So, you have a laptop. That's nice. Good for you. Unfortunately, you are a messy person - or then again, you might be a cleaning enthusiast. In both cases, you just might want to clean your laptop every now and then. There's probably dust, small fragments of something that was edible monts ago, something you just can't regognize and ... well, everything you'd like to get rid of. This small step-to-step guide tells you how to complete this task by your own - and without any notable expences! Swell!

This guide doesn't tell you how to get rid of that nasty adware. You don't find help for deleting those nasty .tmp -files for your nasty Windows. This just tells you how to physically clean up. And we're talking about laptops here, so get out of here, you twisted you.

Note that this guide is not for those who can tie their own shoelaces or perform other similar, undoubtly valiant and heroic acts. And, yes, if you follow this guide, I will not be responsible if anything negative happens (you die, your laptop dies, your cat dies when you smash it with your laptop, G.W. Bush will be re-elected etc.). It's your fault if you mess up, so - well, don't mess up.

First, what do you need?

  • Water. If you don't have any, you're in trouble. You can manage a couple of days without water - then you'll die. And - gasp! - your laptop will be homeless. So, get some water. Now.
  • Cotton sticks. You know, those small plastic sticks with cotton in each end. Every store sells them and "they're cheaper than your momma", as my friend said.
  • A piece of cloth. And make sure it's lint free. You really don't want to fill your laptop with tiny pieces of cloth.
That's it. So, how does the process go? Let me walk you through.

  1. Prepare a place for the cleanup. Preferrably a good table - or a piece of floor. Clean the place - wipe out the dust, kill those annoying and plague-carrying rats and - if needed - take out the trash. It's good for you, trust me.
  2. Unplug your laptop and put it to your nice, well-prepared cleaning place. If it's table - fine. If it's floor - fine. If it's your pool or your rooftop, do mankind a favor and try to get a Darwin Award.
  3. Examine your laptop - if you haven't done it already. How can the keyboard be removed? Or should the keys be removed one by one? For example, most Dell laptops' keys are to be removed one by one - with extreme care. Remove the keys/keyboard and be careful. Very careful. You don't want to break anything.
  4. Moisturize your cotton sticks and clean the now-keyless keyboard. Don't use wet sticks - you'll want 'em damp. You may have heard stories which include these elements: water, electricity, death and/or serious damage to computer hardware. Most of these stories aren't true (wake up!) but it's true that electricity and water don't mix. Use those damp sticks to remove the dirt etc. Don't hesitate to use many sticks if needed - they're virtually free. (If you are a yuppie, use canned air and that's it.)
  5. Let your keyboard dry. Meanwhile, take the cloth and moisturize it. Don't use wet cloth - you'll want it damp. You may have heard stories which include thesthese elements: water, electricity, death and/or serious damage to computer hardware. Most of these stories aren't true (wake up!) but it's true that electricity and water don't mix. Um. You got the point, didn't you? So, wipe the keys well and leave them to dry.
  6. Clean your cloth and moisturize it again. This time, wipe the display carefully. Don't push. Don't scratch. Don't use chemicals - the damp cloth will do. Remove the dust from the edges with a cotton stick (yup, damp!) and - if necessary - repeat the cleaning.
  7. Clean the touchpad. If you don't have a touchpad but a stick, remove the plastic cap and wash it. With water - and let it dry well. Touchpad can be cleaned with the same cloth - with same dampness.
  8. Let everything dry.
  9. Put the keys back - somehow. You'll want your keyboard to work again, so be careful. Take your time, don't use violence. Don't use hammers, chainsaws, two-meter-tall weight lifter friends, furry animals or your mouth - just some time and two little, nice, pretty, beautiful hands - that's enough. If little, nice, pretty and beautiful hands aren't available, use your own. Just wash them beforehand.
  10. Wipe the whole thing once more. Now the cloth must be drier than before - almost (but not quite) dry.
  11. Plug the laptop back and enjoy life. Go hiking or hug a friend or donate some money. Then you may even turn the computer-thing on and use it. Swell. Nice. It's clean. Now go and wash yourself silly.

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