Do you keep swiping at your computer screen/monitor all the time? Is there dirt on the edges of your keyboard buttons? Does your computer mouse keep sticking to the table often? How thick are the layers of dust over your computer’s hardware equipment?
Just like any piece of furniture, your computer is bound to collect dust and dirt over time. The most concerning thing however, is the stuff you can’t even see. What about bacteria and fungi? Hundreds and thousands of disease causing pathogens are floating around on dust and water particles around you. Over a period of several days or weeks, the concentration of such organisms might become high enough to cause a major infection in your body! Commonly referred to as germs, these bacteria and fungi might start forming colonies rapidly on your computer hardware – especially around particles of food or dead insects like ants and flies. Do you always wash your hands with soap before using the computer? Just think of all the germs you might be bringing to the desktop or laptop each day.
Now that we understand the cause of our concern, let us learn about how to keep the laptop or desktop computers clean and disinfected. Cleaning a piece of equipment with as many electronic components as a computer has to be done carefully so as not to damage it or get an electrical shock!
Air-conditioned or simply closed rooms are far less likely to gather dirt and dust, but when you touch the components, you might be transferring some germs inadvertently. So, clean your computers regardless of that.
Cleaning Your Desktop Computer
Typically, a desktop computer system consists of:
- Printer and/or Scanner
- Internet Modem
- UPS or backup power unit
- External Speakers and Headphones
- Connecting Cables
- Table or Cabinet
Steps of cleaning a desktop PC or computer system:
- First and foremost, switch off the computer and disconnect the power supply to each of the hardware components including the UPS or backup power unit and internet modem.
- Remember that some parts of the PC equipment might have static charges, so do not sit on or touch the floor and wear slippers. Especially CRT (old box-like) monitors, in which the static charge also attracts more dust. Make sure you wipe CRT monitor screens with a woolen cloth or duster to remove the static charge before wiping it.
- Wipe the surfaces gently in short, linear strokes with a soft (preferably cotton) cloth instead of rubbing or scratching.
- All the components have a well-defined boundary between the inside and outside, and you’d be better off cleaning the outside with a moist cloth and some disinfectant spray.
- Clean the inside, only if possible without twisting or dismantling the hardware, with a dry cloth on which volatile disinfectant has been sprayed sparsely.
- Spraying too much liquid on the cloth or directly on the hardware might cause short-circuiting or some other problems later.
- Repeat the wiping process again, just to make sure the germs have been removed and all the surfaces of the components have been cleaned.
- While cleaning the cables, use a bit more disinfectant and curl your fingers tightly over the cloth covering the cable so as to apply more pressure.
- Use brushes and cotton buds for reaching through narrow places instead of sharp instruments like scissors, knives and pens.
- After cleaning the screen, make sure you don’t accidentally touch it again. This is to avoid getting blurry display.
Cleaning Your Laptop Computer
While it might seem easier at first, always remember that the level of integration in any laptop is higher than any ordinary desktop computer. So, the boundary between inside and outside may be less obvious. You need to be more careful about not using too much liquid anywhere. Again, use gentle and short, linear strokes to wipe all the surfaces including the webcam opening. Cleaning the keyboard buttons and touch-pad in a laptop is very essential, since that is what you touch most often! Also, the instructions mentioned above for desktop PCs are also applicable to laptops.
The stubs used for keeping the laptop, mouse and keyboard raised (usually made of rubber) gather the most dirt over time, and must be cleaned more often than the other components.
Once you have cleaned your computer system fully, make sure you wash your hands with soap each time before using it.
Let us know about how you clean your desktop or laptop computer.