaning attachment. This effectively sucks up all the crud in the keyboard. Itís amazing to watch.

Some people prefer to clean the keyboard using a can of compressed air. I donít recommend this because the air could blow the crud in your keyboard further inside the laptop. Instead, use a vacuum.

Remember that itís best to have the computer turned off when you do this! To clean the tops of the keys, use isopropyl alcohol. Soak it up into a soft, dust-free cloth, or use a cotton swab, and gently rub the key tops. Try not to drip any alcohol inside the keyboard.

Never use a spray cleaner directly on the keyboard.

Cleaning the screen

Iíve found the techniques used for cleaning an LCD screen, be it for a desktop or laptop computer, to be filled with controversy! Generally, no one recommends using any liquids because they could damage the LCDís delicate surface.

Even so, youíve gotta have something to rub with if you ever plan on getting that sneeze residue off the thing!

First, for general cleaning, get a soft, lint-free cloth. Use it to wipe the dust (pixel dust!) off the monitor.

Second, dampen a sponge or lint-free cloth with water. Be sure to wring out all the excess moisture. Rub the screenís surface gently. And donít get any excess liquid on or inside the monitor.

Let the monitor dry completely before closing the lid!

  • Often times the keyboard will create ďstainsĒ on the screen. This is hard to avoid and even harder to clean off. To help prevent the stains, consider storing the soft lint-free cloth you use to clean the monitor inside the laptop, between the keyboard and screen.


  • Office supply stores carry special LCD screen cleaners as well as the lintfree wipes that you can use to clean your screen and the rest of your laptop.


  • One product I can recommend is Klear Screen from Meridrew Enterprises (www·klearscreen·com).


  • Avoid using alcohol or ammonia-based cleaners on your laptop screen! This could damage the LCD screen.


  • Never squirt any cleaner directly on a laptopís screen.

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