Mr. Clean to the rescue … literally

FI-Log-On-With-Larry-SchneiderDear Larry,

What’s the best way to clean my computer that won’t risk damaging the screen or any part of the machine itself? —K.B.

Dear K.B.,

While the physical cleaning of a computer is not necessarily my area of expertise (just ask my wife), I think I can offer you some guidelines for keeping your screen, keyboard, and mouse (or trackpad, in the case of a laptop) looking shiny and new.

But (and this is very important), in general, if your particular computer manufacturer disagrees with me, always let its advice prevail.

Start by turning off your computer and unplugging the power cord. Take a vacuum with a hose attachment, and carefully suck out any dust and debris that’s accumulated near the exhaust vents on the back or sides of the machine.

To clean the flat panel display of fingerprints and smudges, use a 100% lint-free cotton cloth (an old T-shirt will work) or a microfiber towel that’s slightly damp, and clean with light, even pressure. Special monitor or screen cleaning kits are fine, too, but don’t use alcohol, ammonia or any harsh chemicals as they may permanently damage the screen.

For your mouse or trackpad, buy a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (see, I wasn’t kidding in the headline) or similar product consisting of melamine foam. Moisten the sponge, squeeze out all excess water, and scrub away the germs and grease. Then use it on the rest of your house … it’s a great product.

Tackling the nooks and crannies of your keyboard may be the toughest part of this exercise. A keyboard vacuum and a compressed air can will do wonders. In a pinch, use a hair dryer set to cool. Then use slightly moistened Q-tips and little strips of Scotch tape or Post-It Notes to tackle the dust and crumbs that nestle between the keys.

Finish by using the dampened cotton cloth on the surface of the keys as well as the exterior surface of the computer.

Yes, my column this week is one large product placement, but these really do work and can help keep your computers looking clean.

This is Larry Schneider, logging off.


Larry Schneider is the owner of Accent on Computers, a Greenwich-based consulting firm — now in its 15th year of business — catering to individuals, businesses and professional offices. PC and Mac services include computer setup, training, troubleshooting, virus resolution, networking, Internet, database, and programming. Call 203-625-7575, visit or send email to [email protected]

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