When you start working at your computer, whether it’s at home or at work, the first thing you do is probably not wash your hands. You probably grab a cup of coffee or tea, maybe a snack, and then you get to work. If you work in an environment where you share a computer with another person or multiple people, think about all of the hands that touch that computer too. Germs can come from along a commute, from food, from sickness… From anywhere, really.
Cleaning your computer from time to time can help cut down on the spread of germs. Other than sticking your keyboard in the dishwasher (don’t do that), what should you do to clean your computer?
Before starting your clean, make sure to adhere to these general tips:
- Make sure your computer is off before you begin cleaning. This way you’ll avoid hitting buttons that can change settings or otherwise on the computer.
- Never spray cleaner or solution directly on your device! Always spray into a cloth or paper towel. If you spray on the device, solution may go into the circuitry or ports of the machine and damage it.
Cleaning the Peripherals: Keyboard and Mouse
You’re going to want to clean the areas that get touched the most. After you remove your mouse and keyboard, make sure to clean the desk that they rest on. Then, you can start cleaning your peripherals.
Keyboard: Gently dislodge any particles inside the keyboard first by turning it upside down and shaking out as well as tapping out things that can be trapped it in. You can use compressed air to help, but if you do that, bring the keyboard outside so you don’t blow particles all over your workspace. Once that’s done, use a dampened cloth to wipe down your keyboard.
Mouse: The mouse is most likely easy. Wipe down the surface with your dampened cloth. If it has a wire, make sure to wipe down the wire too. You may also want to wipe down any mousepad you may have or replace it if it’s very old.
Cleaning the Computer Itself
Screen/monitor: Wipe down your screen once a week to avoid eye strain. If you have a monitor or screen that is covered in glass, using rubbing alcohol, glass cleaner, or otherwise will be fine to use, although if you are wiping a hand-held device, you may wipe away any water-resistant solutions applied by the manufacturer. If your monitor does not have glass over it or you are cleaning a TV screen, you will want to use special screen cleaning or a mild mixture of soap and water. Make sure to use a soft lint-free cloth as well so you don’t risk scratching it. Do not use your fingernails to remove stubborn stains.
CPU: If you have a tower system, you may want to, from time to time, unplug it entirely and pull it out. You will want to wipe off the outside case, at the least. You should also consider taking it outside and pulling off the outside cover, if possible, and blowing it out with compressed air. Take care to blow out or vacuum any air vents that could be clogged with dust and dirt, making your computer run more hot than usual.
Don’t forget things like telephones, printers, and otherwise that may be attached to the machine that get used often. Give those a quick clean too, especially over the frequently used buttons.
Great job! You’re helping contribute to a healthier workspace for you and others.