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Clean keys: How to disinfect your laptop and computer

Keep computers clean and hygienic from screen to mouse with our guide on how to sanitise a computer.

Updated

open laptop on desk with blue notebook and orange vase of flowers

Key Steps

  • Always use a soft, lint-free cloth.

  • Use washing-up liquid and water for your keyboard.

  • Use mild detergent and water for your mouse.

  • Use white vinegar and water for your screen.

  • Use rubbing alcohol and a cotton bud to clean areas such as between the keys and rollerball mouse cavities.

We all know that washing our hands is important to help stop the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses. However, we often forget we should clean and disinfect areas and surfaces we use and touch the most. In this comprehensive go-to guide, we’ll show you exactly how to disinfect a laptop keyboard, screen and even the mouse too, to help you keep your computer parts clean and hygienic.

How to disinfect a keyboard, screen or mouse: The dos and don'ts

Firstly, before we show you our easy steps for how to clean a keyboard, screen or mouse there are some important dos and don'ts you should be aware of.

  • DO turn off your laptop or computer first.

  • DO disconnect your keyboard, screen or mouse if possible. This is a step that will mostly be used if you're using our steps as a guide for how to clean a mechanical keyboard or other wired product.

  • DO check the care instructions provides by the manufacturer to ensure you don't void any warranties.

  • DO take extra care with the laptop LCD screen as they are more fragile than the old glass screen on computer monitors.

  • DON’T spray liquids directly onto your keyboard and instead spray them onto a cloth.

  • DON'T oversaturate with any liquid cleaning products as these can cause damage to your device and invalidate warranties.

  • DON'T use bleach as a disinfectant when following steps for how to clean an Apple keyboard or other computer accessory.

  • DON'T use materials such as paper towels or rags as these could scratch the screen and other parts of your computer or laptop.

Before following our easy step-by-step guide for how to clean a laptop keyboard and other computer parts, always ensure that you switch it off and unplug it from the mains.

You will need:

  • Compressed air can
  • Hand-held vacuum
  • Soft cloth
  • Cotton bud
  • Water
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Rubbing alcohol

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How to clean Mac keyboard and other laptop or computer keys

Now you know the dos and don'ts of how to clean keyboard keys, and other computer parts it's time to get cleaning! Read on for our easy step-by-step guide for how to clean your keyboard. Firstly, you'll need to gather everything you need to follow our guide for how to sanitise a keyboard.

  1. Now it’s time to show you how to clean your computer keyboard.

    Start by turning the keyboard upside down.

  2. Be gentle!

    Gently but firmly tap the underside to dislodge any crumbs or larger dirt particles.

  3. Use a compressed air can.

    You’ll be able to purchase one from most specialist computing stores. Use it to blow clean air between the keys and loosen any other debris.

  4. Use a hand-held vacuum cleaner.

    Use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt you have loosened.

  5. Next, you want to clean the keys themselves, as you touch these often as you type.

    Mix together a couple of drops of washing-up liquid in a cup of water. Dip a soft cloth into the solution and use the damp cloth to gently clean the surface of your keyboard keys.

  6. Reach for that cotton bud.

    For harder to reach areas, such as between the keys, dip a cotton bud into rubbing alcohol and use this to clean those areas.

These steps apply for any brand and can be used as a guide for how to clean a MacBook keyboard. Why not check out our articles on how to clean an iPad screen or how to disinfect an iPhone for more specific advice for these other Apple gadgets.

How to clean computer and laptop mice

Now you know how to disinfect computer keyboard it's time to move on to the other accessories. Here we'll show you how to clean your laptop or computer mouse.

  1. Use these steps to understand how to disinfect a laptop trackpad:

    1. Use a bleach-free disinfect wipe.  2. Wipe the surface of the trackpad.

  2. Follow this guide for how to sanitise a computer optical mouse:

    1. Dilute mild detergent in water.       2. Dip a cloth into the solution.        3. Use the damp cloth to wipe over the mouse.       4. A compressed air can will help you remove any dust or dirt from the buttons.

  3. Finally, if you have an old-school rollerball, here's how to clean it:

    1. Remove the ball with care.       2. Roll the ball over a damp cloth. 3. Dip a cotton bud in rubbing alcohol. 4. Use a cotton bud to gently clean the rollers in the ball cavity. 5. Leave it all to fully air-dry before reassembling your mouse.

How to clean the screen on your laptop or computer

As long as you remember not to over saturate the screen with liquid, the steps for how to clean your laptop screen or computer screen are easy.

  1. First, grab these need-to-have items for how to clean a computer screen.

    You'll need a clean, dry, lint-free cloth (e.g. microfiber cloth) and a screen cleaner (why not make your own?).

  2. Always read the manual before you begin.

    Many manufacturers will provide cleaning instructions and you don't want to void your warranty!

  3. Be gentle!

    Use your dry, soft cloth to gently wipe the surface and remove any dust or loose dirt.

  4. For more stubborn dirt, we recommend using a screen cleaner.

    You can purchase specialist solutions or make your own with equal parts water and white vinegar.

  5. Never spray the cleaning solution onto the screen.

    Instead, dampen a clean, soft cloth with the solution and use it to clean the screen.

Has your cleaning regime changed during the Covid-19 lockdown?

Here we’ve given you easy steps for how to clean MacBook Pro keyboard and guided you through computer mouse disinfecting and more. Now you have all the tools you need to keep your computer or laptop – whether at work or home – clean and hygienic.

Originally published