Keep it Clean: What’s Lurking in Your IT Equipment?

Office life requires we use a computer every single day – but how often do we clean our equipment? Cleaning is something that’s often overlooked when it comes to technology, but if you knew exactly what was lurking under those keys, or inside your laptop screen, you might be horrified! Here’s how to clean a laptop screen, keyboard, and mouse, so that you can keep your equipment working well and remaining relatively (and reassuringly) dirt-free. Before you start, though, remember to unplug your computer!

hardware cleaning tips

How to Clean a Laptop Screen

Do you really want to know what’s lurking on and around your laptop screen? Probably not. If you use a touchscreen tablet as a laptop with an attached keyboard, you might want to sit down for this: there are around 600 units of the staph virus on the average touchscreen device, according to Which? – more than is found in the bathroom! The good news for non-touchscreen laptop users is that your screen is likely to be much cleaner, but see those dead pixels on your LCD? Are they really dead, or is the inside of your monitor just covered in dust and dirt? It’s well worth checking out, as a quick clean could make a huge difference.

Knowing how to clean a laptop screen is a simple and effective way to help ensure your machine functions as well as it should. A clean, dry, microfiber cloth will do the job well – simply wipe the cloth across the screen lightly, avoiding pressing too hard. This will remove the majority of dust, but if you feel your screen may be a source of bacteria, LCD cleaning solutions will help sanitise the area.

Cleaning the inside of a laptop screen is a little trickier, so it’s best you take your computer to a professional if you suspect you have dust on the inside of your screen. Go to the shop you bought the computer from, or the manufacturer.

Mouse & Keyboard: Bacteria Party Central

If you think laptop screens are bad for harbouring potentially nasty germs and bacteria, you might not want to know what’s lurking on your keyboard and mouse. Bacteria easily transfers from your hands to the keys with every touch, so whatever’s on your hands will make its way onto your IT equipment soon enough. Studies have found that many keyboards not only have traces of the staph virus, but also salmonella and e. coli, which can leave you feeling anything from slight nausea through to painful stomach cramps. And it’s not just your health that’s a concern either – a build up of dirt and dust can render your keyboard practically useless if the keys begin to stick.

Keyboards and computer mice should be cleaned regularly, and the best way to reduce dirt build-ups and traces of bacteria is through maintenance and preventative measures. Use a can of compressed air to blow away dust from both the top and bottom of the keyboard and mouse, and use a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol to work in between the keys and ball to ensure each is as clean as possible. Every so often, it’s well worth giving your keyboard and mouse a thorough cleaning, too. Unplug the keyboard and carefully remove the keys, and then go over the keys and the board carefully with a soft microfiber cloth moistened (only slightly) with rubbing alcohol. Dry with a clean cloth and reassemble.

Protect Your Health, and Your Technology

Employing good cleaning practices in the home and in the office isn’t just about protecting your health and the health of those around you: it’s also about doing your part to elongate the life of your technology. Many users overlook the importance of cleanliness and good hygiene around IT equipment, because dust and germs aren’t direct causes of malfunction. Contrary to popular belief, a bit of dirt can’t short your circuits. What it can do is clog vents and create added insulation – factors that can contribute to overheating and subsequent issues surrounding operation. It’s not difficult to keep your computer and its components clean – so there’s no excuse!

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