Is Laptop Cleaning Service Is Good For Out Of Warranty Laptop

A technician open your laptop for cleaning

technician repairing laptop computer closeup

How to clean your laptop keyboard?

Here’s how to give your Laptop keyboard a thorough cleaning:

  1. If it is a laptop, shut down the computer.
  2. Turn it upside down and gently shake it to dislodge any small particles. You might want to do this over a large, smooth surface to make it easy to wipe off later.
  3. Take a can of compressed air and spray around all the keys.
  4. Turn it upside down again and gently shake it to remove any particles the compressed air dislodged. (NOTE: The reason you didn’t do this in the first place is because you don’t want the compressed air to push particles that are already loose further inside the keyboard.
  5. OPTIONAL: You an use a vacuum brush attachment to go over the keyboard and see if you can suck out any additional particles.
  6. Get a cotton ball damp (not wet) with some rubbing alcohol and gently wipe around the keys and on the key tops. Don’t scrub or you could scrub off the lettering on some keyboards.
  7. If the keyboard is extremely dirty, it’s OK to us a cloth dampened with some soapy water, but make sure it is just damp. You don’t want water dripping down into your keyboard.

I can’t stress this enough: whenever you are using liquid near your keyboard, NEVER pour it directly on the keys and ALWAYS make sure what you are using is damp, not wet. Just enough to do the job.

What is the most efficient way to clean your laptop?

Disclaimer: Laptop Cleaning Service at your own risk. If you void your warranty or brick your device, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Also, warning, this is a long answer.

Anecdote for disclaimer: Many a year ago, while taking a class in PC hardware, we had the opportunity to do some laptop repair in the lab. The first time someone opened a laptop there was a loud sproing! sound, followed by parts bouncing off the wall and into locations that would never be discovered. The rejoinder from the professor was: “And that ladies and gentleman is why you get to charge an extra Rs 500 for touching a laptop.”

Okay, disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk tools for cleaning the laptop.

You will want the following:

  • Lint Free Cloth(s) / Microfiber cloth
  • Canned Air
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paperclip

For the basics: STOP HERE!
For people wanting to go further on their hardware maintenance, go further.

  • Screwdriver
  • Pill box or other dish for screws. (I like to use a 7 day pill box so I can sort screws as I go)
  • Thermal compound
  • Tweezers, or, my personal preference if you have them lying around, hemostats.

The Basics (Exterior Clean)

Before cleaning your device, power it off, and if possible, remove the battery (mostly so you don’t accidentally turn it on.) Disconnect your AC adapter as well.

Step 1: The messy bit. Grab your can of air and give your keyboard a good blow out. This step alone will get rid of a fair amount of the dust and such that builds up beneath the keys. (Warning for cloud of dust that you may get… if sensitive to such, you can wear a mask while cleaning.) Follow this up with a few short (1-2 second) bursts into the cooling vent of your laptop.

Step 2: Now that the dust has flown, grab one of your lint free cloths and give the exterior surface a good once over (don’t touch the screen, we’re not there yet.) Keys, touch pad, the exterior casing, give it all a good wipe down with a dry lint free cloth. If you have some exceptionally stubborn gunk on your laptop, dab the cloth in a little of the alcohol and commence with slightly more vigorous wiping down. Don’t press really hard on anything and don’t go nuts. Don’t pour alcohol onto the laptop, just dab the cloth in it as needed to wet down the cloth.

Step 3: The one and only life hack I will dispense for this guide is in detailing. To clean between the keys, wrap your lint free cloth around that paper clip (just set the paper clip in the middle of the cloth and fold over once) and use the resulting implement to run between the rows of keys and individual keys if needed. Also works for getting between the monitor and main body on some laptops, cleaning around hinges, etc. Again, if needed, you can get the cloth damp with alcohol.

Step 4: Save the screen for last, lest all the dust you kick up doing the rest just finds itself on your newly cleaned screen. A dry micro fiber cloth should be fine for most monitors and most grime. Wipe in a single direction across your screen (right to left, left to right, top to bottom, whatever) and just work your way down (or across) the screen. Don’t press firmly, a light touch is all it takes. If you have an exceptional grime problem on your screen (curse you touch screens!) you can again, dab your cloth in a little of the alcohol and hit the stubborn spot with a few more passes.

And that’s it. Good by grimy laptop that you’re not sure you want to touch. But, if you want to give it a good servicing and improve the overall health of your device, consider the following as an additional step (good to do around the end of your warranty period and once per year after it’s out of warranty… don’t do this while the laptop is in warranty, it voids virtually every warranty.

More Advanced (cleaning internals)

Step 5: Start by opening your laptop chassis. How to do this will vary by model greatly, and MacBook owners, your product is held together by glue rather than screws, so forget this part entirely, it doesn’t apply to you. You’ll want to look up a guide for opening your specific model of laptop. Use the pill box to sort the screws out as you go.

Step 6: Once open, give the interior of the laptop a good blast with the canned air. Most of your dust buildup will likely be near the intakes and vents, but dust has a way of working itself all through the interior of the system, so don’t be shy with the canned air. Really go after the fan assembly and get as much dust out as you can. If you see condensation form on components, don’t stress about it, just hold off on the canned air until things warm back up, and don’t worry, the little bit of condensation you get from the canned air will evaporate by the time you power things back on (really, it only takes a few seconds, it’s not like we’re pouring LN2 on anything today!)

Step 7: Remove the heatsink assembly from the CPU and GPU (if present.) Using a lint free cloth and alcohol, wipe down both the CPU and GPU, removing the old thermal compound (it’s probably getting a bit dried out by now anyway.) Do the same on the contact surfaces on the heat sink assembly, removing any residue from the old thermal compound. Apply a small bead of fresh thermal compound (about the size of a grain of rice) to the center of the CPU and GPU, then replace the heatsink assembly.

Note: If this is your first time changing thermal compound, once you’ve screwed the heatsink back in place, take it back off again. Check to make sure that excess thermal compound hasn’t spread beyond the surface of the lid of the CPU / GPU. You don’t want compound oozing out and making electrical contact with the system board. If this has happened, no worry, just clean it off with your cloth and alcohol, then re-apply, using less compound than you did before. Remember, the thermal compound will spread out when you tighten the heatsink into place, so you don’t have to cover the whole chip. Likewise, if you feel like you didn’t get good coverage, this check will allow you to apply a little more compound before you close things back up. Better safe with this than sorry, so don’t worry about double checking your work!

Step 8: Do everything you did to take your laptop apart in reverse order until you’ve got it re-assembled.

I wish I could make that more detailed, I really do, but there’s just too much variation between laptop models. The core, most important thing we’re after in an interior clean is to maintain the cooling system. Without this kind of attention, over time, our laptops begin to overheat which causes them to a) slow down (thermal throttling) b) crash more often (system instability) and c) run louder (choked fans, or fans needing to cool a hotter CPU), and d) die premature deaths. Just clearing out the dust and replacing the thermal compound can result in a 5-10 degree (Celsius) reduction in the laptops’s operating temperature, and that’s significant to the health of your hardware.

If you do not feel comfortable with the “advanced” steps outlined here: DON’T ATTEMPT THEM. They’re completely optional. It is advisable to consider taking your laptop to a professional to have it done, just like you’d take your car in for an oil change, but it really is something that only needs to be done once or twice in the life span of your laptop to get the optimal life out of the hardware. Don’t feel like you have to do this, especially if you have a budget laptop that would cost more to service than you paid for it to begin with. Every time we crack open a laptop there are risks that we may not be able to put everything together as neatly as they were when we started, and that risk should be weighed against the benefit of servicing the hardware.

Well cared for, the life of a laptop can be extended by a year or two, potentially longer. These things don’t last forever, but the #1 cause of laptop death is heat, and the leading cause of overheating is the build up of dust. Keeping your laptop clean will go a long way towards keeping it running for years to come.

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