Note: This article was written during the COVID-19 pandemic but it's contents do not specifically pertain to it and should be practiced irregardless of widespread disease outbreaks, etc.

These are detailed steps, but the process itself is straightforward.

You can leave your computer on but when we get to the keyboard cleaning portion you may want to power it down.

Cleaning the outside

  • Areas: Top of clamshell, sides and bottom
  • What to use?
    • 70-91% rubbing alcohol mixed with water. Use equal parts of each on a microfiber cloth or a light duty Mr. Clean Magic eraser. Do not use solvent based cleaners or those with ammonia or high amounts of bleach. No need for costly specific electronic wipes.
  • Cleaning process
    1. Apply an 70 % water / 30 % alcohol mix on the cloth or eraser sponge so that either is not dripping wet, but not so little that it evaporates before being applied to the surface. Other type of liquids such as Clorox or Lysol wipes should be squeezed gently to rid the wipe of any excessive moisture. The goal is to have a slightly wet surface and no run off that may enter liquid sensitive areas.
    2. Wipe surface down and let it set for 1-2 minutes. Do not dry immediately and allow the cleaning agents or alcohol to disinfect the surface. Rubbing alcohol with 99% is not recommended here. It will evaporate before it has a chance to cleanse and disinfect the surface. 
    3. Dry surface and clean any remaining surfaces that appear dirty or need extra attention.
    4. Ensure any liquid is wiped and dried from all crevices and ports before continuing.

Cleaning the screen

  • Areas: Screen surface and aluminum border
  • What to use?
    • To disinfect use 70%-91% rubbing/isopropyl alcohol mixed with water on a microfiber cloth(cloth must have a high thread count and not have course threads). DO NOT USE Magic eraser on screens or you will leave sanding marks since these contain abrasives. Clorox/Lysol wipes may be used but be aware they will leave behind a significant dried film.
    • To finish use a glass cleaning cloth and or any glass/glasses cleaning products that do not contain ammonia.
  • Cleaning process
    1. The first step is to rid your screen of any large debris visible to the human eye. The goal is remove the debris before touching the screen with a wipe. Not doing so will cause screen scratches when those debris particles are dragged across the surface. Use a straw or liquid compressed air in a can to get rid of any loose debris and a non-metallic object to loosen and remove any other stubborn particles. Do not move on without performing this step.
    2. Gently wipe the screen with your disinfectant of choice. Leave the liquid on the surface long enough for it to perform its job.
    3. To finish wipe your screen with a glass cleaning cloth and cleaner of choice. If your computer is on, dim the brightness level until it is near black otherwise you may miss large portions of the screen. The goal is to get it as streak free as possible. Less streaks means less distractions.
    4. Using your microfiber cloth from step 2 wipe the border of the screen clamshell and dry when finished. Stay away from the rubber seal to prevent any permanent damage to it.

Cleaning the keyboard, touchpad and palm rest

  • Areas: Keyboard, touchpad, palm rest
  • What to use?
    • 70-91% rubbing/isopropyl alcohol mixed with water and a microfiber cloth. Do not use any other types of cleaners here as they will cause liquid ingress.
  • Cleaning process
    1. Wet cloth slightly with alcohol/water mixture and get every portion of the keys on the keyboard. Be careful not to force excess liquid into the inner workings of the keyboard. The goal here is to clean the keycaps only.
    2. Use a straw or liquid compressed canned air to force out any remaining liquid and dry it before moving on.
    3. Wipe and dry both the touchpad and palm rest. Ensure excess liquid is not forced into the small gaps around the touchpad.  Wipe from the edge to the center.

If you're unsure of any liquid ingress turn your laptop over and let the excess drip or move closer to the surface to evaporate. No cloth or eraser sponge should be dripping or be so full of liquid that it "feels wet".