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How Often Should You Physically Clean a Laptop?

Unlike desktops that remain in a controlled environment, laptops go everywhere we go, putting them at great risk for acquiring dust, dirt and debris. A filthy laptop can be a breeding ground for bacteria, particularly if you tend to use the laptop in public places like coffee shops and bookstores. Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule is the best way to ensure your laptop’s performance and protect yourself from harmful germs.


A dirty laptop poses a number of problems. Unwanted dust and dirt can clog the laptop’s cooling fan and contribute to potential overheating. Dust, pet hair and food particles may collect between the keys, making the keyboard unresponsive.

Spilled beverages leave behind sticky residue that further hinders keyboard function. Even proper laptop operation leaves the keyboard susceptible to bacteria and germs, all of which can transfer from your hands to your eyes, your mouth or the food you eat if proper precautions aren’t followed.


How often you should clean your laptop depends on how and where you use it. If you’re only using the laptop in a controlled, relatively clean environment, you may only need to clean it every three months. However, if you share the laptop or use it in public places and multiple environments, a regular monthly cleaning should be standard practice. If you smoke, have pets or tend to eat near your laptop, a quick weekly cleaning could benefit you and your laptop.


A thorough laptop cleaning requires a soft, lint-free cloth and some water or rubbing alcohol. Cotton swabs also come in handy for cleaning between keys and along plastic seams. A portable vacuum can prove invaluable for sucking dirt and debris from between keys and from congested vents and clogged cooling fans.


Opt for just water or rubbing alcohol over other solvents that could prove damaging to the plastic components. Never pour the water or rubbing alcohol directly on the laptop. Instead, dip the cloth into the chosen cleanser and then scrub the laptop clean. Use portable, battery-operated vacuums as opposed to electrical devices that could generate harmful static electric charge.

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