A laptop has probably become a part of you – you probably use it and spend time with more than anything else every day. Frequent use of laptop results in attracting a lot of dust, oil, and dirt. Some laptop attracts them a lot more than the others due to their build, material, or other features.
The dirt and dust accumulate especially on and around the keys. They can easily fall through the cracks and cavities present in the keyboard area.
The end result – you end up with sticky keys, keys that won’t respond, or both. But the importance of cleanliness can never be underestimated, even more so now that we are going through a dire time.
The massive outbreak of the Coronavirus reminds us of the importance of incorporating basic yet very important hygienic habits. And since we are supposed to keep our hands as clean as possible all the time, it’s utterly important that we keep the keyboard squeaky clean.
Okay, now you are all fired up to clean up the mess that the keyboard is. But before you go all gung-ho and take out the sprayer and blower, remember to go through the following steps. This way you would be able to get the cleaning done in less time (and with minimal collateral damage).
- First and foremost, take a backup. No meaning in taking the risk of getting all the vital data deleted. It might seem like a far-fetched story, but hey, no point in risking your data, is there?
- Make sure that the laptop is not connected to any power sockets. Remove any sort of adapter or USB drive is connected.
- Turn off the laptop. Better yet if you can remove the battery.
- Allot a bit of time to do the job. Don’t ever think of cleaning if you are in a hurry or running on a tight schedule. Often it would take more time than you think.
Loose dust particles
The first step in the cleaning process is losing the dry debris. Getting rid of the dry debris that often sticks to the surface is usually pretty straight forward. Simply hold your laptop upside-down so that the keyboard is facing the ground. Some of the loose and big particles would come off in this process. Use a microfibre cloth to dislodge the loose particles. It’s even better if you could use compressed air. You can find many air dryers online that are specifically made for this kind of stuff. Some debris may still be stuck in the corners of the cracks. Take the help of a friend to hold the laptop upside-down if it becomes too uncomfortable to do it all by yourself.
Another possible solution is to use a vacuum cleaner. Some prefer a vacuum over the compressed air. A vacuum would rather suck the dirt and crumbs out of the cavity than blowing them further into the cracks and cavities. You would find handy micro vacuum attachments online that comes with a brush attachment. The brush helps get the rather ardent particles stuck in the cavities loosen up a bit while running the vacuum.
It’s almost a crime to spill a liquid (or semi-liquid) substance even by accident across the top of your laptop keyboard. But if you managed to accomplish that somehow, it should be your first priority to try and protect the internal components of the laptop. First of all, power off the laptop. If it’s connected to the power socket, remove it at once. The last thing you would want is to short-circuit it. It’s better if you could remove the battery as well.
If the spill is purely external, wipe it with a piece of cloth or sponge. Make sure that it doesn’t leave some nasty spill marks. If you suspect that even a small part of the liquid might have crept in through the keyboard holes, you might need to open key by key (if possible, obviously). But the best bet would be to take it to some professional or the service center.
The tough grime
These are the type of steins that can eventually become your nightmare. Starting from microfibres, hairs, micro or macro food particles, oils to even skin tissues can contribute to these gross steins on your laptop, especially on and around the keyboard area. Melamine Sponges come in handy for getting rid of these tough stains. Melamine is an organic soft plastic-like compound that is widely used in laminates, glues, and dinnerwares; you might have even bought a Melamine ramekin recently.
Just soak the sponge in water, and ring out every ounce of excess water. Finally, use the moist sponge on the grime and rub lightly. To your surprise, you would see that the steins go away without putting in much effort. A note of caution though: Melamine sponges can be very abrasive in nature. So be very cautious when using it for cleaning. You might end up with ugly scratch marks if not careful.
Get rid of the germs
You need to worry about the keyboard. Studies found that your laptop might be far, far dirtier than the toilet seat. They found that the keyboard area of the laptop or a computer can have 20,000 times more bacterias than the toilet seat. Your laptop might become the cause of serious health issues if not disinfected properly regularly; even more so if you use it in the office environments.
The best way to disinfect your laptop is to use isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol (also called isopropanol or IPA) is a colorless, inflammable liquid that is widely used in pharmaceutics, hospitals, and general cleanups as a disinfectant. 70% IPA solution is very common for everyday cleanups as it is both economical and easily available. Dip a cotton swab in the IPA solution, lose the excess liquid, and simply rub each of the keyboard keys individually. It might be tedious, but it’s effective.
Well, the take-home lesson is simple – take care of your laptop. It easily becomes even dirtier than a trashcan and can cause serious health issues. So cleaning your laptop is an essential part of using it. Bonus point – cleaning your laptop regularly increases its lifetime.