With the passage of time and use, it is common for computers to end up storing dust, hair, stains, drops, and dirt. For this reason, it is advisable to periodically clean the computer and its components. How to clean a desktop computer or laptop? In this article, we review the procedure, the safety instructions and what elements are necessary for the deep cleaning of the computer.
Before you start: what do you need to clean a computer?
Cleaning a computer, whether it’s a desktop or a laptop, is a relatively simple procedure that will take us about a couple of hours and we must perform on a regular basis. How often? It will depend on the environment in which we find ourselves and its location since it is not the same to have a tower at ground level in a house with pets than to have it on the table in a laboratory.
Although a good approximation may be once a year, the reality is that there are unequivocal signs such as heating, excessive ventilation or a noisy fan.
For starters, we will need a precision screwdriver kit. There will be cases in which the only one will suffice, but it is advisable to have a kit at home.
In the market, we find a large number of kits of different prices, although taking into account that it is a purchase “for life”, it is worthwhile to be of decent quality, ergonomic and with the magnetized tip. That they are not magnetized? We can do it ourselves by sliding a magnet from the metal base to the tip, repeating the movement several times in the same direction.
We will also need a spray of compressed air to remove the dirt embedded in places of difficult access. For this task we could also use a vacuum cleaner, using it carefully in areas with small and delicate parts. Another element to clean dust is a small brush or even a shaving brush with soft bristles to remove dust without damaging the components.
To clean surfaces and internal components we will require a microfiber cloth and for the exterior, we can use the same cloth or a dust trap. Some swabs – swabs for the ears – we will also need for the smaller areas.
As per the experts of Engadget about the liquid used to clean a computer and its general recommendation is to leave the specific cleaners aside and manufacture our own cleaning fluid, high efficiency and more affordable.
- 80% distilled water.
- 20% isopropyl alcohol
- A few drops of dehumidifier.
Isopropyl alcohol is used to clean electronic devices without damaging them, which we will apply in solution. For its part, the dehumidifier will make the liquid evaporate in a short time.
Security Issues when Cleaning a Computer
Before starting the cleaning of the equipment and its peripherals, we will disconnect them from the electrical current to avoid discharges both to us and to the circuits that comprise it. Likewise, we will pay special attention to static electricity.
And is that the components of electronic circuits can be damaged by the static electricity that we generate naturally. In this sense, it is advisable to handle them with latex gloves which will also protect us from dust and with an antistatic wrist strap.
The electrostatic bracelets are bracelets that are fixed on the wrist with a cable terminated in a clamp, which we will connect to a ground connection, we use the chassis or the metal tower. Another option to get rid of static electricity is to touch a metal surface with the fingers of your hands.
If we suffer respiratory problems or are allergic, it is highly recommended to use a mask for dust during the handling and cleaning of the interior of a computer, given the amount of dust that accumulates.
How to clean the tower outside and inside
The first thing we will do is to place the computer on a clear table, spacious, with sufficient lighting and ventilation and with something underneath, it can be cardboard or a plastic rubber, which picks up the dirt and avoids contacts.
We turn off the equipment and disconnect it from the current. To clean your exterior we will use a microfiber cloth moistened with the cleaning liquid. For ports and slots, better use the brush or a few puffs of compressed air spray.
It’s time to open the team. In the case of a tower, it is common to find external screws that, after removing them, allow to extract aside to access the interior. In the case of a laptop, we will turn it over and unscrew it. Although the interiors of the laptops are essentially similar, the distribution and access vary from one brand to another and even between different models.
A good way to not lose the screws and remember where they come from is to mark a piece of paper on a piece of paper and place the screws inside, writing their name under it. Thus, we could write “case” and leave inside the screws used to fix the piece.
Once we have accessed the interior, we apply small blows of compressed air to the fans inside, affecting the blades and the shaft. During the application, we must take special care in areas where components such as the motherboard, RAM or processor are found, throwing the blows at a distance.
It is time to clean the motherboard and components. Try to remove the cables and some components, such as RAM or hard disk, as far as possible and our knowledge to leave everything as it was. The clearer the area is, the better we can clean.
Apply the bristle brush gently, as well as the swabs or the microfiber cloth, depending on the operating space you have. Beware that the cleaning fluid should not come in contact with the motherboard, PC cards or any other delicate electronic element as moisture could damage them.
To improve the cooling of the processor it is advisable to renew the thermal paste. For this purpose, we will remove the old paste with isopropyl alcohol and apply a thermal paste with the specific characteristics recommended by the manufacturer.
The more components you remove and clean, the better the result will be. However, although you stick to a superficial cleaning inside, the improvement is remarkable.
How to clean the monitor
Dust, splashes, and fingerprints litter the computer screens with the passage of time. However, it is quite simple to leave them clean.
Of course, pay special attention to the liquid used in cleaning: no glass cleaner or alcohol, as they can damage the antireflection protection of the panels.
With the cleaning fluid ready, we can now clean the monitor, regardless of the type of panel or matte or glossy finishes.
First, we unplugged it from the current. In the case of being a laptop, we will disconnect the equipment. We moisten a microfiber cloth with the cleaning liquid. It is important that we do not apply the liquid directly on the screen.
We rub gently in circles, both the panel and the frame so that the passes are not marked. The alcohol and the dehumidifier evaporate the water quickly so that there are no remains.
Cleaning the keyboard
Between the keys and under them we find dust, food, liquids and other particles that can cause this to not work properly when pressing certain keys.
To clean a keyboard, the first thing we will do is disconnect the cable – if it has one – that connects it to the computer. If it is a laptop, we will turn it off and disconnect from the electric current. In the case that it uses a PS / 2 port, we will have to disconnect the keyboard with the equipment turned off.
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Next, we put it face down and gently shake it to try to get the dirt out. To remove the remains located between the keys that have not come out after putting it down, use a spray of compressed air. Another alternative is to use a vacuum cleaner, but be careful with the suction power and the state of the keys.
Once we have removed the embedded dirt, we will clean the surface of the keys of the grasilla of the fingers and other substances. To do this, we moisten a cotton cloth and ear swabs with the cleansing liquid, gently rubbing the keys and the divisions between them. It is important not to pour the cleaning liquid directly on the keyboard.
When the keyboard is clean and dry, we will connect it to the computer again.
Cleaning the mouse
In the market, there are two types of mice, the optical type and the mechanical type. Each one is essentially cleaned in the same way, although mechanics require a little more dedication to have moving parts.
In the case of optical mice, no internal cleaning is necessary since they lack moving parts, although their displacement may deteriorate over time due to the storage of dust in the light emitter.
Mechanical mice are especially sensitive to dust and particles, accumulating them inside and making it difficult to move.
To clean the mouse, the first thing we will do is disconnect it from the computer, in case it has cable. If it has a PS / 2 port, we will first turn off the computer. If it is a wireless mouse, we will extract the batteries.
Then moisten a clean cloth with the cleaning liquid or, failing that, isopropyl alcohol, and clean the outside. As with the keyboard, we will be careful not to introduce liquids inside.
If our mouse is mechanical, remove the ball by first removing its stop, turning it clockwise, so that we can clean both the inside and the ball with the same cloth or dry paper.
When it is completely dry, we will reassemble the pieces and connect them to the equipment. In case it is a mouse with PS / 2 port, we will do it with the computer off.
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