Cleanliness is very important in just about all that do. We take time to clean our homes, our cars and even do a fair amount of cleaning in our work places. Computer cleaning is often over-looked. Our computers have become such an integral part of our lives, yet we often forget something as simple as cleaning. Computer cleaning is important for two main reason.
- Reduce the spread of germs and avoid health issues.
- Maintain and prolong the performance of the computer.
Computer Cleaning to reduce germs and health risks
There are several things to consider when computer cleaning with germ reduction and your health as the goal. You would be surprised at the amount of germs and bacteria that your computer collects. Experts say the there are more than 7000 organisms hidden in your keyboard! f that is not enough, your mouse can have three times more germs than a toilet seat. Keyboards and mice are the most commonly contacted areas of a computer but just think of how many times you touch your printer and other peripherals. Just imaging how these number skyrocket when you consider computers and printer/copiers that are used by multiple people.
Here are a few good practices to reduce germs on your computer:
- Get the ‘junk’ out of your keyboard. Take your keyboard and hold it upside-down over a trash can. Lightly tap the back of the keyboard and notice all the dirt, crumbs and other debris that will fall out of your keyboard! Take a little extra care with laptops (so you don’t drop it) but the same technique can be used. A small computer vacuum or canned air can help with this as well but the method I just described seems to work best. Use a damp disinfectant wipe (wring out excess liquid) to wipe off the keys of the keyboard and the bezel area surrounding the keyboard
- Use disinfectant wipes to wipe your keyboard, mouse and other frequently touched surfaces on your computer. You want a damp disinfectant wipe so wring out any excess liquid. Avoid using bleach or any other harsh chemicals. Generally, alcohol is a great disinfectant for use on computers. It kills germs and it evaporates quickly, further reducing the chance of damage caused by excess liquids getting into your keyboard or other computer parts.
- Clean your monitor. This is even more important if you have a touch screen monitor. Use a clean microfiber cloth dampened with water, commercially available monitor cleaning solution or a mix of water and vinegar (1:1 ratio); ringing out all the excess liquid. Many people say that you must use distilled water on monitors, but my experience has been that tap water will work fine. Distilled water has less dissolved minerals but I have never had any adverse effects from using tap water.
- Clean all exterior areas that you contact regularly. These may include your power button, the CD/DVD drive, your speakers volume knob, or things like styluses if you use them.
- Remove dust build up on your computer tower. A damp cloth is good for wiping the exterior down and can air can but used to blow vents and fan areas. Dust build up can affect your allergies and cause some other respiratory stress.
Computer Cleaning to maintain good performance
Computers have fans that are necessary to keep your processor and other components cool and performing optimally. These fans move air and along with the air comes dust!, hair and other dirt. Our computers are often in dusty locations as well. Our towers often sit on the floor under a desk and we often operate our laptops in bed or on the couch. The interior of your computer is a dust and dirt magnet. Dust, dirt, hair, and other debris can build up on fans and heatsinks, causing components to run hotter and less efficient. In some cases dust and dirt build up can cause components to over heat and fail. Power supplies are an example of a computer component that is often damaged by excessive build up. Components loosen or become unseated and thermal paste can break down and becomes ineffective. All these things can lead to hardware issues with your computer.
Here are a few good practices to reduce dust and dirt build up:
- Clean the case interior. The tools needed to clean the case interior are a can of compressed air, cotton swabs and a pair of tweezers. Avoid contact with components, cables and wires as much as possible during the cleaning process. Unplug your computer. Remove the access door to your computer to expose the interior. Use your fingers and the tweezers (for tight areas) to remove any large particles or dust balls. Use the can air to remove dust around components (be sure to keep the nozzle of the can air about 4″ from any of your interior components). Blow out any dust or debris that collected around each fan installed, including the case fans, the power supply fan and the CPU fan. Hold a cotton swab between the fan blades to prevent the fan from moving while using the compressed air. Once each of the fans and components have been thoroughly cleaned, use the compressed air to clean out the layer of dust and debris that accumulates along the bottom of the tower during the cleaning process. Replace the computer access door.
For Laptops canned air is the best tool. Thoroughly blow out the fan vent and any other areas that you see dust build up.
- Remove dust build up from CD/DVD drives
- Inspect all computer ports (Ethernet port , SD card slots etc.) for dust and use the canned air to blow them out. Dust can cause bad connections between your ports and the corresponding cables or devices. The internal parts of your disc drives can be stressed by excessive dust as well.
In conclusion, we live in a ‘dirty’ world and there is no way to avoid all germs, bacteria or dirt, but we can take steps to reduce our exposure. We can prevent the spread of germs and by extension, illnesses by practicing good cleaning habits with out computers and peripherals. Computer cleaning also goes a long way in helping your computer maintain good performance.
If you are not comfortable with going inside your computer or have a fleet of computers that need to be cleaned. Visions Business Services can help.
Author: Keith Barney