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Wall Street Journal
An Easy Way to Deep Clean Your Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor (No More Excuses!)
How to safely remove streaks from your screen, smudges from your mouse and grime from your keyboard–in three simple steps
Is your workspace filthy? WSJ’s Michael Hsu has three simple fixes give your monitor, keyboard and mouse a quick but deep cleaning. Photo/Video: Carly Marsh/The Wall Street Journal
Q: I’m embarrassed to admit that my keyboard, mouse and monitor have gotten shockingly filthy. I need to give them a thorough cleaning for the new year. What’s the best approach?
A: First off, don’t be embarrassed. Anyone who takes a hard, honest look at his or her computer (try this right now, dear readers) is likely to be taken aback. The good news is that a thorough cleaning is easy to pull off. The toughest part is forcing yourself to set aside five minutes to make it happen. Here’s a painless three-step plan that requires only equipment you may already have in the house.
1. Make your screen shine. Forget special sprays and solvents, which can leave the monitor cloudy or remove its anti-glare coating. Warm water and a microfiber cloth (the kind that comes with eyeglasses) are remarkably effective, even for the most diabolical marks.
For the first pass, use standard operating procedure: Wet the cloth, wring it out so it’s just barely damp, then wipe. If you come upon particularly stubborn streaks, don’t despair. Simply lay your barely damp cloth flat over the offending schmutz and let it rest there for a bit. (This gives the moisture time to work). After 30 seconds, wipe again and chances are the marks will come right off.
2. Degunk your mouse. A grimy mouse requires a bit more firepower than a microfiber cloth. My go-to weapon for this is a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or a generic variant). This melamine-foam sponge is great for removing grime that, over time, has become one with plastic. Simply follow the directions on the box (wet, wring, wipe). Don’t be afraid to apply some pressure when rubbing. If the sponge leaves behind any fine white residue on your otherwise shiny mouse, wipe with your damp microfiber cloth.
3. Clear your keys. I know a lot of techies like to blast their keyboards with compressed air, but this just scatters the until-then safely contained filth all over the place. I think you’re better off flipping the keyboard facedown over a trash can and gently tapping it against the side of the can. You’ll be horrified by what comes out. Then use that Magic Eraser to buff the keys (and the space between) to make them look like new.
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