How often should I clean my computer?
At the moment, as a minimum, we’d recommend cleaning your computer keyboard with a disinfectant wipe daily. Preventing your keyboard from getting dirty is key to this, otherwise, you’re just transferring direct back to your clean hands. Ensure you’re washing your hands regularly and don’t eat over your keyboard. Also, avoid sharing your computer with others.
If you’re using your laptop on a train or in a public place, make sure you wipe it down before returning it to your desk or bag. Keep a supply of wipes and hand sanitiser with you if you can.
A few things to remember
- Turn off your Mac and unplug the power cord. If you have a keyboard or trackpad, turn off or disconnect.
- Use a disinfectant wipe to wipe all surfaces first, then use a damp, soft, lint-free cloth, and finally dry the area with another soft, lint-free cloth
- Don’t use disinfectant wipes containing bleach or disinfectant sprays
- Avoid using a very wet disinfectant wipe
- You don’t want to allow any liquid from the disinfectant wipe to remain too long on the area being disinfected, aim to wipe off after about three minutes to allow the disinfectant to work
- Don’t use rough towels or cloths
- Don’t use excessive force when disinfecting the keyboard; this could damage the keys.
- Remember to clean off the power cable with a wipe, once it’s unplugged, especially if you’ve been using it outside your home
Cleaning the keyboard
Start by taking the keyboard and tilting it up on its short side, straight up, over a flat surface. For laptops, aim for a 75-degree angle.
If you have compressed air in a can, use short blasts from top to bottom to remove any debris from the areas between keys. A small paintbrush or toothbrush can be used to get out anything which doesn’t budge. Make sure you work from top to bottom, so you’re not just moving the problem somewhere else. And make sure you wipe up all the crumbs and fluff that fall out.
Clean the keys and the surrounding area by wiping them and keeping them wet for about three minutes. You want to see moisture on the surface of the keys, but liquids shouldn’t be allowed to soak into the keyboard. If you’re using a wipe, you may need to squeeze out any excess liquid.
Let the keyboard dry off for a couple of minutes. Make sure it’s completely dry before turning the computer back on or reconnecting it to your computer
Cleaning the Trackpad or mouse
Again, make sure your laptop is completely powered off and unplugged before you begin cleaning. For a MacBook, or a separate Apple Magic Trackpad, or mouse take the same approach as above for your keyboard. A daily wipe over with an alcohol-based wipe is sufficient.
However, most integrated trackpads are recessed, which can trap dirt. Use a toothpick to gently remove any dirt and then disinfect with a wipe. With a mouse, you can use a toothpick to gently remove dirt trapped in grooves. Afterwards, give it a final wipe over after you’ve removed all the grunge.
Cleaning the screen
Shut down your laptop or screen and unplug it, it’s easier to see the dirt and you’re less likely to cause damage to yourself and the screen. Spray the cleaning fluid onto a microfiber cloth until damp (not wet). Never spray the screen directly as fluid could seep under the edge of the screen.
Gently rub the cloth over the screen in a circular motion to avoid smearing. Avoid excessive pressure which could break the display. Make sure the screen is dry before switching the computer or screen back on.
Products we like
The Dr Logic field engineers carry Whoosh! screen cleaner in their toolkit. It comes with a gentle cloth and doesn’t leave smears.
Antibacterial wipes for desks, keyboards and trackpads
In the office and at home, we use Clinell universal wipes, which are fast-acting, not too damp and are effective against bacteria and viruses.
Use common sense when keeping your computer and workspace clean, it goes without saying that you don’t want your precious Mac or iPad coming into contact with liquids. Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds remains the best advice for hand hygiene and a clean workspace will ensure you’re keeping germs at bay.