One of the best things about laptops is that they’re mobile, meaning you can take them on the road, on a plane, on the bus; wherever you need to go, you can still have the internet at your fingertips at the flip of a switch. However, anyone who’s brought their laptop traveling or on a road trip knows that they’ll get as dirty and dusty as you do, and any built up filth can cause technical damage and make the laptop harder to use. Whether you’ve got gunk in your keyboard or dust in your fan, you’re not going to be happy when your once-so-handy device is rendered useless by filth. Here’s some laptop cleaning tips to make sure you always get the most out of your handy¬†(and probably expensive) device.

clean laptop2Besides being a breeding ground for germs, computer keyboards are full of grooves and small parts that can be rendered totally useless if grime and dirt builds up. To clean your keyboard, turn off your laptop and disconnect the battery. Then open it and turn it upside down. Gently tap it from multiple angles to see if any crumbs or loose dirt will fall out from the keyboard. Set it on a desk or on the floor and vacuum it with the brush attachment that comes with most personal vacuums. Then get some cotton swabs and dampen them (but don’t make them soaking wet!) with rubbing alcohol. Use these swabs to wipe over and between the keys if possible. Finally, buy Cyberclean and apply it to the keyboard as the instructions say. You can purchase that stuff at your local office supply store, and trust me, it’s worth every penny.

clean computer mouseNow that your keyboard is fully functional and running like a charm, you’re ready to move onto your screen. A dirty LCD screen can hamper your ability to read, write, edit, whatever on your computer and too much dirt can eventually limit the life of your computer. To clean it off, start out by hitting that sucker with some compressed air. Then make a solution with equal parts white vinegar and distilled water and put it into a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar solution onto a soft rag and wipe the screen with the rag. There are also microfiber cloths that you can buy at office supply stores which are safe to wipe down your computer screen with periodically or as needed. It’s generally a good idea to check your computer’s manual before you use any cleaning products on the screen though, just saying.

If you use an external mouse, that guy could probably use a good scrubbing and disinfecting as well (don’t literally scrub it). Just like your keyboard, your computer mouse is constantly touching your hands and can carry and spread disease if unclean. The same vinegar and distilled water solution should do the trick with that guy, just spray a soft rag and give it a good rub-down. Don’t forget to clean the bottom as well!