TechSpot's Guide to Spring Cleaning your Gadgets and Computers

envirovore

Posts: 452   +835
TechSpot Elite
Distilled water directly on components and not a high % isopropyl alcohol? Really? Huh.

Just did a good cleaning out of my machine last month. While not coated in dust and disgusting, I've learned that having an airflow prioritized case means I'll need to do so more often than every 6 months or so.

While not a gadget, mouse mats can get rather gross and it seems some don't realize they can be washed (cloth ones at least).
Hot water and a mild soap. Air dry.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 787   +1,373
I picked up some tailor made mesh filters for my case from https://www.demcifilter.com/

I had been contemplating buying some kind of mesh product and rolls of magnetic strips to build some filters to put over the open areas on my CoolerMaster HAF XB Evo case. When all said and done I probably would have spent around $20-30 for material to have it shipped to me, then a few hours of my time measuring things out and constructing my own....

I just happened to stumble across custom built ones for my case from demcifilter. The set of filters for my case was about $38 with shipping. Cost just a little more than doing them myself, but saved me time of having to make my own.

Having a Siberian husky there is constant fur and pet dander, even with vacuuming every other day. These filters have done an amazing job keeping so much unnecessary dust and pet hair out of my system over the past 3 months since I got them. The inside of the case still looks as good as it did before I started using the filters with my new hardware. You can't keep out all the dust, but so far they've helped cut down on I'd say 95% of it.

When I do need to clean the filters off, I remove them before I go to bed and simply run them under the kitchen faucet to clean them off and let them air dry over night. The next day I put them all back in before I turn the computer on. So far this beats having to remove the case fans every 6-8 months to blow them off or brush them out due to the build up of dust that accumulates on them.

Only thing I wish was better about the filters was the magnetic strip strength. They hold in place pretty good as they are, I just wish the magnetic strength was a little better.
 

MarkHughes

Posts: 290   +258
I use a blusher brush instead of a paint brush, They are very soft and will get into all the nooks. Also safe to use on shiny plastic like a Lego model without risk of scratches.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,203   +2,591
TechSpot Elite
You want to know what I've used to clean my screens (and phones for that matter) for over a decade without issue?

Automotive Windshield Washer Antifreeze Fluid (-35 or -40 both work fine) that costs about $3 per 4L jug.

Before people gasp (and keep in mind that I've been doing this for over a decade with no ill effects), start thinking for yourself instead of what marketing tells you.

Ask yourself this:
"What is WWAF designed to do?"
The answer is simple. It is designed to clean glass to a streak-free shine with only a squeegee to wipe it off. It MUST be streak free with minimal effort because streaks in your windshield impair visibility and are inherently dangerous. Therefore, WWAF must be a superior glass cleaner and it also must not damage glass surfaces. It must clean glass quickly, perfectly and without the need for prolonged buffing. It must also be non-damaging to plastic because that's what all the little fittings that it flows through are made of so I've found that it's safe for soft, non-glossy displays as well.

I wouldn't use summer fluid because the antifreeze type evaporates quickly and because it has alcohol it also disinfects. The reason why it's so cheap is that it's produced in colossal quantities, not because it isn't any good.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,207   +1,694
You want to know what I've used to clean my screens (and phones for that matter) for over a decade without issue?

Automotive Windshield Washer Antifreeze Fluid (-35 or -40 both work fine) that costs about $3 per 4L jug.

Before people gasp (and keep in mind that I've been doing this for over a decade with no ill effects), start thinking for yourself instead of what marketing tells you.

Ask yourself this:
"What is WWAF designed to do?"
The answer is simple. It is designed to clean glass to a streak-free shine with only a squeegee to wipe it off. It MUST be streak free with minimal effort because streaks in your windshield impair visibility and are inherently dangerous. Therefore, WWAF must be a superior glass cleaner and it also must not damage glass surfaces. It must clean glass quickly, perfectly and without the need for prolonged buffing. It must also be non-damaging to plastic because that's what all the little fittings that it flows through are made of so I've found that it's safe for soft, non-glossy displays as well.

I wouldn't use summer fluid because the antifreeze type evaporates quickly and because it has alcohol it also disinfects. The reason why it's so cheap is that it's produced in colossal quantities, not because it isn't any good.
That's a good idea, I'll have to keep that in mind.

Re: dedicated electronic cleaning pads, caveat emptor. I once bought some brand new a while back, and half the cheap things were made in China and had dried out in the packets long before I got the chance to use them. Then I found, randomly, a few boxes of Read Write cleaning pads from the early 90s in a Goodwill one time, and picked them up for a few bucks. All of them were as good as the day they were packaged and the material was more robust, to boot. And made in the USA!
 

arrowflash

Posts: 514   +589
Removable washable dust filters are a must for desktop PCs.

If your case doesn't come with filters, there are third party filters that can be purchased and adapted, sometimes requiring a bit of elbow grease depending on the case and place.

Also, one small bit of warning about keyboards: I've come to realize that cheap membrane keyboards don't take well to deep cleaning. I've killed quite a few of them doing it, using only isopropyl alcohol and a soft brush, no matter how careful (with the keyboard disconnected and waited for the alcohol to dry of course). Either most keys stopped working or the keyboard would be completely dead afterwards. Just using compressed air spray and rubbing the keys with a soft cloth and isopropyl alcohol is okay.

Rubber dome and mechanical keyboards don't seem to have this problem.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,203   +2,591
TechSpot Elite
Removable washable dust filters are a must for desktop PCs.

If your case doesn't come with filters, there are third party filters that can be purchased and adapted, sometimes requiring a bit of elbow grease depending on the case and place.

Also, one small bit of warning about keyboards: I've come to realize that cheap membrane keyboards don't take well to deep cleaning. I've killed quite a few of them doing it, using only isopropyl alcohol and a soft brush, no matter how careful (with the keyboard disconnected and waited for the alcohol to dry of course). Either most keys stopped working or the keyboard would be completely dead afterwards. Just using compressed air spray and rubbing the keys with a soft cloth and isopropyl alcohol is okay.

Rubber dome and mechanical keyboards don't seem to have this problem.
Keyboards are an "all-or-nothing" thing for me. To me, a keyboard is either an IBM Model M or it isn't (except for Lenovo keyboards, those are especially bad). Anyone who has ever used an IBM Model M knows exactly what I'm talking about. I don't bother cleaning the insides of my keyboards, I just replace them because you're right, they just die when you try to clean them anyway. I was at a surplus store (those things are awesome) and bought a couple of Tripp-Lite Premier Office Keyboards for literally $4CAD each:
41X5JmIOORL._AC_SX425_.jpg

I brought one into work to use (and I'm typing on it right now) years ago because the Lenovo keyboards we have here were so bad that I wanted to melt mine. For $4, I don't mind making my life so much less annoying. LOL
 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,845   +1,665
Rag - old, well laundered Jockey T. Corner dipped and squeezed out with 50/50 white vinegar for the 'tough spots'.

Pig bristle sash brush, top quality - this one has lasted almost 30 years - ground out on case.

Throttle for vacuum - plastic bottle cap which fits over nozzle and pierced to push fit a 20" length of flexible tubing (3/8th inch diameter) - prevents ingestion of most small parts and loose keyboard keys while letting you get down into the crannies.

 

UdyrL

Posts: 30   +49
...or just don't wait until everything is super filthy.

Portable gadgets (5 minutes): cotton swabs with 70%+ rubbing alcohol once a week.

PC: once a month, dust off with compressed air and a soft brush will keep everything clean enough to not worry about doing deep cleans ever. It won't take more than 10 minutes after you make it part of your routine. Removable exterior filters can be cleaned every other week by simply brushing them off, even without air. Those with pets should do it weekly to prevent excess hair.
 

Reehahs

Posts: 1,297   +970
My pet hate is rubberised plastic coatings. When the rubber starts to deteriorate, you end up with sticky dust magnet surface that is harder to remove than grease in an Indian restaurant's chimney.
 

Ben Myers

Posts: 194   +76
I have found industrial q-tips useful for poking around to dislodge and pick up dirt, especially desktop or tower CPU, other cooling fans, nooks and crannies. And then blast in the compressed air.

I also have a lot of little brushes of different sizes, and they, too, can be handy.

I also use a commercial screen cleaner that has the smell of some ammonia. I do not know if the company exists any more. I bought a carton of the stuff as part of an auction years ago, and I still have quite a few unused cans. The can is marked C.R.T. Cleaner, so you know how old it is, and the company is Compu-Kleen Inc.
 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,318   +535
I must admit the article caught me by surprise. When I read "cleaning your gadgets and computers" I was 99% convinced it's about removing malicious software. Silly me...
 

John J Miller

Posts: 11   +3
You want to know what I've used to clean my screens (and phones for that matter) for over a decade without issue?

Automotive Windshield Washer Antifreeze Fluid (-35 or -40 both work fine) that costs about $3 per 4L jug.

Before people gasp (and keep in mind that I've been doing this for over a decade with no ill effects), start thinking for yourself instead of what marketing tells you.

Ask yourself this:
"What is WWAF designed to do?"
The answer is simple. It is designed to clean glass to a streak-free shine with only a squeegee to wipe it off. It MUST be streak free with minimal effort because streaks in your windshield impair visibility and are inherently dangerous. Therefore, WWAF must be a superior glass cleaner and it also must not damage glass surfaces. It must clean glass quickly, perfectly and without the need for prolonged buffing. It must also be non-damaging to plastic because that's what all the little fittings that it flows through are made of so I've found that it's safe for soft, non-glossy displays as well.

I wouldn't use summer fluid because the antifreeze type evaporates quickly and because it has alcohol it also disinfects. The reason why it's so cheap is that it's produced in colossal quantities, not because it isn't any good.
then you don’t have a firm grasp of technology like you seem to think you do. the AMMONIA in the fluid will destroy the capacitive touch properties of the screens you use it on. and as for knowing what I’m talking about.....I’ve been doing IT repair for 24+ years.

you’re supposed the cleaning fluid that is made SPECIFICALLY for that purpose. but hey if it floats your boat you just keep doing you, however quit giving people wrong informatio.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,203   +2,591
TechSpot Elite
I have found industrial q-tips useful for poking around to dislodge and pick up dirt, especially desktop or tower CPU, other cooling fans, nooks and crannies. And then blast in the compressed air.

I also have a lot of little brushes of different sizes, and they, too, can be handy.

I also use a commercial screen cleaner that has the smell of some ammonia. I do not know if the company exists any more. I bought a carton of the stuff as part of an auction years ago, and I still have quite a few unused cans. The can is marked C.R.T. Cleaner, so you know how old it is, and the company is Compu-Kleen Inc.
Ammonia can be harmful so I stay away from it. I don't know exactly how harmful it is but I always lean toward alcohol-based cleaners. They're not harmful at all. They also don't smell like pee. :laughing:
 
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