Cleaning a Computer & Peripherals
Over time, dust will build up inside your computer as the fans suck air into the case. The dust can cause overheating by blocking the case vents, it also accumulates on cooling fan blades and motors causing the fan to slow down or even fail, and gets into the CPU heatsink which causes it to be less efficient.
How often you need to clean the inside of your computer depends on your enviroment and where you place the computer. A computer placed on the floor will attract more dust, or if you smoke, eat & drink, or have a pet around the computer and its peripherals then they will need cleaning more often.
Cleaning inside a computer with compressed air.
To clean the inside of a computer you will need a can of compressed air, cotton swabs, anti-static brush, and even a dust-mask is useful if the computer is particularly dusty and you do not want to breath it in. You should not use a mini-vacuum cleaner as they cause static build-up which is harmful to computer components.
Cleaning inside computer case
First you should switch the computer off and unplug it from the mains. Remove all the connections from the back of the computer and open the side of the case. You should take anti-static precautions
and not touch any components inside the case whilst cleaning.
Use a cloth to wipe the exterior of the case along with the case vents making sure they are clear of any dust build-up.
Next, put on your dust mask and take your can of compressed air and insert the long extension tube into the nozzle and try to keep the can upright when using it so that no moisture is blown out. Blow out any dust inside the case and use it on the case fans, heatsinks, motherboard, expansion cards, I/O ports, and PSU fan. Be careful not to damage a fan as the compressed air can cause it to spin fast.
There will most likely be some hardened dust on the fan blades which you can remove with an anti-static brush and/or moistened cotton swabs.
The case intake fans may have dust filters attached which can be removed and cleaned before replacing them.
When you are happy that the inside of the case is clean then replace the computer cover, and reattach all the connections to the back of the computer.
Cleaning the Keyboard and Mouse
First, make sure you disconnect the keyboard and mouse from the computer.
Turn the keyboard over and give it a shake to remove any loose particles. You can then use compressed air and small brush to clean between the keys.
An older type mechanical mouse uses a ball and tends to pick up a lot of dust and debris depositing it inside usually on the x-axis and y-axis rollers which degrades the performance of the mouse. You can remove the plastic ring at the bottom of the mouse by rotating it anti-clockwise and remove the ball. This can be washed with warm soapy water and then dried. The rollers inside the mouse can be cleaned with a cotton swab moistened with water or any stubborn crud can be removed with your fingernail. Blow into the mouse or use compressed air to remove any loose dust, then replace the ball and plastic ring.
An optical mouse does not use a ball so dust can't get inside it like a mechanical mouse. You can however clean the mouse with a damp cloth and use a cotton swab moistened with water to clean the mouse feet. A toothpick is handy to clean around the switches, wheel, and feet. If the optical sensor on the bottom of the mouse is dirty then it can be lightly cleaned with a cotton swab but only if necessary.
Also remember to clean the mouse mat with a moist cloth and then allow it to dry before using it.
How to clean a computer screen
First, make sure that you switch off the monitor at the mains and allow the screen to cool down.
An older type CRT monitor has a glass screen and you can use a clean cloth moistened with water to remove any dirty fingerprints. Use a dry clean cloth and lightly rub it over the screen until it is clean.
More care is required with a flat LCD monitor as it is much easier to scratch or damage the screen when being cleaned. You will need a lint-free, non-abrasive cloth, such as a microfibre cloth, a blower brush, and either LCD cleaning solution or distilled water. First, blow any dust particles from the screen with a blower brush, then lightly and gently wipe the screen with a dry microfibre cloth. For stubborn fingerprints and smudges then put a small amount of solution onto the microfibre cloth (not directly onto the screen) and lightly and gently wipe the screen.