How to Clean Your Computer

Fingerprints on your monitor may be irritating, but cleaning your computer regularly will help prevent damage down the road. See more computer pictures.

Whether or not you use your computer every day, you may not be conscious of how dirty it can get over time. The parts you touch and look at are probably where you'll notice dirt or smudges first, including the keyboard, mouse and screen. Dust also gets sucked into the computer by the fans that keep it cool. These problems can be worse if you use your computer in particularly dusty or dirty environments, such as outdoors or in a woodshop, or if you eat or drink around your computer.

Keeping the computer clean is an essential part of keeping it in top working condition. If you're particular about keeping things clean in your home or office, you probably already have the computer on your regular list of things to keep clean. If not, you may go months, if not years, without cleaning your computer. Even if you don't mind using a dirty computer, you should make keeping it clean a part of your routine. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Dust that gets into the computer can cut down on air flow. This can cause the computer to overheat which, in turn, causes damage to important components like the processor.
  • Dust or debris that settles on open circuitry can affect the computer's performance
  • Spatters of food or drink can get into tight crevices or open spaces and damage circuits and moving parts. The keyboard is a common victim of this, eventually having keys that stick or stop working altogether.
  • If two or more people use the same keyboard and mouse, they can pass germs to each other by touching those surfaces.
  • Dust and smudges that are left on your screen can distort the colors and images you see.

You can't stop everything from getting on or in your computer. Whether it's a desktop or laptop, though, this article covers what you need to know about keeping it clean.