Guides Laptops

The Best Ways to Clean Your Laptop

Please Note: As an Amazon Associate we earn a small commission for qualifying purchases from our site. Learn more about our editorial policies.


If there is one thing that is inherent to all laptops out, it is that they get dirty.  From the screens to the outside case to the keyboard, it doesn’t take long for a brand new laptop to become caked and covered with dirt and dust.  While you may think that your bathroom is probably the dirtiest room in your house, did you know that according to ABC News your keyboard is actually one of the dirtiest things you will touch each and every day.  This dirt and grime could even include some potentially dangerous bacteria such as E. coli and staph.  Who would ever think your laptop could make you sick?  But it can.

Whether you are a chronic hypochondriac, germaphobe, or just a regular every day guy or gal that want to make sure their computer is clean, then you will need to take the time periodically to properly clean your laptop so it not only looks good, but also it remains safe for you and potentially your kids to use.

Today, we will look at how you can properly clean your laptop so it is free from dirt, dust and grime and especially bacteria so your laptop looks great and stays safe for you to use day in and day out.

Benefits of Cleaning Your Laptop

There are actually many benefits to cleaning your laptop that go far beyond the obvious.  Regular cleaning of your laptop should be a part of any maintenance regime you perform on your laptop.  Basically, you should consider adding laptop cleaning to the same schedule as you do reboots, virus scans, and hard drive cleanouts.  Some of the most common benefits you will receive from regular laptop cleanings are:

  • Great looking laptop – This one is, of course, the most obvious benefit.  With regular cleanings, you can help your laptop look every bit as good as the very first day you brought it home.
  • Laptop free from bacteria – Keyboards are havens for bacteria, although admittedly the studies on computer keyboards are limited thus far. But do you really want to take a chance?  A simple cleaning using a lint-free cloth and alcohol can help your keyboard not only look its best but it can get rid of those pesky bacteria so you know for sure that your laptop is safe for both you and even your kids to use.
  • Better performance – When your computer parts and vents become clogged with dust, this can choke out your fans causing them to work harder. When processors heat up too much, they will slow down to cool off or even shut down entirely to protect themselves.  If you make sure your vents and computer components are dust free, you will find that your computer runs far better than it did before.
  • Less Heat – How many of you have set your laptop on your laptop only to get just a little burned? I know I have.  While you can’t stop this entirely, when your processor and other components are running more efficiently because they aren’t clogged with dust, they will run much cooler.  Less heat means fewer burns so you can use your laptop in your laptop (novel idea, I know) without getting burned or at least breaking a sweat every time you want to do a little work or play your favorite game.
  • Laptop will Last Longer – If you clean it regularly and remove all the dust that can impact performance, your laptop won’t have to work as hard and because it isn’t working as hard you will, most likely, get a little more life out of your computer before you have to deal with a pesky and decidedly inconvenient hardware failure.

What You Will Need

Before we begin, you need to pick up a few supplies so you can clean your laptop properly.  I don’t recommend substituting anything else in place of the items listed below.  If you do, you could accidently scratch your case, screen or damage some of the other components on your laptop.


Before You Begin

Once you have collected all the supplies you need, it is time to get started.  Before you get started, go ahead and shut down your laptop, unplug it, and remove the battery.  Take it from your workstation to another table and set it on a soft, lint-free cloth or towel.

Remove All Dust

First, you want to remove all the dust from your laptop both inside and out.  Feel free to begin anywhere, but I usually start with the keyboard.  Take the can of compressed air and slowly blow out the keyboard using the think nozzle to get in each between each of the keys.  Once you have completed the keyboard, feel free to go ahead and blow off any remaining dust on the screen and surrounding areas of the case.

Next, close the laptop and turn it to the side where the vents are located and gently blow out all the vents.  This will remove any dust that is potentially blocking air flow which could cause your laptop to overheat.

Finally, flip the laptop over and unscrew any of the covers on the back of the laptop.  This will usually expose your computer’s memory modules.  Blow out all of these areas to make sure there is no dust on any of the electronic components and then reseal the compartments.  Lastly, blow away any dust that remains on the bottom of the laptop.

Laptop Lid and Bottom Panel

Now that your laptop is dust-free, place on or two drops of Dawn on one of your cloths and mix it with just a little warm water.  Squeeze out the cloth so it is only damp making sure there is no water dripping from the cloth.  This is very important as the water and soap could damage the inside of the laptop if it is allowed to drip inside to the sensitive electronic components.  Once you have your cloth with soap ready, go ahead and wet lightly another cloth squeezing it out so it is only damp as well.  Remember, don’t let any water drip from the cloth.

Gently wash the lid and the bottom of laptop using your damp cloth with soap and then repeat the process with the cloth with just water so you are sure you have removed all of the soap from the case.  Once complete, take your dry cloth and wipe away any remaining damp spots to make sure it is dry.

Laptop Screen

Now, you could invest in one of those expensive laptop screen cleaners, but if you noticed I didn’t put that on your list of supplies.  The reason I didn’t is because in my experience your lightly soapy cloth does just as good a job on the screen as the cleaners.  What you do have to watch out for are streaks.

Using your cloth with soap on it, gently wipe either up and down or side to side across the entire screen making sure to remove any fingerprints or smudges on the screen.  Follow this up by again wiping the screen down with your damp cloth making sure you remove all the soap on the screen.  Finally, take your dry cloth and gently wipe across the screen taking the time to remove any streaks that have cropped up during the cleaning process.

Laptop Keyboard

Now comes the very last step in the cleaning process, but it is probably the most important.  Using the alcohol and a clean and dry lint-free cloth, gently rub across your entire keyboard.  Next, using the same alcohol and your cloth, clean each key thoroughly and in between the keys as well.  This will remove any dirt and grime from the keyboard and the alcohol will help to sterilize it removing any unwanted bacteria that could cause health problems down the road.


Well, there you have it.  It isn’t too difficult to clean your laptop after all.  I would suggest you perform this type of cleaning at least once or month with a few basic wipe downs in between the big cleanings.  Just remember to remove the power during this type of cleaning, otherwise you could damage your laptop when performing this deep clean.

While it is a little bit of extra work, you will no longer be embarrassed when others take a look at your laptop and you won’t have to worry about one of your most used pieces of technology ever getting you sick.  On top of that, you can keep the dust out of the inside of the laptop so air flows freely keeping the heat sensitive parts such as the processor and the graphics processor cool so you get better performance and reduce the risk of your laptop overheating which increases the risk of damage to these components.  So why not give your laptop a good deep cleaning today?  If you do, I promise you that you will enjoy using your laptop more than you do now and you will keep it in the best shape that it possibly could be for its entire life.

Of course, if your laptop is just old, no amount of cleaning will help.  If you are ready to begin shopping for a new laptop, visit our laptop buying guides to choose the best laptop for you.

By Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing on our sister ShopNinja sites where he enjoys talking about anything and everything tech.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *