Spring clean your laptop

Your average laptop is used for three or more hours a day, seven days a week, so it’s no wonder that a three-monthly service can work wonders to improve its performance. I like to give my laptop, which is used more than ten hours a day, a clean every change of season as it is easy to remember. After each service, I can notice the difference in performance and my laptop is much quieter.

Step one – Turn off

Start by unplugging any attachments such as USB devices, mouse, keyboard, power cord, etc. Now turn your laptop over and remove the battery. Leave your laptop to sit for at least 20 minutes before performing step four.

Step two – Clean the keyboard and mouse

Your keyboard gets the hardest workout of any component on your laptop. In-turn it traps the most amounts of crumbs, dust and also seems to attract a lot of hair. Using a can of compressed air (you should be able to find one at your local supermarket, it may be disguised as a dust removal spray – otherwise your local stationery store will sell them), hold the can tilted towards the gaps in your keyboard and spray all the way along each row to remove trapped dust. If you can clearly see more debris, use a soft brush attachment on a vacuum hose to clean out the remaining items.

To clean the keys of the keyboard, use alcohol wipes/swabs which should be available from your local chemist. Don’t forget to give your mouse a good wipe as well.

Step three – Clean you screen

Dust and grime builds up on computer monitor throughout the year and you barely even notice it until you take a closer look. You have two options. You can buy an expensive monitor-cleaning product from your local supermarket, or you can make your own by adding equal parts white vinegar to distilled water. Simply pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it onto a soft cloth and wipe your screen gently.

Step four – fix your fan

Probably the most critical component of any laptop is the fan. This component attracts the biggest build-up of dust in a short space of time. A build-up of dust can overheat your components, which makes cleaning the fan every few months a very important step in keeping your laptop working.

Turn your laptop over and look for an air vent on the outer side of the laptop. The fan will be covered by an access panel which needs to be unscrewed. Once you remove the screws and the panel, you should see the fan. If not, put the panel back on and look for another panel. In some laptops, the fan isn’t accessible, but the majority are.

Take your laptop outside with the can of compressed air and blow out the dust from inside and around the fan. If you can see a build-up of dust on other components, give them a blow as well. It is important to keep the bursts short in duration and gentle (don’t hold the can right next to the components).

Finally, wipe down any other component with a dry cotton swab (without rubbing alcohol).

Now, put your laptop back together, plug it in. You may not notice an immediate difference, but your laptop will certainly be thankful for the service. 

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).