How do I clean my laptop?

Unfortunately, unlike the standard desktop, a laptop is not as easy to open and clean. However, there are still several steps an end-user can do to clean and maintain their laptop or portable device.

Before cleaning any computer, we suggest the computer first be turned off and unplugged. Also, because you're going to be cleaning the laptop, we also suggest you removing the laptop battery.

Cleaning laptop case
Cleaning case openings
Cleaning laptop keyboard
Cleaning laptop mouse (touchpad)
Cleaning the LCD
Cleaning internal laptop components
Other cleaning information and help

Cleaning laptop case

Cleaning the exterior portion of the laptop case can help keep the laptop looking new. The exterior case of a laptop can be cleaned by using a damp cotton cloth that has been dampened with water. It is not recommended that the exterior case of the laptop be cleaned with household cleaning solutions. However, if there is a substance on the laptop that cannot be cleaned with water, we suggest using rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning case openings

If dust, dirt, hair, or other substances are in the case openings, it can prevent air from getting into or out of the laptop. This can cause the overall heat of the laptop to increase, and in some cases may also cause such issues as random reboots.

Look for laptop openings where the laptop draws in cool air from outside or blows out any hot air from the inside of the laptop. These openings are usually on one of the sides, the back, or the bottom of the laptop. Dust, dirt, hair, or other substances can almost always be removed using a cotton swab or compressed air.

Caution: If you're using compressed air to clean the openings that have fans within them, it's possible that the amount of air blown on the fans can cause them to over spin, damaging or destroying the fan. To help prevent this issue, place something in-between the fan blades, such as a toothpick.

Cleaning laptop keyboard

Like almost everything else on a laptop, a keyboard is also different from the standard computer keyboard. With many laptop keyboards the keys cannot be completely removed. Therefore, we suggest cleaning the keyboard by using the same damp cloth you used to clean the exterior case of the laptop. In addition, compressed air can be used to spray any dust, dirt, or hair from in-between the keys.

If you've spilt something onto the laptop keyboard (like a soda) that's causing the keys to stick and cleaning it does not help we suggest that you have the laptop repaired since the keyboard cannot be replaced.

Cleaning laptop mouse (touchpad)

Cleaning the laptop touchpad can help improve the look of the laptop and also many times will help improve the responsiveness of the touchpad. To clean the touchpad surface, use the same damp cloth used to clean the exterior of the laptop.

Cleaning the LCD

Additional information about cleaning LCD and flat panel displays can be found on our main cleaning page.

Cleaning internal laptop components

Cleaning the inside of a laptop computer can be a difficult task. However, in some situations, it may be necessary because of excessive dust and dirt buildup within the computer, such as on the processor's heatsink.

Unfortunately, however, because of the complexity often involved in disassembling the laptop to reach many of these areas, Computer Hope cannot provide this information online for every laptop ever made. If you believe after cleaning your computer that it is still overheating because of dust and dirt buildup, we suggest taking the laptop to an authorized repair center.

Other cleaning information and help

Additional information and help with cleaning other portions of computers as well as discs and other computer related peripherals can be found on our main cleaning page.

Additional information