What is the best way to clean a laptop?


My laptop has gotten dirty/dusty to the point that I am actually self-conscious about it? I've feather dusted it (for real) which was fairly effective, but there is still detritus around the keys, speaker grills, vents, etc. I don't like using canned air, because it typically spits out liquid in my experience, and liquid + electronics = not so good. I also worry about how cold the canned air makes components. Are there compressed air options out there that don't spray out liquid, or are there easier ways to take care of cleaning up?

Topic: Hardware
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Vote Up (23)

Personally, I use compressed air to clean out my laptop, and desktops. The only time there is any moisture, is if I should tilt the compressed air can. Anyhow, your computer should always be off when cleaning it.
With that said, it all depends on how old your computer is, and that no amount of compressed air, or anything else will clean it. If you are having issues, like keystrokes not being recognized, etc., you may have a worn-out connection or the connector may be loose.
On more than one occasion, I've had to open my laptop up, remove, and reset the keyboard for it to function properly again, though this is a task that is not easily accomplished.

-Gus Miles

Vote Up (22)

I don't like using canned air either because of the moisture that spits out, though I must admit that it has never actually caused a problem for me.  The best thing that I have found is to use is a shop vac with airflow reversed.  You don't have to worry about the moisture like you do with the canned air, and the airflow is strong without being damaging.  You want to make sure the intake on the shop vac is clean, and I actually use a foam air filter from my off-road motorcycle that I found would stretch over the shop vac's intake to insure clean air.  If you flip over the laptop and blow the air through the intakes, I bet that you will be surprised how much dust and gunk comes out.  Do not use an air compressor.  You might get away with it, but there is a good chance that you will damage your cooling fan.  I've even seen fan blades broken off after someone used an air compressor.  Depending on the laptop, it may be worthwhile to take the keys off for cleaning, but while that can be an easy task on some laptops, it can be a real pain on others.  Just air will probably do it well enough with less effort anyway.  

Vote Up (18)

Here's a helpful video on how to clean your laptop:


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