Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.
As we’re all stuck indoors and working from home, there are likely a lot of you relying on your trusty laptops to get everything done. Whether you’re working from home, sitting in on a Zoom conference call, or just having some well-earned digital time with family and friends, laptops can be a lifesaver at a time like this.
But your laptop can quickly become a breeding ground of nastiness, depending on how much you handle it. Given that we’re all trying hard not to get sick right now, keeping it clean can help keep you from having anything festering under your fingertips. So here’s how you disinfect your laptop.
First, turn your laptop completely off and unplug it. Remove any SD cards or USB dongles that might be connected: you want to be able to get into every crack and crevice when you’re cleaning.
Use a can of compressed air to get any debris or crumbs out from the tiny places of the laptop, especially under the keyboard. You may need to pop up some of the keys in order to get them thoroughly cleaned, but be gentle — you don’t want to replace anything if you don’t have to. Gently — gently — shake it after applying the compressed air to knock out any larger crumbs that might be inside of it.
After you’ve gotten rid of the gunk and crumbs, it’s time to wipe down the laptop. You can wear gloves while doing this if you wish, though it’s really only necessary if your laptop is a biohazard. Use a lint-free cloth — microfiber is best — and a solution of isopropyl alcohol. Apple, Dell, and Microsoft recommend a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol. Straight water isn’t recommended, and especially not tap water, as it can leave mineral spots.
When you wipe down your laptop, never apply the liquid directly to the device. Wet your cloth and wipe down each surface. Be especially careful with the screen, as they’re frighteningly easy to break with too much pressure. The solution should air-dry quickly, but allow it to do so before you turn your laptop on again.
So there you go, a quick and dirty (as it were) guide to disinfecting your laptop at home. If you want a more in-depth guide, I recommend Cara’s guide to laptop cleaning here. Good luck!