questionswhat is the best way to clean a computer?

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I use Windex all the time on my keyboards, screens, mice and other external pieces of plastic or aluminum that have gotten grungy. Spray a little on a paper towel or shop cloth and clean where necessary.

The only thing I use to clean the INSIDES of my computer is a can of compressed air.

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My neighbor takes his completely apart, makes it a light bath, and then lets it air dry. He says works like a dream. I'd rather used compressed air so that I can invert the can and freeze skin on the wifey when she is so engrossed into Farmville or other crap.

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@woothulhu: I don't think the water is safe now. Won't the radiation hurt my computer? Or will it improve my internet speed? ;)

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@xarous: Is there a particular scented candle you use when preparing the bath?

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@durkzilla: Thank you, this is what I was thinking of doing. Still wondering if there is some kind of moist wipe for computer cleaning that has less caustic chemicals in it thank Windex. Or what about using baby wipes?

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@mtrlgrl: It may become a turtle who is also a trained ninja, or possibly become the new member of the Fantastic Four.

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@mtrlgrl: I think he uses lavender bath salts and spiced chai candles. He is rather strange...

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Before you take any of these suggestions, please note that your laptop screen will be unhappy with most all of them. I'll try to check back in a while with actual products and suggestions, which are mostly about the screen. Compressed air, and a vacuum, are usually plenty. Except for your screen; I'd actually spend money there.

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@mtrlgrl: I prefer Windex because it air dries quickly and doesn't leave residue behind - baby wipes may leave behind a soap or moisturizing residue, and every wipe I've ever tried that branded itself as being especially for electronics has been overpriced garbage.

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Honestly, one of the easiest ways to clean it is to use just a small amount of clean water and a microfiber cloth - it'll prevent streaking in the drying. And from there on, just periodically dusting it off with the microfiber.

And whatever additional advice you get from @shrdlu - she knows her stuff :)

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@shrdlu: I was hoping you'd chime in. Thanks for responding. I was afraid all my responses were going to be silly ones, and my problem would not be solved. I have an expensive gaming laptop, and it is the screen that I am concerned with the most.

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@mtrlgrl: I use a dry clean towel to dust my electronics, if that's not enough I add a little moisture to the towel, if that's still not enough I break out the pledge multi surface wipes (cheap at local stores but for reference):
http://www.amazon.com/Pledge-Products-Multi-Surface-Premoistened-fingerprints/dp/B004E2MDOG

I've used these on my computers, LCD's, and a Plasma (just make sure any screen is cooled first, such as a Plasma). Never a smudge or problem and it keeps the screen looking great.

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Oh and as for case cleaning, the compressed air is good for internals (maybe a soft brush to help manipulate heat sins, fans, and wires), I use a shop vac changed from "suck" to "blow" (much like MegaMaid...), but the problem with high velocity air is that a fast air moving over a surface creates static, which can be lethal to small electronics.
My 6+ year old HP desktop has never overheated, I've never had to replace a component to failure (only upgrades), so I feel a bit of care and regular cleaning is great to every computer.

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@mtrlgrl: Screens are important. It's the most difficult thing to replace on a laptop, and I've always been very careful of them. I've had the best luck with an Endust product. I don't know how easy they'll be to find, but I just posted a deal for them.

http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/8d1c1917-c6c5-4d42-99bb-47065c3baa41/endust-lcd-monitor-pop-up-wipes-3-pack-electronics

That's practically a lifetime supply.

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I agree with @spikedknight: for LCD http://www.amazon.com/Pledge-Products-Multi-Surface-Premoistened-fingerprints/dp/B004E2MDOG?tag=dealswoot-20 are the way to go.
Power off and pull the battery.
Take it outside and use compressed air between keys and in vents.
Then I use a 4 rag system:
Rag 1 spray the rag with 409 for the outside and around the key area (palm rest). Scrub all of the grim off. Make several passes if needed.
Rag 2 clean water on this rag to wipe off the 409. Rinse as needed.
Rag 3 to dry to get a streak free shine.
Rag 4 %90 alcohol get the rag almost dripping wet and very very carefully wipe each key down. Re-wet rag as necessary (Careful you do not snag a key and pull it out).
Qtips with alcohol for where you can still see partials (Careful you do not snag a key and pull it out).
Wait 30 minutes now clean the display with the wipes, and use the wipes on any fingerprints.
Admire your new looking laptop.

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A little bit of vinegar on a paper towel works wonders and doesn't leave residue.

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I use Ragu Old World Style.

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@benyust2: Since you already have one, why don't you use it and let the rest of us know how well it works?

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@misterron: I don't remember where I put it :(

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@shrdlu: Actually, Cheap Vodka works wonders on screens when used in moderation with a clean cloth... IT is a mix of Alcohol and Distilled or De-Ionized water... No streaks...
Also, If your snowed in and desperate on a weekend the bottle can be used as a life saving fluid...

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@hobbitss: Cheap Vodka works wonders on me, then I could care less about the screen.

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@hobbitss: I'd be sucking on the cloth after the bottle was empty, trying to get snockered. There's potential for a new invention in there somewhere.

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just pop it into the dishwasher and use the pots & pans cycle.

AVOID baby wipes, they usually contain aloe or some other greasy lotion that will leave crud all over your computer.

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I clean the outside with disinfectant wipes or Swiffer wipes depending on whether I'm cleaning gunk or dust.

For the inside, I turn everything off, unplug all connections, kill the remaining charge (push or hold the power button for 30 seconds when unplugged), discharge static electricity (touch grounded metal or wear a rubberband) and proceed to vacuum the inside of the computer either by taking it slightly apart or going for the vents.

I do not use compressed air because, as I understand it, it can cause moisture buildup when it cools a surface unevenly.

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The soft cleaning tool that benyust2 mentioned works pretty well for getting the crap from between the keys. As far as the grime caked on the keys, it only does a mediocre job at best.

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Mineral Oil and you won't ever have to clean it again:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtufuXLvOok

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@kamikazeken: Make sure you take the battery out or you could cause a short!

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don't use anything but cloth on your plastic screen. paper towels scratch.

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Wet t-shirt for the screen and the body. If its scratched up, use some car wax on it. Makes it shine real purdy.

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Try using one of those lint free shamwow kinda clothes. I picked up a pack of 3 a while back for about $5. They're great to have around. Be careful that you don't put too much pressure on your screen when you're cleaning. Also, if you use air on your keyboard be sure to turn your keyboard upside down so that the 'stuff' can fall out.

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I moisten a lint free cloth with 1 part rubbing alcohol and 1 part water. As long as the cloth isn't dripping wet, it's fine. I've used it for years with no problems. It cleans and sanitizes all in 1 step and it's safe for LCD screens.