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How to Clean Up Your Computer

Credit: Kim Komando

Take good care of your compy.

Even if you use your computer as frequently and carefully as I do, sooner or later, it’s going to accumulate a small collection of dust, crumbs, and other assorted crud. It’s tempting to just leave that stuff there, but aside from looking kind of gross, if any of that crud gets into something important, it could cause some actual damage. Play it safe and give your desktop a proper cleaning once in a while.

  • Before you do any in-depth cleaning, power down and unplug the computer.
  • If you have a laptop, close it and give it a gentle wipe-down with a dry cloth and cleaning solution. You can do this with a regular tower too, it’s just not as important.
  • To clean a screen, moisten a clean, cotton cloth and gently wipe it left to right and top to bottom. Be very delicate or you could cause smudges or scratches.
  • For the keyboard and mouse, get a can of compressed air. Spray it into the peripherals’ nooks and crannies to get all the schmutz out. If there’s something big stuck in the keyboard, you may need to physically remove a key to get it out of there. Don’t worry, the key should pop right back into place afterward.
  • Finally, give the ports and vents a proper cleaning. Use the compressed air to blow out any accumulated dust. This is especially important for the vents, since dust accumulation there can clog fans and lead to overheating. Don’t physically touch the ports or fans if you can help it; those parts can be sensitive.

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