How to Clean a Laptop

How to Clean a Laptop Keyboard

Here is a way to clean a laptop keyboard easily. The problem with laptop keyboards is that it is very difficult to get underneath the keys. The only way to do it is to use a paint brush and a compressed air can. 

Here is how I do it. I will spray window-cleaning liquid on a brush and then go through the keyboard trying to get underneath keys. 


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Spraying Windolene
Cleaning laptop keyboard with a brush
Cleaning underneath the keys

There will be some dirt that will come off from there, but some will remain. To remove all the dirt that’s left we will use a compressed air can. This is not as powerful as a compressor but it does the job. 

Can of compressed air

Cleaning Processor Heat Sink and Fan

Whether you can reach the heat sink and the fan really depends on what laptop model you have. On some models it is located directly below the plastic lid, while on others it is hidden so deep in the laptop that to reach it you would need to disassemble the whole laptop. 

I have here the Dell Inspiron 1525 as an example. It has very easy access to all parts that need cleaning. 

Usually laptop and desktop processor heat sinks need fresh heat sink paste applied after any work done with them. Sometimes the old paste is still good and can be reused, but most of the time it is dried out. So, if we put everything together it will act as insulation and not as a thermal conductor. 

The heat sink is fitted on this laptop with screws.

Laptop cooling system

 I will unscrew it and take it out.

Taking out the heatsink

There is actually not much to clean here. You will be looking at the heat sink plates and making sure those are clean so you can see through them. 

Heatsink plates
Dust on heatsink

There is also a fan in this laptop that is hard to see, but it is actually over there. 

You will most likely need a torch to see what’s going on there. Sometimes the fan is hidden and you’ll only see a bit of it. Other times however, the fan is just below the heat sink plates and you’ll see it if you remove the heat sink. 

Please do not forget to check the heat sink paste. If it is coming off in chunks it means it is dry and you need to take it all off and apply a fresh one. 

Thermal paste

Cleaning the LCD Screen

This is a bit tricky. In the past I used to clean it with a cloth and sometimes water and any spray that I had and wondered why the fingerprints and other nasty stuff could still be seen.

However, the right way is to clean it with a lint-free cloth and distilled water. This is the method recommended by experts. 

I also found that Zeiss lens cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth works best on any screen. 

Cleaning Laptop’s Chassis and other Plastic Parts

After some tries I have found out that Auto Cockpit and Interior Cleaning Spray gives very good results. Also, it has added perfume, so the laptop will smell fresh too. 

Cockpit cleaner

Cleaning USB and Other Ports

I need to remind you here to not use water to clean a laptop’s USB and other communication ports. If water gets in there it is not easy to remove it and if you use compressed air you could get water on the motherboard. 

I use only a toothbrush where I can reach and in other areas I use compressed air. 

How to Clean Other Parts Not Mentioned Above

The best choice is to use an alcohol-based spray and a microfiber or lint-free cloth. Before you do any cleaning please power down the laptop and remove the battery. 

If you have a water-damaged laptop to clean, most likely the keyboard is faulty and you will need to clean the motherboard with white spirit or another cleaning solution for microelectronics. 

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