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a clean computer in 3 easy steps

We do everything at our computers. We eat, we drink, we file our fingernails. Occasionally, we will dust the monitor.

And sometimes, if we're very, very good, we will wipe off the keys.

If you're thinking "What's the big deal about computer cleaning? Just spray it with a window product, right?" Wrong, laptop killer.

Never spray anything directly onto the screen. Some spray will get through vents onto the circuit boards. And circuit boards are very finicky about being dropped in on by any liquid, especially strong solutions.

Here's how to get a clean computer safely in 3 easy steps.

1. how to clean a laptop screen.

To clean a laptop screen, start by turning off the computer. 

  • Don't just power down or put it in sleep mode; turn the power all the way off.
  • Gently clean the computer screen by wiping it, taking care to remove any grime or fingerprints.
  • Refresh the cloth with glass product as needed.

2. how to clean a computer keyboard.

Science can't explain it, but soft drinks, crumbs, and coffee are attracted to computer keyboards. Put them and a kid or three in proximity of one another, and they're bound to interact messily sooner or later.

Here's how to handle the inevitable mess on your computer keyboard when it happens:

  • Unplug the computer keyboard. There are enough shocks in family life; just do it.
  • Turn the keyboard over, and let it drain and dry for at least 24 hours.
  • If the spill was a sticky drink - a cola or a latte, perhaps - try prying the small key caps off the keyboard with a flat-head screwdriver to get better access to the mess.
  • Take a picture of the computer keyboard intact before you remove any keys. That way, you can put them back where you found them. Don't remove the space bar, the Enter key, or other large key caps, however. 
  • Gently wipe the computer keyboard with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • Carefully work off really grimy gunk with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • Thoroughly rinse the key caps and allow to air-dry. Replace the computer key caps. Use your photo of the layout if needed.

3. how to clean the computer mouse.

Every time you roll the mouse, you are rolling dust, dirt, and gunk into its innards. About once a month, you need to remove the gunk it to keep it rolling along. Here's how:

  • Unplug or turn off the computer mouse.
  • Open the back or underside and remove both the batteries and the ball.
  • Wipe away any grime from the ball with a damp cloth. Allow to air dry.
  • Gently wipe the inside of the computer mouse to remove remaining grime and build up, using a cotton swab moistened with rubbing alcohol. Allow to air dry thoroughly before using.

Check out the Clean Organized Home Store for more cleaning solutions.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.