SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- And just like that, it's back to school season! Time to gear up with fresh school supplies and new backpacks. But according to 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney, experts at Consumer Reports say there's another important item to add to your to-do list before the bell rings -- cleaning your laptop. Tackle the dirt you can see but also the germs you cannot!
Consumer Reports Electronics Expert Rich Fisco knows laptops. "Laptops get dirty, but they're also full of germs. They need to be cleaned," he said.
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So when his daughter brings a filthy laptop home from college, Fisco said, "One of the first things I do is I grab her laptop and tell her: 'I'm going to clean it,'" he said. "You probably should start with the keyboard. Black keys are not gonna show a lot of dirt. But, trust me, they're filthy. You clean your keyboard less than you clean your bathroom, in most cases," Fisco said.
A hand-vacuum, with the brush attachment, works well on dust. But to tackle germs, you need to get a little more serious.
Dip a nice, soft cloth in water. Mixed with a splash of alcohol. Be sure to wring the cloth out really well, so none drips into the keyboard.
Next, clean your screen with the type of cloth you use to clean your eyeglasses.
A small squirt of dish detergent, diluted with water, will help you tackle more stubborn smudges.
Again, just dampen the cloth.
"And, with a little bit of time, a little bit of elbow grease, you can get most of your screen really, really clean. Germ-free, dirt-free, smudge-free," Fisco said.
Left with gummy residue from last year's stickers? That same, diluted alcohol mixture works wonders on the case. "As someone who tests computers for Consumer Reports, a dirty laptop is going to run the same as a clean laptop. As a dad, clean your stuff," Fisco said.
When using alcohol around a laptop, Consumer Reports stresses using it sparingly, mixed in water. Besides killing the germs on the surface, if you use too concentrated a mixture, it will not only kill the germs, but it may take the letters off your keys with it.
Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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