5 Ways to Safely — And Responsibly — Disinfect and Clean Your PC

edited August 2023 in PC Tech

Whether or not you are particularly germophobic, the last couple of years dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic have given us an important reminder about how having a clean PC can save you a lot of grief. There are several different instructions and methods that should be considered when it comes to cleaning individual components, including your monitor, keyboard, and mouse. You will also need to know what kind of cleaning materials and chemicals can be used without risking damage to yourself or your PC. With these five ways to safely and responsibly disinfect and clean your computer, you can have your PC looking like new with a little bit of elbow grease and dedication. 

Do NOT Use Water, Bleach, or Other Kinds of Harsh Chemicals to Clean Your PC 

Although this will not come as a surprise to more experienced owners of valuable computer monitors, wiping valuable electronic equipment down with water is one of the easiest ways to damage your PC accidentally. This is especially true with delicate and intricately made technology like high-end monitors, many of which specifically state that water should never be used to clean them. Since excessive moisture and electronic circuitry are natural enemies at the best of times, the addition of other elements like various acids and sugars can cause lasting damage when used as cleaning agents. A tea stain is an excellent means of preserving a wooden floor, but not so much for your office PC. 

You should avoid using extremely caustic cleaning substances like bleach when cleaning your mouse, keyboard, monitor, or other components. While the smell of bleach is certainly comforting on a psychological level with its implied sanitation and cleanliness, you should strenuously avoid introducing any corrosive liquid into your personal computer or peripherals. 

To Avoid Scratches, Do NOT Use Rough Cloth or Paper Towels When Cleaning 

Although scratches to the exterior of your PC are almost impossible to avoid entirely, you should never be in a position where your own cleaning efforts can cause the thing you are trying to prevent. Not only are you risking causing permanent damage to your screen, which may be difficult, expensive and even impossible to repair, but you are also leaving behind fragments of paper or lint. These fragments can accumulate under open spaces, clog fan slots, and generally create a messy appearance. One of the best ways to avoid these issues altogether is by using microfiber cloths when cleaning or disinfecting your PC. Not only are these cloths purposefully made for cleaning electronic equipment safely, but they are also positively charged to pull negatively charged liquid, dirt, or dust from the surface of whatever PC components you are cleaning.  

Always Consult Your Owner's Manual Before Starting the Cleaning Process 

Since cleaning a smart TV's screen with water can cause irreparable damage, it is clearly stated in the owner's manual that doing so will violate the warranty. If you clean your PC using methods that are contrary to those identified by your PC's manufacturer, you could be setting yourself up for a massive repair bill or a total replacement. One of the most important factors in determining what kinds of cleaning products can be used is whether a glass case protects your PC's LCD screen or not. While glass screens can be sanitized using something like a Clorox wipe without having to worry about causing damage, doing the same thing to an unprotected screen could cause disaster. This is why you should never apply any cleaning liquid directly onto your monitor screen but rather to the cleaning cloths themselves.  

Only Use Isopropyl Alcohol of 70% Strength or Higher When Disinfecting 

 Contrary to the standard advice about using liquids on your PC, isopropyl alcohol is a notable exception for several reasons. In addition to being able to disinfect surfaces for 72 to 96 hours (depending on the physical materials involved), isopropyl alcohol is also designed to evaporate quickly without leaving any residue behind. You can apply alcohol using several methods, such as cleansing wipes infused with isopropyl or applying it to a cleaning wand or clean microfiber cloth. 

Ensure That Your Equipment is Powered Down Before You Begin to Clean 

Most computer users are wise enough not to attempt to introduce any kind of liquid to their PC while it is powered up, but it must be unequivocally stated that doing so is a terrible idea. Not only are you potentially putting your own health and safety at risk, but you could also cause significant damage to your PC and surroundings by starting an electrical fire. Therefore, your entire PC should be unplugged before you begin cleaning or sanitization, and individual components like your mouse and keyboard should be physically disconnected from any electricity as well. 

 You should also take care regarding the physical techniques you employ when cleaning to avoid accidentally causing damage. One helpful strategy is to wipe in a linear motion because wiping in a circular pattern will only serve to disperse contaminants over the largest possible surface area. You should also consider using compressed air to remove physical debris from underneath your keyboard before wiping it down. Finally, ensure that any excess moisture that leaks in between keys is promptly removed before any permanent damage is caused. 

 These five methods will help ensure that your PC, mouse, and other peripheral devices are clean, disinfected, and are looking sharp. Perform them regularly to help prevent any health issues or problems with your PC's performance. 


About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.


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