Cleaning Tips

A few simple things you can think about for your computer, whether it be at the office or at home, and all it takes is a little time on your part, some Windex for your screen, and a can of compressed air!


  • Screens need to be cleaned! You may think it is not that dirty, or that maybe your used to seeing through all those fingerprints your boss puts on the screen, but you have to think of it from the poor monitors perspective. Electronics quite often get hot, and they are designed to provide as much cooling as possible. That being said when you let grime and gunk build up on your screen, it cannot cool as wel and may overhead.

  • Have you ever left your computer running for a year or so and never opened your case? You notice your computer is going a little slower then it used to? Open that thing up! At least every 6 months you need to be opening your computer to clean out all the dust and grime that those fans have sucked into your computer (Take it outside though, it's a lot of dust). You may think you don't have that much in your house, but when you think about it, your computer has a ton of little edges to catch that dust on. All you have to do is take the side off and take some canned air and blow out the fans and especially the heat sink (the big aluminum/copper thing in the middle of your computer.) If that heatsink is dirty, it will make your processor (the thinking part of your computer) run hotter, and as your processor heats up, it expands, as with everything else heat effects. It doesn't expand much, but processors are full of tiny microscopic circuits. The way processors get faster is we find ways to make the circuits closer together. Now it may not seem like it would be enough heat to make a difference, but if your processor is running hotter, it gets slower because those circuits move apart. Keep that heatsink clear and your processor gets more cooling.

  • Clean that Keyboard! I can't tell you how many times I have gone to fix a computer that somebody was having problems with and there was little bits of cookie and cracker smashed in under the keys making them stick. Take that can of air you just used on the inside of your machine, and hold your keyboard so that it is up on end, and blow out between all those keys. Don't hold it straight up and down or the food and bits will get blown back up into the keys then fall back into place when you set the keyboard down. Angle it at about 45 degrees.You might be good about not eating around your comp, but hey, everybody loves cookies, and you might see a piece of snicker doodle fly out from under the keys.

  • Mice. Not the little fuzzy kind, the kind you use with your computer. The problem is almost non-existent with newer optical mice (the red light making the pointer move. If you are unlucky enough to have a ball mouse (pretty self explanatory), first- just go buy a cheap optical and you won't have as many issues. Second- OK, so you want to hold on to it, maybe it was a present from your Great-Uncle Charlie you need to clean it, because the wheels inside the mouse can get jammed up pretty easy. You don't realize how dirty your hands have been, even if you wash them all the time, until you clean out a ball mouse. On the bottom of the mouse you will find two notches, push against em and turn to the right, should snap right off, but be careful not to loose that ball. Inside the mouse you will see three wheels, those wheels need to be cleaned! Take a Q-Tip and some rubbing alcohol, dip the Q-Tip in the alcohol and rub it gently on all those wheels. Give it a sec to dry after you've cleaned it and put the ball back in, after making sure it is cleaned as well, and snap that ring back into place. All done!

All the above things are the most common problem causers. People don't realize that computers need to be cleaned as well, they just chug along right? Nope, you need to clean them too. Imagine how hot you would get if you stood outside in Texas in the middle of August if you were all covered with dried up mud and you would have a good idea. Clean out your computer and you will notice it lives longer, runs better, and has a lot less problems then if you hadn't.

Here is a couple of life experiences:

A fella I knew had left an orange on top of his computer. He had forgotten about it and didn't realize it was still there until about 2 months later, when his computer died. The inside of his computer was covered with ants and gnats, all fried crispy. They had shorted out his computer innards. It took about 6 hours to clean up all the mess in there, but after it was all done, with a little luck, his computer started right back up again. Most of the time that would kill your computer, but he got lucky.

My Wife's computer was running really hot, and I was trying to figure out why. I used some software to check out and see that everything was running right, and it was. I opened up the side of her computer and to my amazement I saw that some ants had built up a nest in her heatsink (remember the fan that cools the processor) and it had stopped spinning. After cleaning everything out I ended up having to replace her heatsink fan, and then it ran cool as ever.

Keeping your computer clean is as important as keeping yourself clean, it, like your body, loves to be clean, it makes it run more efficiently and not have embarrasing issues (like the periphrials running off and dying cause of the smell).

About the Author:

Sean Wheeler
Small Biz Techno Geek 

Sean works at home designing IP Video Surveillance and Home Intrusion systems, writing articles, and managing 3 young children. Enjoys tinkering with technology and generally delving into every little detail imaginable whenever he gets into a project. 

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