Your Computer is Dirtier Than You Think: Here’s How to Clean It

You only need a few minutes and a couple of supplies to make your computer sparkling like new again.

By Erica Young

 

Cleaning the bathroom is a common household chore. We all know our bathroom is crawling with bacteria, and we make an effort to clean it as often as needed. But what about your desktop computer? It may not occur to you to clean your computer as frequently as say, the toilet. Well as it turns out, you might want to change that. Ready for some scary statistics? According to recent research, your computer keyboard carries 20,000 times more germs than your toilet seat. And the mouse – 45,000 times more bacteria than your toilet handle.

 

Yikes. But if you think about it, it makes sense. The daily use our workspace endures, sometimes from multiple users in the household, it’s no wonder every surface is crawling with bacteria. Obviously, it’s time to work computer cleaning into your chore schedule. However cleaning a desktop PC isn’t as straightforward as cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom. It takes a little more finesse. Here’s how to safely clean your computer, in a few easy steps.

 

1. Supplies

You only need a few common household items to clean your computer. Make sure you have these on hand: compressed air, rubbing alcohol, a microfiber cloth, Q-tips, and water. Before you begin, make sure the computer is completely turned off.

 

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2. Clear the Keyboard of Dust and Crumbs

We’ve already established the keyboard is covered in germs, and more than likely it’s harboring a few crumbs as well. If you snack while you’re working, and who doesn’t, it’s inevitable that your chips and crackers have left their mark between your keyboard keys. Clear out the food and dust by spraying the whole thing with compressed air, making sure to get in between every key.

 

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3. Clean the Keys

Dampen your microfiber cloth with a little rubbing alcohol. "Damp" is the keyword, do not soak it. Gently wipe the keys. Focus scrubbing on more heavily used keys like the spacebar to remove any grime build-up. You can also dip a Q-tip in the alcohol to get in between the keys if needed.

 

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4. Wipe the Screen

Use the microfiber cloth to wipe the monitor screen as well, but only dampen the cloth with water. Cleaning agents could damage the screen. 

 

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5. Don’t Forget the Mouse

Wipe down the mouse with your trusty microfiber cloth, using a little alcohol or water. Turn the mouse over to clean the underside. Use a Q-tip dampened with rubbing alcohol to clean the rubber “feet” and gently swab the lens. Be careful not to put any pressure on the lens, just a few swipes to get rid of any dust will suffice.

 

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6. Clean the Tower

Now it’s time to give a little attention to your actual computer tower. Your PC will probably have one or two cooling vents and fan filters. If these become clogged with dust and debris, it impedes the airflow through your computer and causes it to overheat. To clean them, use a small hand-held vacuum or spray away the dust with compressed air. Next, wipe down the tower with a damp cloth. 

 

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Now you can rest easy knowing your computer is no longer a bacteria breeding ground. The whole process only takes a few minutes, so add it to your regular cleaning routine to ensure a germ-free workspace.

 

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Images used with permission, courtesy of Erica Young

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