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After a while, laptops start to accumulate dirt and dust and all sorts of nasty things. But did you know that dirt and dust buildup can prevent your machine from running smoothly? That's why it's important to clean your laptop.

Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we've got you covered. From clearing out the vents and ports with compressed air to removing dust from the fan blades and heat sinks, we'll guide you every step of the way.


What you'll need

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Distilled water
  • Cleaning wipes
  • An old cloth
  • Q-Tips
  • A can of compressed air

Before you get started...

The first thing you'll want to do is shut off your laptop and unplug it from the wall. While this isn't necessary, I'd open up the laptop and remove the battery as well.

If you're not sure how to do this, you should refer to your laptop's manual. These precautions protect your machine from shorting out—liquid and electric bits don't mix.

How to clean the shell

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Cleaning the outside shell of your laptop is pretty straightforward. All you really have to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth. However, we'd recommend using a mixture of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol on the cloth.

This type of alcohol won't damage your laptop because it doesn't leave any residue behind. Begone, smudges and fingerprints!

How to clean the screen

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Where there's a screen, there's fingerprints. It's just a fact of life at this point. Luckily, it's a relatively easy to problem to solve if you've got lens wipes or a microfiber cloth.

If you plan on using lens wipes, you'll want to make sure they're safe to use on laptop screens. The ones I use are from CVS and don't leave any streaks behind.

How to clean the keyboard

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

So, the first thing you'll want to do is turn your laptop upside-down and give it a good shake. This will get rid of the loose debris in your keyboard.

The next step really depends on how thorough you want to be. Some people are fine with wiping down the keyboard with a damp cloth. Others will want to get in the crevices with a q-tip. If you're going the q-tip route, we'd suggest wetting it with a bit of alcohol and water first.

How to clean the vents and ports

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Whether you're blowing papers off of a coworker's desk or making a pinwheel spin really fast, a can of compressed air can really be a barrel of laughs.

But did you know that it can also push dust and dirt out of your laptop's ports and vents? Just go at it at an angle until the ports and vents are clear. You want to avoid blowing air directly into the port or vent, as it'll push the dust and dirt further inside the machine.

How to clean the cooling system

Okay, so, this one is a little tricky. You may even need to crack out the manufacturer's manual. If you're able to open up your laptop (most laptops are inaccessible), remove the battery and store it in a safe place.

Make sure you keep track of the exact number of screws for when it's time to reassemble. You'll then want to swab the fan blades and heat sinks with a dry q-tip. This should clear a good amount of dust and dirt.