How to Clean Your Computer

Computer Cleaning Supplies

Screen cleaners and general-purpose surface cleaners for your computer are available in convenient disposable wipes.
Screen cleaners and general-purpose surface cleaners for your computer are available in convenient disposable wipes.

In office and electronics stores you can find several commercial products specially designed for cleaning your computer. Some of the most popular cleaning products and cost-saving alternatives are covered on this page. Later in this article you'll find tips on using these products as part of your cleaning routine.

Microfiber cloths

Microfiber is a term referring to very small fibers that are very tightly woven. When used wet or to wipe a wet surface, microfiber cleaning cloths absorb most of the fluid and thinly disperse the rest so that it can evaporate quickly. When used dry, these clothes attract dry particles through a mild static charge. Microfiber is also better than other fabrics for absorbing grease, which adheres to the fabric until it's washed. For your laptop or desktop monitor, a dry microfiber cloth may be all you need to keep the screen clean and smudge-free [source:].

General-purpose office cleaners

General-purpose cleaners for office and electronics are sold as sprays, aerosols or pre-moistened disposable wipes. These cleaners are free of oils and evaporate quickly, aiming to remove dust and fingerprints from non-porous surfaces. This makes them safe for the external casing of your electronics. Some cleaners advertise anti-static ingredients to reduce the surface's tendency to collect more dust, plus anti-bacterial ingredients to cut down on spreading germs between users.

Screen cleaners

Screen cleaners are sold as sprays, aerosol foams, pre-moistened disposable wipes and sometimes kits that include brushes, cloths or squeegees. You can clean most glass-covered cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors with any ammonia-based glass cleaner, provided it doesn't have anti-glare coating [source: Broida]. For flat panel LCD, plasma and LED monitors, manufacturers discourage using ammonia-based cleaners, stating that they can damage the screen over time. Instead, you can use a commercial screen cleaner of water and isopropyl alcohol. Look for a cost-saving alternative to these products among the tips later in this article.

Gas duster (aka canned air)

A gas duster provides a powerful burst of air to push dust off surfaces that can't or shouldn't be cleaned with a cloth or brush. This includes tight crevices in your keyboard or the internal parts of your computer. Often called "canned air" because of its packaging, a gas duster actually contains liquid forms of chemicals that, when uncompressed, turn immediately into the gas that emerges from the can. The next page of this article describes how to use compressed air as a way to remove dust from your computer.

Optical drive cleaning kits

Optical drives in your computer are the devices that can read (and sometimes write to) a CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc. An optical drive cleaning kit includes a disc with special brushes or fabric. The disc spins like a normal CD in the drive and cleans the laser lens that reads the disc. Because these drives are enclosed, though, they are protected from most dust and debris and should rarely need cleaning. The best way to keep the drive clean is to make sure the discs themselves are free of dirt and smudges with proper handling, storage and cleaning.