Ultimate guide to cleaning your laptop inside & out.

Ultimate Laptop Cleaning Guide

Cleanliness and Performance Optimization

“Maintaining cleanliness for your laptop, both internally and externally, is vital for more than just appearances; it directly impacts its performance, lifespan, and overall functionality.

By tackling issues like dust and dirt build-up and safeguarding delicate internal components, you’re essentially safeguarding your laptop’s health and prolonging its optimal operation.

In this guide, we’ll cover tips to keep your laptop clean inside and out.

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Preventing internal dust build-up is key to keeping your laptop running well. If the cooling fans get blocked with dust, the laptop will overheat.

The hotter a computer gets, the slower it’ll become. Furthermore if the internal components do overheat, there is risk of irreparable damage.

Let’s start with keeping the inside clean:


(Jump to External Laptop Cleaning Guide)

Internal Cleaning Maintenance Of A Laptop

Gone are the days that you can simply unscrew a panel compartment on the base of a laptop to allow to to go in and gently brush away excess dust.

Modern laptops are now secure units which are not designed to be opened up by the end-user / owner.

In fact if you do attempt to open a laptop to strip it down to clean inside, you’ll most probably void the warranty. Should you ever need to return the unit under-warranty, the warranty will be rejected if the unit has been opened. The manufacturer service centre will know this as some screws will be protecting with either a small sticker or plastic or wax coating.

Maintenance is key here to keep your laptop running dust-free internally. Repeat these steps every few weeks to keep your laptop looking and running great.

Tips To Prevent Dust Build-Up Inside A Laptop

  • Storage & Location Of Laptop
  • Compressed Air
  • Do Not Smoke or Vape Near A Laptop

Storage & Location

Store and use the unit in an area where less dust will build up.

Dust is microscopic. If your laptop lives on a flat surface that attracts dust, the laptop fans will pick up that dust from the table surface. Either cover it or put away when it’s not in use for any lengthy periods of time.

Keep the surface of the desk clean.

Using Compressed Air

Cans of compressed air are great for preventing dust building up around the fan vents of the laptop. The vent may be on the side or the base of the computer. Simply blast compressed are into the vents (holding the can a few inches away). This will break up the build-up of dust particles and allow the internal fan to blow them out.

Smoking & Vaping Damage To Laptops

Smoking or vaping near a laptop can lead to the accumulation of tar and residue on internal components, potentially causing overheating, reduced performance, and even long-term damage to the device.

I’ve seen this first-hand having repaired computers for many years. Cigarette tar covering motherboard components causes major damage to computers. Vaping near a computer is debatably worse. I provided support for a local vape shop for a number of years. Their computer was in every two weeks to be cleaned internally. In the end I ended up building them a “fish tank PC”.

Internal Component-Level Cleaning

Advanced. If your laptop has not been maintained and dust has been allowed to accumulate inside the sealed unit, the laptop will need to be completely stripped down.

This work should be carried out by a reliable and experienced professional who is familiar with the tear-down and rebuild procedure of your brand and model of laptop.

It may look easy on YouTube but you risk damaging your laptop and will certainly void any warranty.

By taking your laptop along to a local independent computer shop, the technicians will be able to strip the machine right down in order to clean or even replace internal cooling fans.

If the cleaning process is the result of spillage, it is hugely important to immediately disconnect the unit from mains power and if the battery is removable, remove it.

Let’s state the obvious here: Do not attempt to power-on a computer following a spillage until it has been checked by a professional. Liquid and electrical circuit components do not mix.


Reasons to Keep External Surfaces of a Laptop Clean

Reasons for keeping the external surfaces clean include hygiene, resale value, professionalism as well as preventing damage to the unit.

If you use the laptop for business, what does it say about your standards if a client sees you working on a laptop that is caked in dirt & grime?

Screen Cleaning

There are screen-cleaning wipes that are widely available on the internet. However these can be expensive compared to other similar wet-wipes that can do the job just as well.

The next time that you are in your local pharmacy or discount convenience-store, pick up a packet of wet-wipes that you’d use for cleaning the optical lens of your glasses (spectacles).

These are great for cleaning laptop screens without leaving too much cleansing liquid on the screen surface.

Most of these products will also have some form of anti-bacterial properties which also ticks the box of hygiene if your laptop is touch-screen.

Laptop Keyboard Cleaning Tips

If you are using any liquid or foam products to clean your laptop keyboard, be sure to power-off the computer first and make sure that the keyboard is completely dry before reconnecting the mains or powering back on.

Items that can be used to clean your keyword include cotton-buds, a light-soft-brush, anti-bacterial wipes or a can of compressed air if you need to clear crumbs from between keys.

Laptop keyboards are generally very delicate. It doesn’t take much to break the keys if using a cloth. Take extra care if wiping. Once the individual keys pop out, they never resit properly again.

Exterior Chassis Laptop Cleaning Advice

Cleaning the outer chassis of a laptop is easy. Be very careful which products that you use if the products contain liquid.

Most antibacterial wipes will be fine. For a streak-free clean, I advise using the same wipes (for cleaning laptop LED screens) that we mentioned earlier for cleaning your glasses (spectacles). These have anti-bacterial properties, very little liquid and don’t’ leave wipe marks (streaks).

To clean USB ports and connectors, it’s best to use a dry cotton swab or a soft brush to gently clean ports and connectors on the laptop, removing any dust or debris that may have accumulated.

List Of Useful Items For Cleaning Your Laptop

There are actual cleaning kits that you can buy for cleaning your device, however you most probably have similar items at home.

I have included (UK affiliate) links to each item to buy now on Amazon or just as an example to browse (links open in a new tab).

Banner Cleaning A Laptop

High-Dust Environments

If you are working in a high-dust environment, it is important to keep the area well ventilated that you use your laptop.

Some professional environments such as in hairdressing salons and vets, have a high volume of microscopic hair and dust in the air. Or maybe at home you have pets that cast a lot of hair.

Cover & Elevate When Possible

Be sure and cover the laptop overnight or when not in use. It is also a good tip to elevate the laptop off of the desk or table. This can be done using a small stand or improvising with something that will lift it of of a flat surface to prevent dust and hair accumulating.

In the past, we have provided desktop computer systems for veterinary surgeries & hairdressers. We used to use tricks just as installing ladies tights over case fans to cut down the amount of dust that could get through, while maintaining airflow. Nowadays PC cases come with these fan vents. (tip, soundproof cases are great for this). With laptops though, there are limitations to how these small vents can be protected.

Link: By searching: “laptop dust protection”, these are some of the solutions available on Amazon.


Hopefully you find some of these tried & tested methods useful in cleaning your laptop notebook computer and preventing dust & grime from building up.