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Best ways to clean your keyboard and screen

As work-from-home becomes the norm of the day, you end up using your personal laptop or desktop computer far too often than before. Your laptop, which you previously cared for and cleaned well, has now become a desk object to be used all day, every day. It is not until one day, when you open your laptop you see that it has become dirty. The lanes between keys on your keyboard are filled with grime and dirt, the screen has fingerprints on it and is shabby in many ways.

A plausible scenario is that you love to munch on something while you do your work. Even if you, like me, are a neat freak who does not eat while working, any surface that endures your daily touch will accumulate dirt and grime. That is why the keyboard of your laptop or computer is one of the dirtiest places in your home right now. Constant use is going to take its toll on your laptop screen as well.

To begin with, your fingers and hands touch the keyboard continuously. However you try, even if you wash and clean your hands regularly, dirt is going to get transferred from your fingertips to your keyboard. If you can see your keyboard through a microscope, you will be able to see just how many microbes and bacteria are swarming on it. Add sweat, dirt, grime, body grease and food particles to it and your keyboard can become extremely dirty very quickly.

In such a scenario, the only way to keep your keyboard and screen clean is to wipe it regularly. Cleaning a laptop keyboard and screen is not a simple task. You simply cannot use any random cleaner or cloth to wipe it down. As electronic equipment with fine wiring and microchips, the wrong way of cleaning can ruin your laptop. Similarly, the screen being open all the time tends to accumulate dust and oily fingerprints. You cannot spray water on it and wipe it down, like you may on a wall or a tabletop. Water or even the wrong kind of cleaner can end up disrupting your screen and the wires may short altogether.

You need to be extremely careful while cleaning your laptop or computer. We are going to list some tips and ways that can help you in cleaning your laptop or desktop computer.

Precautions while cleaning

Firstly and most importantly, always remember to unplug your laptop charger or your desktop computer wires from the socket. Whether you are using a dry cloth or some kind of wet wipe or cleaner, you do not want the laptop to get shorted or worse, electrocute yourself. Make sure your computer is turned off while you clean it.

Clearing out debris and dust

To clean the keyboard off the debris and dust, unplug it (if you are using a wired keyboard), and tilt it upside down. Shake it gently to loosen dirt, dust and debris embedded in the lanes between the keys. If you have some kind of air blower, use it to blow out the dust and debris. However, refrain from using too much pressure or heated air to clean the keyboard.

It is a good idea to wipe down the whole laptop with a dry lint-free microfiber cloth before using any wet cleaner. Dust is the primary source of dirt on any laptop and using a wet cleaner directly can only make it that much harder to remove. A dry cloth, especially a lint-free microfiber cloth can first remove the dry dust completely before you start with the wet wiping.

Rubbing alcohol for keys

To clean the keys, it is always ideal to use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) on cotton swabs, instead of other chemical cleaners. You can test it on some inconspicuous area of your laptop to check if it is causing any discolouration, before using it on your keyboard. Once you are assured, use cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol and wipe down each key. It is good to wring the swab a bit before using it to wipe down a key. You also may need to use multiple cotton swabs to clean each key, depending on the dirt stuck to your keyboard.

Toothpicks and Q-tip cotton buds are another set of tools you can use to clean inaccessible lanes and crevices between each key. You can use these to remove any debris that is embedded in the crevasse and use the Q tip bud to clean the lanes between each key.

Cleaning the screen

For screens as well, begin with dry wiping first. Now, there are two types of screens that laptops and desktops use. For a non-LCD screen, you can use rubbing alcohol to wipe the screen. Never spray the liquid directly onto your screen to clean. Spray a bit onto a clean rag and use it to wipe your screen clean. Make sure that the liquid does not reach the crevices of the keyboard or the speaker. This may shorten your laptop and destroy it. If you have an LCD screen, do not use rubbing alcohol as it can completely ruin your screen. Check out the manufacturer’s restrictions and rules regarding cleaning your LCD laptop’s screen. Do not ever use simple water for cleaning your screen.

While cleaning your screen, you have to make sure that the rag you are using is soft and devoid of any lint or debris. It can otherwise cause scratches and drag marks on your laptop screen. That is why, microfibre cloth is your best bet in cleaning. Ensure that a rag used to clean your laptop is not used for anything else.

It is important to keep a delicate touch while cleaning your laptop. With the keyboard, you may still try a bit of scrubbing to remove some stubborn stains or debris, however, for the screen, you have to have finesse. Haphazard cleaning can result in irreparable damage to the screen.

Most laptop and desktop computer manufacturers list cleaning solutions that you can buy to use on your laptops and desktops. This is in tune with what material is used to manufacture your laptop and desktop and so would be ideal to have. However, rubbing alcohol works well too.

As work-from-home is here to stay, it is prudent to keep your most important tool for the same, in a spic and span condition. It will not only help you with your work by keeping it intact but also keep your surroundings hygienic and healthy.


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