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This Help! section includes information and recommendations cleaning your computer and computer equipment.


Cleaning Tips


Computers     Monitors     Keyboard / Mice     Scanner / Fax     Printers


Hereís a few tips of how to keep your computer equipment clean and what to use to clean it safely.

All of our equipment is subject to everyday dirt, dust, pet hair, and greasy fingerprints. PCís run hotter, monitors grew dimmer, keyboard or mouse buttons stick, printers jam and print poorly, and scanners produce poor quality/dusty/scratchy images.

Computer cleaning:
Todayís computers run faster and hotter than every before. Heat build up inside of your computer can be dangerous to the integrity of the internal components. This heat build up is typically due to restricted air flow caused by dust and pet hair. We recommend a thorough inside cleaning once a year. More often if the environment involves animal hair or excessive dust.

Static electricity is a concern when cleaning the inside of your computer. If you are uncomfortable with the risk involved, you may just ask a professional to do these cleaning tasks.

Laptop cases should only be cleaned with a microfiber cloth or with special cleaning wipes made for laptops. Also see keyboards and monitors for more information.

Most PC cases can be cleaned with common gentle cleaning solvents. Be aware of acrylic cases or windows with the PC case. Acrylic can scratch easily with certain solvents even when using a soft cloth. It is best to use a cleaner deemed safe for acrylic surfaces for any of these clear surfaces. Vacuum the outside vents to remove dust; donít use compressed air that will blow the dust in.

To clean to inside of your computer, remove the power cord from the system. It is best to perform this cleaning on a kitchen table preferably with a floor that is not carpeted to avoid static electricity. Also, hold on to metal portion of the computer case at all times while cleaning the inside of your computer. In addition, a plastic vacuum hose can discharge static so use caution not to touch the boards inside with the nozzle.

Remove the cover from the PC and vacuum any visible dust adhered to the inside of the removed cover. A can of compressed air may be used to spray the case, power supply, and CPU cooling fans. Keep the air nozzle at least 2Ē away from the fans. Then, vacuum any dust inside the case beginning near the top, working down toward the bottom. Never use compressed air to spray dust/dirt into the drives on the front of your computer. Special cleaning disks can be used to clean dirty optical and floppy drives.

Monitor cleaning:
A CRT monitorís glass face may be coated, and an LCDís face is plastic. Both require special care when cleaning. First, clean with a microfiber cloth or a monitor-cleaning brush. The microfiber cloth may be dampened with warm water for tougher cleaning, but be sure to use a dry microfiber cloth after. Vacuum the vents to remove dust; donít use compressed air that will blow the dust in.

Avoid common ammonia-based cleaners such as glass cleaner, or Windex! (Ammonia can etch or cloud your screen permanently.) Also be careful of display-cleaner sprays and wipes as some are not safe for certain monitors. Your best bet; make something you know is safe.


Make your own cleaner: Use a solution of diluted isopropyl alcohol, no more than a 50% solution. Mix 1 part water and 1 part 90% isopropyl alcohol. Put in a small spray/sprits bottle and keep it handy for future cleaning. Wipe with a microfiber cloth. (This is virtually the same solution as Meridrew's 'Klear Screen' and Kensington 'Screen Guardian' cleaning solution.)

Vacuum the keyboard lightly and use a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water or a cleaning wipe. Rub gently (especially on laptops) so a key does not get pried off, or worse yet - vacuumed up!

Use a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water or a cleaning wipe for the body of mice. Vacuum or spray compressed air on the rollers and housings of roller-ball mice. Clean the glides on optical mice wit rubbing alcohol. (Never use rubbing alcohol on the ball of roller-ball mice.)

Scanners/Fax machines:
Use a dry lint-free cloth moistened with warm water or a mild glass cleaner of the flatbed surfaces. Ammonia or isopropyl alcohol based cleaners may leave streaks.

Sheet-fed scanners and fax machines can be gently vacuumed to remove any dust or pet hair. Run a sheet of fax or scanner cleaning sheets thru the device a few times. If accessible, wipe the rollers with a cloth saturated with clear rubbing alcohol. The scanning elements if accessible may be cleaned with a dry lint-free microfiber cloth.

Most print quality problems are cured with new toner or ink cartridges. But if your cartridges are fairly new and your output is still sub par, try these steps.

On inkjets, run the light cleaning cycle, then the deep cleaning cycle. (These cleaning cycles are found within the software loaded in your computer for each specific printer.)

On laser printers, use laser-specific cleaner sheets. (Use the directions that come with the sheets.) A vacuum can be used to clean any open area, but donít disassemble the printer.

Final Thoughts:
If your first pass at cleaning doesnít unstick the keyboard, or make your floppy or CD drive work, then it is probably time to purchase a new one. This can also be true for other drives, mice, older scanners, and inexpensive printers.

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