You and your employees use office computers every day during the work week. Some of your employees may even sit at computers for 8 hours at a time as they work, eat, cough, sneeze, and converse. Some of your employees may even cluster personal belongings around their computers, including bags, coats, or snacks. Maybe their work stations no longer look professional.

However, these employees have stayed productive, so you don’t mind a little disarray. After all, you’ve never worried about cleaning your computers before, and you’ll probably replace them in a few years anyway. In the meantime, they seem to work just fine.

But as we’ll show you below, it actually does matter if you keep your computers clean. Read on to learn more.

Why You Should Clean Your Computers

Clean computers won’t just make your office look more professional. A thorough cleaning will prevent other problems as well:

  • Dust buildup inside the computer can clog the fan. The fan that normally keeps your computer cool will fail, and then your computer may overheat. Overheating can fry parts and shorten your computer’s lifespan, which means you’ll have to replace it sooner.
  • Dust buildup and regular overheating can also slow your computer.
  • As food and dust particles build up inside the keyboard or mouse, they could block moving parts, rendering the keyboard and mouse useless. You’ll have to carefully clean them again before they’ll work.
  • Germs feast on food particles and dust, so they’ll build up on the computer. If allowed to grow, they can make anyone who uses the computer more likely to get sick.

Any one of these problems could lower productivity at your office. Even though you’ll probably replace your computers in a few years, your business will have maximum productivity in the meantime if you regularly clean your computers.

How to Clean Your Computers

Materials

Before you start cleaning your computers, make sure you have the following supplies:

  • A few screwdrivers with different heads so you can undo any screw type
  • A can of compressed air—you’ll probably need several of these if you clean multiple computers
  • A small paintbrush for dusting hard-to-reach places
  • A soft cloth for wiping off stubborn contaminants

Notice that we haven’t included a vacuum or chemical cleaners on this list. Vacuums could cause static that’ll fry circuits and chips, so don’t bring a vacuum when you begin cleaning. Let the air compressor direct the contaminants out of your computers. Cleaners put moisture in your computer, which could also fry the circuits.

Instructions

Once you’ve collected your supplies, you can start cleaning:

Preparation:

  • Turn off all the computer’s components.
  • Remove all auxiliary devices, including power cords, internet cords, speakers, USB drives, CDs, phone/tablet/MP3 chargers, etc. Nothing should stay attached to your computer.
  • Take the computer into a garage or outside. A lot of dust will come out of it, so you need to take it somewhere where a giant cloud of dust won’t disturb anyone. You don’t want your employees breathing in that dust.

Cleaning the Tower:

  • Unscrew the casing on the side of the tower—preferably the side opposite the motherboard. Put the screws somewhere safe so you don’t lose them.
  • Using the can of compressed air, blast the dust out of the computer. Make sure you blast around each component, and make sure you keep the can a safe distance away from the computer (about 10 centimeters). If it’s any closer, it could dislodge chips or circuits.
  • Use the cloth and the paintbrush to clear any remaining dust
  • Replace the casing.

Cleaning the Keyboard:

  • Turn the keyboard upside down and gently pat it until no more crumbs or dust fall out.
  • Blow compressed air around the keys.
  • Wipe off the keyboard with a cloth.

Cleaning the Mouse:

  • Open the back and remove the ball.
  • Blow compressed air into the opening and around the buttons.
  • Wipe off the mouse with a cloth.

You can simply wipe off your monitor with a cloth. If anything cakes onto your computer or its components, moisten the cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently work it off. You’ll have to wait until your computer completely dries before turning it on again.

How Often to Clean Your Computers

You should deep clean your computers at least twice a year (preferably once every three months), but other parts need attention more often. For example, you should clean the mouse and keyboard at least once a month, and you should clean your monitor’s exterior at least once a week.

Remember: cleaning your computers will help them last longer, and that will save you money. It’ll also help your employees’ productivity because they’ll have a faster, more reliable machine, and they won’t have as many germs or allergens contaminating their workspace. Use these tips to keep your computers looking and running great for many years to come.