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Clean your laptop screen and keyboard: How to safely disinfect your laptop

How to Clean a Laptop Safely
How to Clean a Laptop Safely (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Laptops are a breeding ground for germs but regular cleaning will keep your notebook free of bacteria while helping to prolong the life of the machine.

It has become especially important in recent weeks to frequently clean your laptop. Given the public health concerns over the ongoing pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends disinfecting surfaces -- your laptop included.

There are several methods out there, but the following instructions will give you the best way to safely clean and disinfect a laptop. 

How to clean a laptop 

Before you learn how to clean a laptop screen and keyboard safely, you’ll need these supplies:

  • Soft, microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Isopropyl rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer 
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • Compressed air can or rubber dust blower
  • Disposable gloves (optional)

Step 1: Prepare your laptop for cleaning

Power off your laptop. Disconnect it from the wall outlet, if you have it plugged in. Remove the battery (if applicable) and any devices attached to it. 

Step 2: Make your laptop cleaning solution

The best and safest way to clean a laptop is with a diluted alcohol and water cleaning solution. Alcohol not only disinfects but also kills viruses that live on surfaces.

To make your own laptop cleaning solution, pour 1 cup of warm water into a bowl. Next, add 8 to 10 capfuls of rubbing alcohol into the water. Now that your cleaning solution is ready, dip your cloth into the mixture to dampen it. 

Wring out the cloth out to remove any excess water so it’s not dripping before you apply it to the laptop.

Step 3: Clean your laptop screen

Gently wipe the moistened cloth across your laptop’s lid, base, keyboard and screen. We recommend gently wiping the display in one direction while cleaning from the top of the bezel to the bottom. 

Once your laptop is fully air-dried, you can buff out any remaining streaks using a dry microfiber cloth.  

Step 4: Clean your laptop keyboard

The keyboard is the filthiest part of the laptop and needs extra cleaning attention. Gently wipe the laptop's keyboard, touchpad and keys using a damp cleaning cloth. 

When you're done, use the compressed air can or rubber dust blower to remove crumbs, dust and debris from the crevices around each key. While you're at it, consider cleaning dust from the laptop's vents.  

Before powering on your laptop for use, make sure it’s fully air-dried. Once everything is dry and sparkling clean, feel free to use your bacteria-free notebook. 

Hilda Scott

Hilda Scott is a Deals Writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, bringing you the best bargains on laptops, gaming gear, smart home gadgets, and wearables. After graduating from Hunter College with a degree in Film and Media Studies, she's written for iTechPost,, Parle Mag, Enstars, and Latin Times. When she's not bringing readers the best deals, she's streaming her favorite shows or attending a live concert or pro wrestling event.