How to Safely Disinfect Your Laptop & Protect the Keyboard from Debris

Did you know? The keyboard of your laptop can be the dirtiest among your stuff. Surprised?

Yes, that is true. Imagine all the things that your hands get in contact with every single moment at work, all these soot meet up on your keyboard and stay there until they can. If your laptop shows a trace of oil, coffee stains, food particles, and dust; it’s time to clean up. Learn how to safely disinfect your laptop.

cleaning the laptop

As a teacher, your computer is always next to you for all the planning, lecturing, and collaborating with students more efficiently. Even at home, you are in front of your laptop for work assignments, right?

The germs that are inside your laptop’s keyboards can be coming from dust, crumbs, fingerprints, pet hair, sticky residue, and in some rare cases, bugs. If you have the best tech tools already, the next smart thing to familiarize yourself with is how to keep them clean and sanitized.


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How to Safely Disinfect Your Laptop Screen and Keyboard

Step 1: Turn your device off

When you are cleaning any electronic devices, the first step should always to turn them off. This way, you avoid any complications in your laptop software such as a weird combination in your keyboard that may result in a bug. While you’re at it, unplug it off the socket as well to avoid getting electrocuted.

Do you really have to turn everything off?

This is recommended. Cleaning the keyboard definitely requires touching the keys. Not switching off may end up hitting command characters or a shortcut key you are not familiar with and end up with your computer doing weird things. Worst is, you might unintentionally erase important data.

If you’re deep cleaning the keyboard using wipes or any cleaner, the best way to do this safely is to keep the power off until you’re done. Even when merely dusting, it remains safe to do it with the laptop off.

Step 2: Get rid of debris

In this step, gently turn your laptop upside-down and let the crumbs, dust, and tiny particles fall off the keyboard. Another way you can get the crumbs out is by using a slime, and you stick it to the keyboard and picks up the gunk.

If that doesn’t work, use a vacuum to suck the debris. Make sure to use the lowest power in the vacuum to avoid sucking up your keycaps. Another way you can get all the debris on your keyboard is by using a can of compressed air. By spraying it in a zigzag motion and hitting all sides of each key, you are making sure that all the debris is getting sucked up. Always remember to not spray the air directly under the keycaps because it can damage the electronics inside.

If that still doesn’t do the job, you can just take the keys off and clean them. But make sure your laptop is hot-swappable, meaning the keys are removable.

computer cleaners

Step 3: Simple Disinfecting

One way you can clean your keycaps is by wiping them with a damp cloth that’s slightly wet but not dripping. A soaked cloth may drop moist underneath the keys and pose damage to the underlying hardware. It is much better if you are doing this with a microfiber cloth.

When using wipes, ensure that they don’t have any bleach content, or they might ruin the quality of the keycaps. If you don’t have any wipes with you, a soft cloth–alcohol combination could work as well. Carefully wipe each keycap and make sure you wipe every single area.

Spray a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a cloth or towelette and use it to clean the tops of the keyboard keys and their surrounding areas. A hand sanitizer can help get rid of greasiness and hard-to-remove filth. In a single swipe, you will get clean, smudge-free, and smooth-to-touch keys. Use a dry lint-free cloth to polish.  Again, a microfiber cloth is best recommended.

For homemade solutions, mix 50/50 parts of white vinegar and distilled water – this is effective for heavier cleaning. Note that plain white vinegar is different from apple cider vinegar. This is ideal for stubborn fingerprints and in sanitizing non-porous surfaces. Never use bleach.


The ideal cleaner is actually plain water. It is chemical-free and proven gentle in cleaning your computer. Dip your lint-free or any soft cloth in a plain soapy mixture. Wring out properly to avoid water streaks or droplets. Use the cloth for cleaning. Rinse out the cloth with clean water and wipe the soapy traces from the surface. Use a clean dry cloth to dry everything.

While baby wipes are known gentle, they’re not intended supposed to be used on computer screens. The most suitable for cleaning computer screens are microfibre cloths. Use them dry or damp – they would not leave lint stains behind.

Glass, Warning, Care, Packaging, Handle

Tips to Handling with Care

1. Begin with care in the mind. Don’t rush. One sweep of a damp cloth is enough to get rid of dust and powdered particles in every part of your computer. When cleaning the screen, sweep as light as you can go. Control the urge to scrub or you could cause pixel burnout. Continue wiping in gentle swipes. This technique will leave every part glossy and spotlessly clean.

2. When applying pressure on deep-seated grimes, Cover a fingertip with the damp cloth and do circular strokes on the blemished or problem area. You can spray more cleaner onto the cloth and continue massaging the area in gentle strokes. Treating your laptop this way helps avoid damaged portions, cracked circuit boards, or at least broken hardware.

3) When using disinfectants, make sure to wring out the disinfecting cloth or wipe before touching the surfaces and take extra care not to touch open areas like ports. One sweep is enough to sanitize the device.

4) Use a computer tiny brush as a broom. Sweep every edge of keyboards. Include the underlying area. The soft computer broom is designed with fibers that can gently bend and twist you’ll be able to lift up some of the tougher and hard-to-reach spots. This will take care of dust and loose grains under the keycaps.

5) Is vacuuming safe? Yes—this is ideal for sucking out all sorts of debris, particularly on the keyboard and sides of the screen. However, do it with the highest care and only use the most appropriate vacuum. Your keyboard has pop-off keys or other components that a typical home vacuum might suck up. Look for vacuum cleaners designed for computer cleaning.

6) The Dont’s:

False, Error, Missing, Absent, X, Red Don’t spray a cleaner directly on your screen or keyboard as moisture can seep into the device’s edges or underlying hardware. The right way is to spray the solution onto your cloth cleaner.

False, Error, Missing, Absent, X, Red Don’t use harsh glass cleaners as they contain chlorides and ammonia that can leave a glare-causing film. An eyeglass cleaner, for example, is not designed for a computer screen, as well as harsh home cleaning solutions. Computer screens are made of glass but it is very delicate. While some users say that a little of everything is fine, it still is not advisable when it comes to computer safety.

False, Error, Missing, Absent, X, RedDon’t use paper towels or newspapers. While they are great in cleaning glass mirrors, they can be abrasive on your computer screen. LCD screens can easily get scratches without you noticing them. It only pays to avoid circumstances that cause them harm.

False, Error, Missing, Absent, X, RedDon’t leave your surfaces without drying out the wet traces of any solution. After wiping down with something wet, make sure to dry off with another cloth, but this time it is dry.

7) Work with clean hands every time.

This is plain logical and obvious – always work on your computer with clean hands. Wash and soap your hands especially after eating as this is the main cause of greasiness on the keys. Even at times when you think your hands are clean, chances are you have touched something dusty.

I myself hate to see the TAB, ENTER, and DEL keys with a greasy trace of fingertips. I tried washing my hands before starting to work on my laptop and every after I eat like munching chips. However, constant hand-washing seems lacking, I bought a plastic top cover for my keyboard part so my fingers will not directly be touching them, and it worked!

The constant hand-washing and the creativity I got,  saved my keyboard and keys from looking so worn out. What about the gunk and grunge that comes every day? I have a good stopper – my plastic top covering.

keyboard protector

I can eat chips without the worry of debris falling in between keys or leaving fingerprints on my keyboard


In Essence

Cleaning your laptop requires extra loving tender care than the rest of your electronic devices. If there are things you should avoid entirely are abrasive cleaners and too much moisture that touches the device. More so, the most common form of cleaners is not meant for disinfecting, so you might think that it’s not killing germs.

Safely disinfecting your computer surfaces means you could either use a disinfectant wipe or spray onto a cloth for wiping. Most of all, so long as you maintain the cleanliness of your device, a weekly or twice-a-week cleaning with a mild solution makes everything all good.


Clean your laptop using soap, water, and other ways. Watch the video below.


1) What can I use to clean my laptop screen and keyboard?

I suggest the following materials:

  • Microfiber cloth – is made from very small fibers that grip and lift grime, grease, liquids, and other forms of dirt. 
  • A soft paintbrush – is made of bristles that can safely sweep dust and small particles and debris from under the keys.
  • Cotton or foam swabs – when moist, are excellent tools for wiping deep-seated dirt in your keyboard, including the mouse.
  • Disinfecting wipes – are towels saturated with diluted disinfectant and safe even on computer’s glass screens.
  • Isopropyl alcohol – wipes out stains, and oil residue from fingertips. It quickly evaporates so no liquid gets inside the device.
  • Compressed air –  is a canned air cleaner used to remove dust and dirt from electronics. A few short bursts of air will do.

Find the best screen cleaners for all your devices.

2) Is canned air safe for laptops?

Yes. Using canned air is safe. In fact, an air duster is typically a tool used on electronics. It is best to spray them not closer than 1 inch from your device’s internal parts. For best results, keep the can angled right-side-up when spraying.

3) Why is it important to turn off your laptop before cleaning?

Turning off your laptop before cleaning is for safety purposes. This allows you to get into nooks and ridges that may not be safe when your pc is powered up. This will also prevent injury to you or damage to your device if some liquid touches some electronic parts.

4) How often should I clean my laptop keyboard?

If you use your computer regularly, your device will get dirty. Once a week is ideal. Although it’s fine to wipe the keys with a soft cloth every day, using alcohol or disinfecting wipes every day might not be advisable for a laptop.

5) Do you have tips on how to disinfect a laptop?

Using a 70% alcohol-based solution remains the most recommended. Dampen a microfiber cloth or a cotton swap with the alcohol-based disinfectant and carefully wipe external surfaces. Start with the screen down to the keyboard. Do gentle strokes. Most of all, be extra careful not to allow water or solution to drip onto the keyboard’s internal components.

6) Are there homemade solutions for cleaning a computer?

For homemade solutions, mix 50/50 parts of white vinegar and distilled water – this is effective for heavier cleaning. Note that plain white vinegar is different from apple cider vinegar. This is ideal for stubborn fingerprints and in sanitizing non-porous surfaces. Never use bleach.

7) Can I use hand sanitizer to clean my laptop screen?

Yes. Hand sanitizer is safe for cleaning away grime, fingermarks, and smudges on your computer screen. In fact, it makes a good glass cleaner. You will get smudge-free computers, tablets, and mobile devices with a simple spray and wipe.

8) Why use DIY screen cleaners?

DIY screen cleaners use ingredients that are in the kitchen. Meaning, they do not contain harsh components or chemicals like those you can find in store-bought cleaners. Since DIY cleaners are homemade, they are easy to prepare, safe for you, your family, and your device.

Do you have special cleaning tips you want to share? Leave them in the comments.