You probably spend more time at your computer than anywhere else. But think about it—
when was the last time you cleaned your computer? It's okay. We won't tell. But having a clean computer can help you avoid maintenance costs in the future, as dust clogging the vents can slow down your system. We have some great tips for how to clean your computer and how to keep it that way.
Step 1: It's such a turn off…
Before you start cleaning your computer, be sure the system is turned off and any cords are unplugged.
Step 2: Get inside
Remove the side of the computer case opposite the motherboard, being sure to avoid touching the cards and cords as much as possible. Using a can of compressed air, blow air around the computer's components, the bottom of the case, and into CD drives. Be sure to keep the nozzle at least four inches away from the components. Then clean the inside of the cover with a soft, damp cloth.
If you have a clean home or working environment, you should clean the inside of your computer twice a year. However, if your computer case is exposed to animal fur or smoke, you should clean it about four times a year.
Step 3: On the outside
To clean the outside of the computer, dip one tip of a Q-Tip in rubbing alcohol and run it along the openings at the back of the computer case, then run the dry side over the same area.
Step 4: Clean your keyboard
To clean your computer keyboard, you'll need a few extra Q-Tips. But first, simply flip it over and shake it out over the trash can to remove excess dust and crumbs. Use a can of compressed air to clean in between the keys (remember to keep the nozzle four inches away). Now take those Q-Tips, dip them in rubbing alcohol, and blot them before running them along the edges and tops of the keys. If you have a laptop, be extremely careful not to let any of the rubbing alcohol drip into the system. This should be done once a month.
Step 5: Monitor magic
It's amazing how much more efficient you can be on your computer if you can actually see the screen! On a weekly basis, clean your monitor using a paper towel or lint-free, soft cloth dampened with water. You can also spray the cloth or paper towel with a monitor cleaner; a specific solution is recommended to clean laptop monitors.
More computer advice
How to defray your computer's hard drive
This tutorial shows how to defragment your computer's hard drive in order to help restore system speed.