Just like anything else in a home or office, computers get dirty and require periodic cleanings. It is important that computer owners are diligent about keeping their machines clean so that the hardware can continue to operate at peak performance levels. One of the most common causes for CPU damage in computers and laptops is overheating due to a build up of dust and debris. Use the following tips to help you safely and effectively clean your computer.
1. Always turn off the machine and unplug any cords.
Although this may seem like a simple action, it is one of the most important safety precautions that you can take when cleaning a computer. Computer owners can suffer electrical shock if they begin to poke around the insides of their computers while they are still running or plugged into an outlet, so be sure to disconnect the power source.
2. Vacuum the outside of the computer.
First, users should clean the outer casings of their computers to remove things like hair, dust, crumbs, and other debris. However, once a computer’s casing is opened, standard vacuums should be put away. They can cause static electricity to build up and potentially damage the delicate hardware inside the computer. Only small battery powered vacuums should be used to remove debris from the inside of a computer.
3. Clean the fan.
The fan that helps circulate air throughout the inside of the computer can become very dusty and dirty. It is important that this component is cleaned frequently and thoroughly. Use an aerosol duster to remove dust from this area, but be sure that you hold the fan in place while you are cleaning. Otherwise, the fan may spin and cause harmful back voltage.
4. Keep it dry.
It can be tempting to use a cleaning solution to clean the inside of a computer. Dust that is hard to remove may require some concentrated spot cleaning using a cotton swab, but make sure the the cotton swab is dry first. The internal components of a computer should never get wet.
5. Use rubbing alcohol on other areas.
To clean areas of the computer such as the casing, keyboard, and mouse, try using a soft paper towel or cloth with a small amount of rubbing alcohol on it. Rubbing alcohol is recommended to use because it evaporates quickly. This is also a great way to disinfect the computer keys, as keyboards have been found to harbor more bacteria than toilet seats.
For optimum performance, computers should be thoroughly cleaned several times per year. If the computer is used in a smoking environment or there are pets in the home, it should be cleaned even more frequently. With periodic care and cleaning, you can help prolong the life of your computer and save on costly repair bills in the future.