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How to Clean your PC

Cleaning your PC Inside and Out

Cleaning your computer, computer components and peripherals helps to keep everything in good working condition.

A general rule of thumb is to clean your PC's case every week or so and every 2-3 months clean the inside of your PC.

General Cleaning Tips

1. When cleaning a component and/or the computer itself, switch it off before cleaning.

2. Never spray or squirt any type of liquid onto any computer component. If a spray is needed, spray the liquid onto a lint free cloth and then use that cloth to rub down the component.

3. You can use a vacuum to suck up dirt, dust, or hair around your computer on the outside case and on your keyboard. clean keyboard and mouse However, do not use a standard vacuum for the inside of your computer as it generates a lot of static electricity that can damage the internal components of your computer. For cleaning inside use a pressurised air duster.

4. When cleaning, be careful not to accidentally adjust any controls or unplug a cable.

Case Cleaning

The plastic case that houses your PC's components can be cleaned with a lint free cloth that has been slightly dampened with tap water. For stubborn stains, add a little household detergent to the cloth. It is strongly recommended that you never use a solvent cleaner on your PC's plastic case.

Make sure all vents and air holes are hair and lint free by rubbing a cloth over the holes and the vents. It is also helpful to take a vacuum around each of the hole, vents, and crevices on the computer. It is safe to use a standard vacuum when cleaning the outside vents of a computer.

Before you carry out any work on your computer make sure you protect your PC's delicate circuits from static electric charges on your body by properly grounding yourself. If you don't have a grounding strap at least ground your body by touching the metal part on the outside of your PC's case before touching the inside of your PC or any component, including the motherboard.

Motherboard Cleaning

Dust and especially particles of cigarette smoke can build up and corrode circuitry causing various problems such as computer lockups. So cleaning the inside of your PC is vitally important.

When inside the computer take the necessary anti static precautions and be careful not to dislodge any cables or other connections.

Compressed AirTo clean the PC's Motherboard it's best to use compressed air. Compressed air is pressurized air contained in a can with a very long nozzle. When using compressed air, hold it in the up-right position; otherwise, it is possible chemicals may come out of the container that could damage or corrode the Motherboard or other component within the computer. Also, ensure when using compressed air that you always blow the dust or dirt away from the motherboard, or out of the case.

An alternative to compressed air is to use a small portable battery powered vacuum that can effectively remove the dust and dirt from the motherboard completely and prevent it from getting trapped within the case. However, do not use a standard electricity powered vacuum as it can cause a lot of static electricity that can damage the computer. When using the vacuum it is vital that you stay six or more inches away from the motherboard and all other components to help prevent contact as well as to help prevent anything from being sucked into the vacuum. Ensure that you do not remove any small components with the vacuum such as jumpers.

When cleaning the inside of the case also look at any fans and/or heat sinks. Dust and dirt often collect around these exposed components.

When cleaning internal fans, you should turn the power off and either hold the fan or place something in-between the fan blades to prevent it from spinning, as you carefully clean the fan. Spraying compressed air into a fan will clean it effectively (but be aware that this may cause damage to some fans). If you'd rather not use compressed air try cotton swabs or foam swabs moistened with rubbing alcohol or water. Generally, it is better to use lint-free swabs such as the foam swabs.

Its not so easy to clean a laptop internally so the best advice is to use a vacuum and carefully hoover around the underside and top side of the laptop. See Case Cleaning above for a fuller description.

Keyboard Cleaning

Many people clean the keyboard by turning it upside down and shaking it. A much more effective method is to turn off your PC or disconnect your keyboard and then use compressed air or a vacuum. Compressed air is pressurized air contained in a can with a very long nozzle. Simply aim the air between the keys and blow away all of the dust and debris that has gathered there. A vacuum cleaner can also be used, but make sure the keyboard doesn't have any loose keys that could possibly be sucked up by the vacuum.

A keyboard that is used by multiple people, such as students or different employees, may need to be disinfected to limit the spread of any germs. Once again, turn off the computer or disconnect your keyboard. Spray a little diluted household disinfectant onto a lint free cloth and carefully rub each of the keys on the keyboard.

CRT Monitor

The glass CRT monitor screen (i.e. not a flat screen monitor - see below for more details) can be cleaned with ordinary household glass cleaner. Be sure to turn off the monitor before your start cleaning it. And unplug its power cord. Spray the cleaner onto a lint free cloth so the fluid doesn't leak into the electrical components inside the monitor. Vacuum off any dust that has settled on top of the monitor and make sure nothing is obscuring the monitors air vents. Obstructed monitor vents can cause the monitor to overheat or even catch on fire.

With a screen that has any type of anti-glare protection, use a lint free cloth dampened with just tap water when cleaning. (Beware - cleaners with ammonia can remove anti-glare protection and/or other special surfaces on CRT monitors.)

Flat Screen Monitors

When cleaning an LCD screen it is important not to spray any liquids onto the LCD directly. Do not use a paper towel as this may cause the LCD to become scratched.

To clean the LCD screen use a soft cotton cloth; if a dry cloth does not completely clean the screen, you can apply rubbing alcohol (*Isopropyl Alcohol ) to the cloth and wipe the screen with the damp cloth. Rubbing alcohol is actually used to clean LCD screens before they leave the factory.

Optical/Mechanical Mouse

To clean the rollers of an optical-mechanical mouse, you must first remove the bottom cover of the mouse. To do this, examine the bottom of the mouse to see which direction the mouse cover should be rotated. Place two fingers on the mouse cover and push in the direction of the arrows.

Once the cover has rotated about an inch, rotate the mouse into its normal position, covering the bottom of the mouse with one hand and the bottom should fall off including the mouse ball. If this does not occur, attempt to shake the mouse gently.

Once the bottom cover and the ball are removed, you should be able to see three rollers located within the mouse. Use a cotton swab and/or your finger and move in a horizontal direction of the rollers removing and dirt and fluff which normally accumulates in the middle of the roller.

Once you have removed as much dirt and fluff as possible, place the ball back within the mouse and place the cover back on.

To help keep a mouse clean and germ free it can be helpful to clean the mouse. Use a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol (*Isopropyl Alcohol ) or warm water and rub the surface of the mouse and each of its buttons.

Cleaning your mouse mat with a damp cloth can also help improve a computer's mouse movement.

Other Peripherals

You should also clean your printer and scanner again using cloths and water or rubbing alcohol (*Isopropyl Alcohol ). To clean the scanners glass platter, spray window cleaner onto a cotton cloth and wipe the glass until it's clean.

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