Gunk and junk has a tendency to collect on computers and components. The electromagnetism in electronic devices are positively charged, pulling negatively charged dust particles toward themselves, which causes electronics to attract dust more than, say, tables and desks. Furthermore, some users are a bit careless about snacks, drinks, and other messy habits at their desks. The task of cleaning computers and components often falls to the workers at the IT help desk. When it’s time to literally scrub the computers, here’s what you can do.
How to Clean the Tower
Computer towers are full of components that don’t handle nastiness well. First, remove the cover of the tower. Do this in a clean, well ventilated, static-free area. Use a can of compressed air to blow out the dust and particles. Remove the removable components, spray around the connections well, and replace the component assuring a good connection.
Removable filters can be taken out and vacuumed. Hold the fans steady while you blow because if they’re spinning in the air flow, the dust isn’t likely being blown off. If some of the dust or gook is stubborn, use a Q-tip to get it off. Put the tower back together, assuring that all the connections are sound. Make sure your IT asset management stickers are in good condition, and replace the barcode or serial number tag if it’s damaged or worn.
How to Clean the Monitor
A clean, dry cloth like microfiber or soft cotton is ideal for computer monitors. Resist the urge to scratch, and never use a spray cleaner on monitors. Monitor cleaning cloths are available at office supply stores, but in a pinch, put a dab of rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth to remove sticky gunk. Wipe the entire monitor down, paying close attention to connection areas that can become clogged and prevent a sound connection between the monitor and power or HDMI cords.
How to Clean the Keyboard
Keyboards are generally the nastiest of all. It’s important to do your dry wiping or air blowing before using any liquid, because the liquid makes it impossible to blow off dust. Clean the exterior first, so that you don’t wipe that into a freshly cleaned interior. Spray a dab of cleaning product (such as furniture polish or disinfectant spray) onto a soft, clean cloth, and use this to wipe down the exterior of the keyboard. Use a can of compressed air or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to get the particles out from between the keys. A Q-tip is handy for reaching stubborn particles stuck between the keys.
If the keyboard is super nasty, you might need to remove the keys and spray underneath with the compressed air. If liquid is necessary to remove sticky stuff under the keys, use a tiny dab of disinfectant spray on the cloth and wipe gently. Avoid spraying or pouring any liquid into the keyboard.
How to Clean the Mouse
A damp (not wet) cotton cloth with a tiny dab of liquid soap is ideal for cleaning a computer mouse. You might also use a Q-tip to get into the crevices between the buttons and wheel. Turn the wheel as you clean, taking care to get all the sticky stuff off the entire perimeter of the wheel. Clean the bottom of the mouse, too, especially the feet where goop tends to collect from moving around the desk, and the LED. You can swab the LED with a dab of rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip if necessary.