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How to disinfect a PC mouse and keyboard? Stay safe!

By Emmanuel Seriki | April 24, 2020 |

greater than 9 minutes

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Cleanups are essential in every aspect of our lives. We regularly clean our bodies, our homes, our clothes, and even our pets. However, most people forget to clean the machines they use daily, especially their computers.

Unfortunately, dirt buildup can cause damage to every device. A dirty computer or surface also poses grave dangers to your health.

For one, we are currently witnessing a global pandemic caused by the highly communicable coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2). And the World Health Organization and other health parastatals all over the world emphasize the need to disinfect surfaces we touch regularly as a prevention strategy against contracting this virus.

Therefore, in this guide, we intend to show you how to disinfect a PC mouse and keyboard.

How to clean a PC mouse

We will walk you through the appropriate cleaning procedures in stages.

  1. Gathering the necessary tools and equipment:

The first stage of disinfection involves gathering all essential materials and tools for disinfecting surfaces. You can go through the list of the necessary items below:

  • An alcohol-based disinfectant (isopropyl alcohol).

This disinfectant can come in aerosols, pump sprays, or wipes. You must check and verify that they contain the required percentage of ethanol or isopropanol.

Do not use a cleaning agent like Lysol — if you cannot get isopropyl alcohol, use a solution of water and mild soap.

  • A canister of compressed air.
  • A small paintbrush will come in handy in situations where you have to remove dirt from areas where the compressed air fails to reach.
  • A Q-tip or microfiber cloth. You might need to use this item to wipe dirt off your mouse and keyboard.
  • A dry microfiber cloth. You can use it to dust and dry crevices in your mouse and keyboard.
  • A screwdriver that can open your mouse. Refer to your device manufacturer’s instructions online to see how you can disassemble your mouse.

You must gather all these tools in one place for easy access to them during the disinfection process.

  1. Disinfecting your PC mouse:

If you are looking to learn how to disinfect a PC mouse, then it means you have never attempted to do that. Mouse devices come in different forms.

A standard mouse will be easier to disinfect than the average angular gaming mouse, which has several additional buttons and grips.

Go through these steps to disinfect your PC mouse:

  • First, you must disconnect the optical mouse from your computer.

By doing this, you eliminate the risk of electric shock – if you accidentally touch an electrical component while cleaning. This way, you also get to prevent the mouse from frying instantly if you mistakenly spill liquid into it.

  • If you use a wireless mouse, you just have to turn it off and remove the batteries.
  • Shake the mouse upside down and roll the scroll wheel to dislodge loose particles that may be stuck inside.
  • Now, you must wipe the entire mouse down with a dry cloth to remove dust or grime from its exterior.

If your mouse is overly dirty, you can also dampen the rag with water before wiping it.

  • You can run a toothpick around the buttons, mouse wheel, and other crevices you find on the mouse’s exterior.

This way, you get to force out any grime that might be causing problems.

  • Now immerse your Q-tip or microfiber cloth in isopropyl alcohol and wipe down the dirty parts of your mouse.
  • Check and confirm that the Q-tip or cloth is lightly damp and not dripping wet.
  • Dab any dusty or grimy areas, especially the sides of the mouse, and other areas you cleaned with a toothpick.
  • Apply isopropyl alcohol to a fresh Q-tip or a cleaner section of the same microfiber cloth.

Note: You must always use a clean Q-tip whenever you are moving from one component to another.

  • Wipe the mouse’s sensor using the freshly damp Q-tip or cloth. You must be careful not to jab the sensor in the process.

Note: We advise that you gently brush the sensor with the Q-tip or a tip of the microfiber fabric. This way, you get to remove particles that interfere with the mouse’s tracking.

  • Now you can let the disinfectant dry.

Isopropyl alcohol needs about three minutes for complete evaporation. You can also use a dry Q-tip or microfiber cloth to pat away the excess moisture.

  • Open the top of the mouse. You can do this by simply pulling up the top or using a screwdriver to unscrew any visible screw.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions online to learn how to disassemble your mouse safely.

  • Apply alcohol to a fresh Q-tip or fabric, and then swab the inner sections of the mouse.
  • Remove any foreign objects, including bits of food from the mouse’s interior.

You might notice specks of dirt in the mouse wheel and at the top of the circuit board.

  • Reassemble your mouse once you finish disinfecting the interior.
  • Using disinfectant wipes, wipe the surface of the mouse repeatedly.

Before you wipe the mouse, you must check and confirm that the wipes are not too damp or wet.

  • You will do well to avoid getting moisture into any openings on the mouse, as this may damage the internal components.
  • Wait for four to six minutes after you finish wiping everything down to put your mouse back together and inspect it. It should be spotless by now.
  • Do not forget to clean your mouse pad.

It does not matter how clean your mouse is. If your mouse pad is still dirty, you will be exposed to germs and the tracking from your mouse might become uneven.

  • Using a wet rag dipped in water, wipe the mouse pad thoroughly.
  • Remove hair and other debris on the mouse pad using a lint brush or roller.
  1. Disinfecting your laptop’s touchpad:

Before you proceed to disinfect your laptop’s touchpad, you must first confirm that you have shut down your computer. You must also verify that it is unplugged from the power outlet.

  • Wipe the surface of the touchpad thoroughly, using a microfiber cloth dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
  • If the touchpad has separate buttons for the right and left click functions, you can use a toothpick to remove debris stuck between the chassis and touch surface.
  • It is time you disinfected the areas around the touchpad (where you place your hands when typing). Disinfect the surface using a microfiber cloth doused in isopropyl alcohol.

How to clean a keyboard

Keyboards become dirty over time when you use them regularly. Dust and debris can also gather in between the keys, affecting the keyboard’s performance.

Well, general cleaning with compressed air and disinfecting the keyboard components with isopropyl alcohol is all you need to maintain a clean keyboard.

You might be wondering if you can simply spray Lysol on your computer keyboard and be done with it. No, you should not do that.

We do not want you to spray Lysol on your computer keyboard because the keyboard’s internal components might become damaged.

  1. Disinfecting Your Desktop Keyboard:

If you are here to learn how to disinfect a keyboard at home, these are the instructions you must follow:

  • Start by shutting down your PC before the cleaning commences. This way, you get to protect your hardware from damage.
  • If you have a wired desktop keyboard, you must disconnect it from the computer.
  • If you use a laptop, then you must shut it down and unplug its cable from the power source to avoid electrical shock.
  • If you use a wireless keyboard, you just have to turn it off and remove the batteries.
  • Turn the keyboard upside down to dislodge loose debris like food crumbs, dirt, and pet fur. Most debris will fall out when you gently shake the keyboard.
  • Shake the keyboard and listen for the sound of debris rattling around inside. This happens a lot in mechanical keyboards and other keyboards with elevated keys.
  • Now, using the canister of compressed air, you must blow out dust and debris from the gaps between the keys:

You must hold the canister at a 45-degree angle approximately while directing its nozzle at the keys.

Compressed air is the best option for cleaning out dust from electronic devices. You can get it from electronics shops and regular supermarkets. You can also order canisters online on Amazon and eBay.

  • Press and hold the trigger to release bursts of compressed air while sweeping across the keyboard.

You must also keep the nozzle at a minimal distance of 2 cm from the surface of the keyboard at all times.

  • Use a dust vacuum to sweep up stubborn dirt particles stuck in the gaps between the keys.

Before using the vacuum device, you must also check and confirm that none of the keys on the keyboard are shaky, especially on a laptop keyboard.

You can also use a regular vacuum with a brush extension as a substitute for a dust vacuum. You must focus on spaces around the keys while sweeping the entire keyboard as debris may be stuck in there.

  • If a key comes off when you are using the dust vacuum, you can retrieve it from the vacuum cylinder, disinfect it with isopropyl alcohol, and put it back in its original place.

Now, after you are done with vacuum cleaning, you should clean the space between the keys with a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

  • Dampen the Q-tip very lightly to avoid excess moisture spilling into the circuitry under the keys.
  • You must wipe the space between keys and the area around them to disinfect them thoroughly. Remember to replace dirty Q-tips with new ones as you go over the entire keyboard.
  • Wipe the keyboard with a microfiber cloth dampened in isopropyl alcohol. If you are out of microfiber fabric, a paper towel will suffice for the outstanding tasks.
  • Before you start wiping the keyboard, you must squeeze out excess moisture from the damp rag.
  • Wipe the top portion of each key, its sides, and the base area around the keyboard.
  • You must also focus on frequently used keys, such as the Space Bar, Shift, and Enter key.
  • If you encounter other filthy areas on the keyboard, you can use a toothpick to break through the grime.

Hold the toothpick almost flat against the grimy area and rub it continuously until the dirt comes off.

  • You can then scrub the work area with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Wipe the keyboard one last time with a dry microfiber cloth or lint-free material to remove excess moisture.
  • Evaluate your work and check if your keyboard looks clean.
  • Assuming you are now done with the disinfection tasks, you can reconnect your keyboard to your computer and test things.

If you used water and soap in place of isopropyl alcohol, then you have to let the keyboard dry out for as long as five hours before getting the parts back together. Isopropyl dries within two minutes, but water takes considerably longer to dry.

  1. Disinfecting Your Laptop Keyboard:

Unlike desktop keyboards, laptop keyboards require a more delicate approach because the computer’s primary components exist just beneath the keyboard.

Anyway, these are the instructions you must follow to disinfect your laptop keyboard safely:

  • To mitigate the risks of severe damage to the laptop or electric shock, you must shut down your laptop.
  • You must also unplug the device cable from the power source; unplug all cables from your laptop’s ports.
  • Using a damp microfiber cloth dipped in isopropyl alcohol, scrub off any visible grime or dirt from the keys. Pay particular attention to the keys on the uppermost row.
  • Now, you must use a Q-tip dipped in an alcohol disinfectant to wipe each key and the spaces around it to dislodge any stubborn grime.

Most laptops have a chiclet keyboard with small gaps that might still harbor dirt from your fingers, so you must pay close attention to these gaps while you disinfect each key.

  • Leave your computer dry for at least 10 minutes. This way, the alcohol is likely to evaporate completely before you turn on your laptop.

TIP:

You probably have your reasons for wanting to clean your computer. We suspect they have something to do with improving your computer’s appearance. This way, the computer tends to look new again. However, there is only so much you can do to make your computer look as good as new. You have to pay some attention to the software running on your machine.

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