Ever caught yourself searching online how to clean a laptop screen and keyboard? Well, you’re in luck because that’s what we will be talking about today!
Firstly, we’ll take a look at how to clean the screen and keyboard of your laptop in six simple steps. After that, We’re going to learn how to clean your laptop’s keyboard after an accidental spillage, along with some alternative chemicals used for cleaning laptops and what mistakes you should avoid.
And last but not least, we’re going to be answering some commonly asked questions in the FAQ section.
Without any more delay, let’s get down to it.
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How to clean laptop screen and keyboard safely in 6 easy steps
Step 1: Prepare your laptop for the upcoming cleanup
Before everything, shut down the laptop and switch the power off. We don’t want any liquid cleaning agents to short out the circuits.
After that, unplug the laptop and remove any peripheral devices connected to it. That includes USB hubs, external keyboards & mouses, and cables (like HDMI).
If your desk is dusty, it’s better to take the laptop and clean it elsewhere for the time being. There’s no point cleaning the laptop if it’s kept at a dirty place, right? And yes, do clean your desk too before placing the laptop back in its original place.
Step 2: Easy thing first, start with the body
While the keyboard and display of the laptop can be very delicate, the body (AKA case) is comparatively stronger and can handle some tough cleaning.
That being said, don’t actually start abusing your laptop in the name of cleaning. Make sure to avoid harsh chemicals and not pour liquids directly onto the laptop. The cleaning solution should be applied on the microfiber cloth or sponge, not the laptop itself.
How to make the cleaning solution
Either use purified (filtered) or distilled water along with a few drops of mild dish soap or mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol to make your own cleaning solution.
This solution is only to be used on the case, don’t use it on the screen or any other sensitive part of the laptop.
Cleaning the case
- Take a microfiber cloth and apply the cleaning solution to it. It should be damped, so if there’s any excess liquid – squeeze it out.
- Wipe the surface gently in a circular motion. When it dries out, rinse the cloth with the cleaning solution again and repeat the process.
- After you’re done with the whole case, wipe it with a dry cloth, so there’s no leftover cleaner on it.
- Take a moment to admire the shininess!
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Step 3: Then clean the screen and webcam, but be careful
This step is such an important one because come on, is there anything more annoying in the world than a dirty screen and blurry webcam feed?
But you must also be very, very careful as it’s so easy to damage them while cleaning. Let’s start with the cleaning solution.
Which cleaning agent should you use for cleaning a laptop screen?
Since laptop screens and webcams are known to be delicate, it’s best to use a purpose-made cleaning solution. Do not use anything harsh like ammonia-based cleaning solutions that might damage the glass surface.
If you were wondering, yes, you should also use a laptop screen cleaning solution for the webcam.
Five laptop screen cleaners we recommend
- Screen Mom Screen Cleaner Kit
- Eveo Screen Cleaner
- Calyptus Screen Cleaner
- Optix 55 Screen & Electronic Cleaning Wipes
- iRoller Screen Cleaner for Touchscreen
How to clean the screen and webcam
- Take a dry lint-free microfiber cloth and wipe the dust off.
- Spray some laptop cleaning solution on the cloth and then wipe the display and lens of the webcam gently, like you’re wiping the skin of a baby.
- If there’s a stain, keep wiping it till it goes away. Apply very light pressure, but not too much.
- After you’re done with both the screen and the webcam, take another dry microfiber cloth and wipe off the remaining solution. Don’t let it dry up there; else, there will be stains.
- Allow the display and the webcam some time to dry completely before touching them again.
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How to clean your touchscreen laptop
Touchscreen laptops can be wonderful for productivity and graphic design as you get to do a lot of work with just intuitive finger touches. However, they also tend to get dirty faster for the same reason.
You might have never noticed this before, but your fingers produce a lot of oils for keeping your skin healthy. So when you touch the screen, some of the oil gets transferred to it. The oil can attract dust and stains over time, making your touchscreen gross.
The good news is touchscreen displays don’t require any special cleaning methods or materials. So, you can use the same procedures we’ve discussed above to clean your touchscreen laptop.
Having said that, since they tend to be more oily than regular screens, you’ll probably need to wipe the screen for a bit longer until it’s fully clean. Don’t rush; take your time and wipe the screen very softly.
Step 4: Clean the keyboard from the outside
The keyboard is often the dirtiest part of a laptop, which has everything to do with the fact that it’s the most frequently touched part of a laptop. That’s why cleaning your keyboard every once in a while can be a huge workflow boost as your typing experience would be increasing greatly.
Before cleaning the keyboard, you’ll need to identify which kind it is.
Generally, laptops come with two types of keyboards –
- Regular, low profile keyboard: The keys would have a low height, and they won’t be making much sound while typing. Typically comes with consumer and business laptops.
- Mechanical keyboard: Have switches under each key to check by lifting one of the keys. Makes a loud and clicky sound when pressed. Usually found in gaming laptops.
If you’re in doubt, you can always check the manual or the manufacturer’s website.
Now, let’s check out how to clean both kinds of keyboards from the outside.
- Use a dampened cloth to wipe the keyboard down.
- Don’t use cotton buds to remove dirt stuck between keys. Use a small paintbrush instead.
- Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the keys.
- Turn your laptop upside-down and give it a good shake. The loose debris should fall out.
- Dampen a cloth with a cleaning solution and wipe the keys with it gently to clean.
- Use a dampened cotton bud to remove the dirt and grime stuck between keys.
- Finally, disinfect the keyboard with rubbing alcohol.
Warning: Do not turn on your laptop until the keyboard has fully dried.
Five laptop keyboard cleaners we recommend
- ColorCoral Cleaning Gel Universal Dust Cleaner
- OXO Good Grips Cleaning Brush
- 4 Pack Keyboard Cleaner
- Keyboard Cleaning Kit
- AFMAT Rechargeable Blower for Keyboard Cleaning
Step 5: Clean the trackpad
Let’s make a cleaning solution first. Mix filtered/distilled water with rubbing alcohol following a 1:1 proportion and then dampen a microfiber lint-free cloth with that.
After that, all you have to do is wipe the touchpad gently with the dampened cloth. Ensure no excess liquid falls on the touchpad. It might get inside and damage the circuitry.
For very grimy touchpads, dampen a magic eraser slightly with the solution and rub it on the touchpad to clean the grime.
Step 6: Lastly, clean the charging cable
Finally comes the easiest one, the charging cable!
Just form a loop with the dampened cloth run the cable through it while holding the cloth down. Repeat the process a few times, and you’ll have a squeaky clean charging cable!
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How to clean the screen and keyboard of a MacBook?
Whether MacBooks are more sensitive to harsh chemical agents than comparatively less expensive Windows laptops is arguable. But one thing that’s for sure, the stakes surely are high with Apple products due to the cost of replacement parts.
The cleaning methods don’t differ much, but you’ve got to pick the cleaning solution carefully. Apple recommends using mild cleaning agents like 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75% ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.
The no bleach and no hydrogen peroxide rule applies to MacBooks as well. And in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a gentle reminder again. Wipe the surface of your MacBook the way we’re reminding you – gently.
How to clean laptop screen and keyboard at home
While we strongly recommend using a store-bought laptop screen cleaner, it’s possible to use household cleaning products for cleaning laptop displays and keyboards as well.
You’ll still need the lint-free microfiber cloth, but the store-bought cleaning solution can be replaced with distilled/filtered water. Not tap water, though, as that might contain harsh chemicals like chlorine.
If you need a stronger solution for more tough stains, use a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar (not apple cider vinegar).
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How to clean the laptop keyboard after a spill?
Let’s be honest, we all know it’s not a good idea to keep a beverage near your laptop. Does that mean we never caught ourselves drinking our favorite soda while working on a boring presentation?
Definitely no. And it’s not too uncommon for users to accidentally share some of the Coca-Cola with the laptops as well.
But don’t worry, that doesn’t necessarily need to be a kiss of death if you act first. Here’s what you have to do immediately
Pull the plug out and shut it down
Laptop keyboards can be replaced cheaply, but the same can’t be said for its motherboard. If you don’t shut your laptop down immediately, the spilled beverage can get inside the motherboard and short it out – something that’ll be more expensive to fix than the laptop itself.
So, the moment the incident happens, disconnect the charger from the laptop (if connected) right away. Then, turn the system off.
You shouldn’t even use the shutdown button on the start menu, as that might take a few seconds more. Hold the power button of your laptop for five seconds; it should shut down physically. The technique works for both Windows laptops and MacBooks.
Turn the laptop upside down and shake it like it owes you money
Now, your instinct might tell you to grab a towel and clean the keyboard first. But that will probably worsen the situation.
What you should do instead is, flip your laptop outside down, hold it by the sides and shake it. So that way, the liquid gets shaken out before it enters the inside of the laptop.
Wipe off the remaining liquid from the keyboard
After using gravity in your favor to drain the liquid out, take a dry cloth and clean the leftover beverage from the keyboard. Don’t apply too much force; else, the keys might get popped off.
Let the keyboard dry for a few hours or overnight
Keep your laptop in a dry place and allow the beverage a few hours to evaporate. If you’re not in a rush, we would recommend letting it dry overnight.
If you find any remaining moisture the next day, wipe it off. Don’t place the laptop somewhere hot and absolutely not under direct sunlight.
Check if it’s still sticky
If you spilled a sugary drink like Coca-Cola, the sugar will be inside the keys even after the liquid has evaporated. You can check this by pressing on every key for stickiness. If the key doesn’t go down the way it should, some sugar might have made its way down there.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to remove the keys one by one and clean both the keys and the slots individually if that’s the case. Follow our guide above, and it should be easy peasy.
The moment of truth, does it work?
Turn your laptop on and see if the keyboard works. If you acted first enough, the chances of the keyboard surviving are pretty solid.
However, if it still doesn’t work, you probably will need to replace your keyboard. Get your laptop checked by a technician to know for sure.
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How to clean laptop screen and keyboard using alternative chemicals
Lens cleaners are used for various purposes ranging from cleaning camera lenses to contact lenses. Since lenses tend to be very sensitive to caustic agents, lens cleaners are completely safe to clean the screen of your laptop or the webcam.
Sunglass cleaner is another good option for cleaning sensitive parts like display or webcam. They can be easily found at any departmental store and effectively clean streaks and marks.
That being said, do check if the packaging says anything about not using it on screen and what ingredients it contains. If the cleaner contains any harsh materials, do not risk ruining your screen with it.
Homemade sticky residue remover
When it comes to removing sticky residue left by a beverage spillage, the lime essential oil can be of great help. Let’s take a look at the lime essential oil-based cleaner recipe below, shall we?
- Plain white vinegar (not apple cider vinegar) – 4 tablespoons
- Distilled/filtered water – 4 tablespoons
- Lime essential oil – 5 drops
How to make it
Mix all the ingredients together and pour them into a spray bottle. Shake well to ensure they’re fully combined. Spray generously on a lint-free, microfiber cloth and start wiping the surface with it.
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What not to do
Some common mistakes to avoid
- Never spray or pour your cleaning solution directly on the laptop or its screen.
- Don’t apply more cleaning agents than necessary. Excess liquid can seep in through the tiny holes of the laptop and ruin the sensitive circuits inside.
- Don’t use a dishwasher to clean your keys. As hilarious as it sounds, some actually suggest popping off the keys and putting them in the washing machine. While it sounds good theoretically, in reality, your keys will probably get their letterings washed away.
- Before cleaning, you should always disconnect the charger, cable, and all peripheral devices.
Which cleaning agents you should never use
- Glass cleaners or plastic cleaners containing ammonia.
- Non-diluted bleach or ammonia solutions.
- Anything that contains ethyl acid, ammonia, methyl chloride, acetone, toluene.
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FAQs on How to clean laptop screen and keyboard
Can I use hand sanitizer to clean my laptop screen?
You should never use hand sanitizer to clean the screen.
First off, any liquid cleaning agent shouldn’t be directly applied on the screen, hand sanitizer or not.
Because it can easily enter the inside of the device through the small cracks and crevices, resulting in electrical shorts causing permanent damage.
Additionally, caustic fluids can damage the screen of your laptop. Many screens have anti-glare or other sorts of protective coatings applied on them that can get ruined if you use any concentrated isopropyl alcohol-based caustic cleaning agent like hand sanitizer.
At best, the coating would get removed, so for instance, the anti-glare function won’t be working anymore.
In the worst case, you’ll see different colors in the different areas of the screen due to the coating removal being patchy. We have even heard of a MacBook user who got watermarks across the screen after cleaning it with hand sanitizer, which never got fixed.
When it comes to cleaning screens, steer clear of hand sanitizers.
How do you take care of a laptop screen?
The screen is one of the most fragile components of a laptop. The other parts might take a beating without creating much of a fuss.
But try that with the screen, and it will be gone sooner than you realize.
Here are some pointers that’ll help you to take good care of the screen –
1. Clean your screen often with a lint-free cloth that’s dampened with water only. Be very gentle as even the slightest pressure can damage the pixels.
2. If you see any smudges, clean them immediately with a laptop screen cleaner. They might be harder to remove if you leave them for too long.
3. Don’t place anything on top of your laptop when it’s closed. The screen can get pushed to the keyboard and damaged eventually. Not even something as light as clothes or your phone.
4. Don’t lift your laptop by the screen. Lift it by its base. Otherwise, the screen or the hinges that keep the display attached to the base may get damaged.
5. You should place a thin piece of foam on your laptop before closing the lid so the laptop’s screen doesn’t get scratched by the keys.
Can I use alcohol wipes to clean my laptop keyboard?
Yes, but use the lens wipe ones made for cleaning glasses and phone screens.
Do keep in mind that the alcohol wipes shouldn’t be too wet. They should be only damped with alcohol, not soaking wet. If yours are too moist, squeeze them out a little bit until the moisture amount is just about right.
Make sure that your laptop is shut down and unplugged. Otherwise, the keyboard might get shorted. After you’re done, wait a few hours for the alcohol to fully evaporate before turning the laptop on.
How do I clean marks off my laptop?
First off, you’ll need a cleansing solution, whether off-the-shelf or homemade. If you’re not using a store-bought one, make your own with filtered/distilled water and a few drops of dish soap. Stay away from household cleaners or harsh, caustic chemicals like ammonia or bleach.
After that, soak the sponge with the solution and then squeeze it out until it’s dampened, not soaking wet. Rub the sponge on your laptop’s body with gentle motions to clean smudges, marks, and fingerprints. Keep rubbing until they’re totally gone.
If you have any sticky or grimy spots, use rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball to clean them off. Apply moderate pressure.
Lastly, polish the surface clean with a microfiber cloth to remove any remaining moisture or streaks.
Can I use water to clean my laptop screen?
Yes, you definitely can.
As a matter of fact, that’s what we suggest for cleaning your screen – a microfiber, lint-free cloth, and distilled/filtered water are all you need for regular screen cleaning.
Although if you have any streaks or marks on your screen that can’t be removed with water alone, you might have to opt for specialized store-bought cleaning agents.
How to clean a laptop internally?
Many make the mistake of cleaning the laptop only from the outside, leaving out the interior. But going the extra mile can increase the lifespan and performance of the laptop drastically as the inside of your laptop does catch dust over the years.
That being said, it isn’t something we would recommend for everyone. If you don’t have any prior experience with assembling/disassembling electrical appliances before, chances are good you’ll mess it up and damage the laptop trying to do it. In that case, you should rather go to a laptop repair shop and get a technician to clean the laptop internally for you.
But if you’re confident, follow the steps below to clean your laptop internally:
- To disassemble the laptop, you’ll need a few tools like a guitar pick and a precision screwdriver set. Make sure to watch a disassembly video of the model you use first to have a good understanding of the process.
- After opening the laptop, take the laptop outside – your garage or the lawn as it will get dusty now.
- Take a can of compressed air and blow the dust out of the laptop’s case. Make sure you’re blowing towards your laptop’s vents so the dust would be blown out of the laptop, not moving around inside.
- Don’t blow air at the cooling fans directly; they might get damaged if they spin too fast. Use short blasts of air and blow indirectly from different angles.
- After you’re done, assemble the laptop, and you’re good to go for a year.
Do not use a vacuum cleaner, hairdryer, or electric air blower to clean your laptop’s internals.
Cleaning a laptop might seem like a daunting task, but it’s a rather straightforward process as long as you know what you’re doing. Once you’ve mastered the art of cleaning your laptop, do it at least once a month for both maximum productivity and peak performance.
Make sure to take all the precautions we’ve mentioned, avoid harsh chemicals while picking the cleaning solution, and be gentle on your laptop – as if you’re cleaning a baby. Trust us, laptops may not have a heart, but they’re just as sensitive!
We hope this article has answered all your queries regarding how to clean laptop screen and keyboard. Have a nice day!
Hi there! My name is Mohiuddin Alamgir and I’m the man behind of “Laptopvine”. I love learning about all sorts of technology, especially laptops. I find it fascinating how laptops have evolved over the years and how they’ve become essential tools for both work and play. I strive to provide information that is both accurate and helpful to those looking for a new laptop.