Editor’s Note: I’m publishing this next sentence in the hopes it will warm up soon. It’s (nearly) Spring time! With Spring time comes Spring cleaning, and while you don’t think generally about Spring cleaning on your computer and your workspace, this is the perfect time of year to do so.
1) Clean Your Keyboard and Mouse: If your computer was infected with a computer virus, you’d jump to fixing it. But your keyboard and mouse is probably more riddled with nastiness than your computer. When the computer is shut off (to prevent accidental key input), disinfectant wipes work well to scrub your mice and keyboards. If you work in a healthcare or other dirty environment that need to be washed more often, there are washable keyboards and mice available for more frequent and in-depth cleanings.
2) Clean Your Screen: You’d be amazed much nicer your screen will look after a good cleaning, especially if you have a touch screen. A microfiber cloth is a necessity with modern LCD screens to avoid scratching. If you need a cleaning fluid, don’t waste money on expensive “LCD Cleaner” solutions. Instead, fill a spray bottle with one-part distilled water, one-part isopropryl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol). Combine, shake, spray. If you don’t have isopropyl alcohol, you can substitute plain white vinegar, but it will smell a bit more unpleasant and will take a bit longer to dry. Note: Some manufacturers (Apple, primarily) advise against using alcohol-based products because of certain types of oleophobic coatings, but occasional use should be fine.
3) Get Rid Of Dust Bunnies: The insides of computers can get pretty nasty, especially if you work in a dusty environment. Dust will clog up fans and other crevices of the computer, potentially causing premature failure and overheating. Buy yourself some compressed-air cans. Then, shut down your computer and disconnect everything (power included), just to be safe. If you have a desktop computer, you can open the system up and with gentle blasts target the problem spots in the system. Generally, the fans on the system are the biggest trouble spots, so start there and work your way around. For laptops, some gentle blasts to the exhaust vents will help as well.
4) De-clutter The Wires and Your Desk: Now that your monitor, keyboard and mice look nice, you should probably clean up your desk and the wiring and cables around it. The clean-up of your desktop all depends on how your desk is setup, how many peripherals and devices you have, etc… , so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Having a wireless keyboard and mouse will certain help things, (I have this set, and I like it, other than the small function keys) as will Velcro cables ties and cable management sleeves, but sometimes a DIY solution is going to be your best bet. I particularly like the following ideas and tutorials:
- Great Flickr Gallery on how one guy hid all his office’s cables.
- Using rain gutters as cable management tools.
- Similarly, using an under-desk basket or broken binder to hide cables.
- Computer Cable Management on the Cheap
- Pinterest has a variety of good ideas as well.
Do you have any tips for your Spring Cleaning or how you clean things up? Comment below!