It’s not the most exciting job, and probably one you keep pushing down your to-do list, but cleaning your computer is vital. A well taken care of the device runs better and lasts longer, and costs you less time, energy, money, and stress in the long run.

If you’ve got more time on your hands than usual due to COVID-19 changes, or if you’ve noticed that your machine isn’t running optimally lately, now is the perfect time to get your cleaning hat on.

Clean Your Computer Internally

Start by cleaning your computer internally. There are numerous jobs you can complete to declutter and organize the inside of your machine. For example, use an all-in-one disk cleaning manager that finds and deletes duplicate files. This function frees up, and better manages storage space on your computer’s drives. There are many excellent products for this on the market, including the popular Cleaner One Pro for Mac tool.

Once you use this kind of software program to find and remove unnecessary files, you’ll be surprised by how much extra storage you have available. These kinds of disk clean-up programs can also discover and erase temporary files slowing your computer.

Plus, many products can also search through folders to find items that haven’t been used for a while, particularly those that take up a lot of room in your device’s storage and memory. The software should give you a list of potential applications or files to consider deleting. Completing all of these functions will help your computer to run more efficiently as you’ll free up considerable space.

Another cleaning task is getting rid of any backups stored on your computer that are for old devices you no longer own or use, such as smartphones and tablets. For many people, these backups are stored in their iTunes files. Check the Devices tab on iTunes to find files you no longer need.

Also, if you want to cleanse your computer further, go into the web browser(s) you use on your device and clear the browser history. You can also merge duplicate folders. Take the time, too, to back up all your important files to an external hard drive or the cloud.

Finally, empty the trash folder on your desktop. Doing this will delete all the files and apps and other data you’ve sent to the recycle bin. When done, reboot your computer. You should notice an immediate improvement in how well your tech tool now runs.

Clean Your Computer Hardware

There’s no point streamlining the internal workings of your device if you don’t also take care of your computer’s hardware. Therefore, spend time cleaning the outer elements of your gadget regularly. Save files and turn off your device before you start cleaning. Then, using a soft cloth, such as a microfiber one that you’ve dampened slightly with water (not wet), clean the casing of the computer. Make sure moisture isn’t running off, especially when you clean around ports, as you can’t have liquid getting into these areas.

Use a dry cloth to wipe the computer screen, moving from corner to corner. This motion will get rid of surface dust. If the screen still looks dirty, dampen your cloth a tad in some water or a very gentle, natural cleaning solution (e.g., highly diluted vinegar) and wipe it over the surface again. Alternatively, use a specific screen cleaner. You can pick these up from many stores at an affordable price.

Next, use a slightly damp cloth on your external mouse if you have one. These accessories can get sticky and dirty over time from the natural oils in your fingers and creams or other things on your hands. If the mouse gets too covered, it may turn stiff and stop working correctly. Dip your cloth in a small amount of alcohol or tea tree oil as necessary to get rid of hard-to-move build-up.

Don’t neglect to clean your computer’s keyboard, either. This part is often one of the quickest to get dirty since you type on it so often. Plus, if you eat while near your device, you’ll probably end up with crumbs between and around the keys. Tap or shake the keyboard upside down to dislodge much of the debris.

To get more muck out from between keys, try a handheld vacuum or use a paintbrush to brush out additional bits and pieces. You can also use a small fan or a can of compressed air to clear crumbs and more. When you’re done, give the keyboard a final wipe over with a damp cloth to add shine.

We clean our clothes, our homes, and ourselves each week, but often we forget to give our much-needed tech gear a thorough clean, too. This job is a worthwhile one, though, so use the techniques above to help your computer look and run its best today.