The topic of interest today is “How often should I clean my laptop?” and the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
Have you ever looked into the air vents on your laptop? Do it now, do you see any dust? It’s likely worse on the heatsinks and fans and if you don’t clean it, your laptop is going to suffer performance issues or worse.
Following a routine cleaning schedule is the most beneficial thing you can do as a laptop owner. If you do it on a regular basis, it can save you money and frustration.
In this article, we will be going over proper maintenance routines, how to clean your laptop, the required tools, and what could happen if you don’t clean it. When we’re done, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to keep your laptop clean and running smoothly.
How Often Should I Clean My Laptop?
How Often Should I Clean the Inside of My Laptop?
This can be speculative, but as a general rule of thumb, we suggest cleaning your laptop every three to six months. It also depends on how often you use your laptop and for how long as well as where you use it.
Let’s say you’re a casual user, you don’t use your laptop every day, and when you do, it’s only light use and you don’t play hours of video games.
In this scenario, you can go six months or more without much of an issue, but even so, six months is the max we would recommend.
If you’re a heavy user and you play a lot of video games on your laptop, then you’ll want to clean your internals every three months max.
If you fall into the heavy gamer category, then we would recommend at least blowing out your vents every month with a can of compressed air such as Dust Off and doing a deep clean every three months. An easy way to remember when it’s time for a deep clean is to clean your laptop with the changing of the seasons.
Also, the environment where you use your laptop plays a factor. If you’re outside a lot, in a dusty environment, live with pets, or smoke cigarettes, your laptop is susceptible to more dust building up than it would otherwise.
If any of these pertain to your situation, we recommend following the same routine as the heavy gamer scenario–blow out your laptop monthly and do a deep clean every three months.
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How Often Should I Clean the Outside of My Laptop?
The outside of your laptop is where you interact with it all day, everyday, everywhere.
All the places you take your laptop to and all the surfaces you touch could have harmful bacteria, viruses, or even parasites. That’s not only gross but could be deadly, especially seeing as we’re still in a pandemic.
We suggest cleaning the exterior of your laptop every day you use it to keep your laptop looking nice and help prevent the spread of pathogens.
What Do I Need to Clean My Laptop?
You don’t need anything fancy to do routine cleanings. All you really need is a can of compressed air, some isopropyl alcohol, and a cloth–preferably of the lint-free microfiber variety.
But if you need to access the internals of your laptop, you’ll want to grab some tools or call a professional. Taking apart your laptop yourself can be risky. You could cause accidental damage or lose pieces, so you need to be careful.
If you feel like taking this challenge on yourself, we recommend buying a tool kit and watching as many how-to videos as it takes for you to be confident.
Due to the fact that each laptop manufacturer puts together their laptops differently, we can not go into detail on how to disassemble your laptop, so you’ll need to look for a guide on your specific model.
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How Do I Clean My Laptop?
Maintenance cleaning is easily done with a can of compressed air. Just spray for a few seconds into all of your laptop’s vents and try to get any dust out. But if you’ve had your laptop for a while, and have never cleaned it, it’s going to need a deep clean.
Deep cleaning your laptop will require some knowledge of laptops and patience because you’ll need to disassemble your laptop to reach the motherboard, fans, and heatsinks. If you’re the DIY kind of person, then there are loads of videos on YouTube of people taking apart laptops. Find one on your laptop and take notes.
If this is out of your comfort zone, there is bound to be a local electronics shop that will clean your laptop for a fee. They are usually pretty reasonable on price and uphold privacy, but look around and find a place you can trust with good reviews in your area.
The best way to clean the outside of your laptop is by using compressed air to blow out any dust or debris from inside your keyboard. Do this first so you don’t have to wipe everything down over and over. Never use a vacuum to clean your laptop. Vacuums can cause static buildup which could damage your laptop.
Next, you can use alcohol (we recommend a 50/50 mix) and a microfiber cloth, or any cloth really, just don’t use paper products because they leave behind the most lint. Lightly moisten the cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the keyboard down. Make sure not to use alcohol that’s too strong or it might remove the letters from your keycaps depending on the material.
Then wipe down the casing of your laptop, but not the screen. You want to leave the screen for last so it doesn’t get dusty when you blow everything out.
Clean your screen with a lightly moistened cloth by wiping in a single direction to prevent smearing, just keep wiping until it’s nice and clean. If you have junk stuck in the corners or edges of your display, use a clean paintbrush to gently wipe it off.
*Caution: If your laptop has an LCD screen you’ll want to only use water on your cloth. Alcohol will damage LCD screens.*
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What Will Happen if I Don’t Clean My Laptop?
The best thing you can do for your laptop’s performance and longevity is to keep it clean and free of dust. If you don’t clean your laptop regularly, dust can clog up the cooling system leading to performance loss and overheating.
Laptops are made to handle some heat but an excessive buildup of dust can make your laptop’s internal components run hotter than they were designed to, which can cause them to throttle down their performance in an attempt to cool down.
If your laptop gets too hot, the system will initiate an emergency shut down, leaving you with a black screen while it cools back down. If this happens too frequently, it might not turn back on because something has finally fried.
Don’t forget about the outside either. Keeping the outside clean is just as important as the inside, you don’t want to get sick.
That is why regular maintenance and cleanings are vital to your laptop’s survival. If you want your laptop to last for years to come, make sure to clean it often, inside and out.
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When asking the question: “How often should I clean my laptop?” you should consider how often you use your laptop, in what ways you use it, and in what environment. These all play a role in how often you should clean your laptop. But the best practice is to clean your laptop every three to six months.
With a proper cleaning schedule, your laptop will perform better and live longer than it would otherwise. With how much laptops cost, you want to make sure you protect your investment. And with our guidance, we hope we have given you the knowledge you need to make sure your laptop lives a long and useful life.
We hope you found this article helpful and welcome you to share your thoughts with us and the community in the comments below. If you’re still in a sharing mood, go ahead and share this article on social media so we can help other people. And if you need any help, please don’t be afraid to ask.