As the world continues to deal with the threat of the novel coronavirus, people are looking for ways to clean and disinfect their living spaces and belongings. In our latest episode of The Chrome Cast, we talked about the many tech events that have been canceled and how businesses and schools are closing for deep cleanings. With all of this going on, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how you can clean and disinfect your Chromebook.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites, so your best precaution is to wash your hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick. But they also say current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, may remain viable for hours or days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. So cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces – like your Chromebook or other electronics – is a best practice to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your community.
Now let’s talk about how to properly clean and disinfect your Chromebook. First up is, you will need some bleach-free disinfectant wipes or a solution of 40 percent of rubbing alcohol and 60 percent distilled water. Using full-strength rubbing alcohol can damage the oil-repellent (oleophobic) coating that helps to keep smudges off the screen. You will also need a couple of microfiber cloths or any cleaning cloths that are linen free. Lastly, a can of compressed air is optional if you want to remove any dust that might be hiding in your Chromebook but this step isn’t necessary for disinfecting purposes.
Harsh cleaning supplies like bleach should never be used on your electronics since they can also damage the screen and other parts of your Chromebook. Also, avoid any abrasive cleaning brushes or cleaning pads that might scratch the surfaces of your Chromebook.
Last precaution – never spray any cleaning solution directly onto your Chromebook or any electronic for that matter. You should always apply the cleaning solution to a microfiber cloth and then apply it to the device to avoid any liquid getting into the device and causing damage. With those warnings out the way, let’s get started cleaning and disinfecting your Chromebook.
Step 1 – Completely power down your Chromebook or unplug the power cord if you are cleaning a Chromebox. If applicable, remove the battery from the bottom of the Chromebook. Most Chromebooks do not have easily-removable batteries, but this is a good precaution if possible.
Step 2 – Disconnect any cables or peripherals that are plugged into your Chromebook. This will allow you to access and clean every part of the device.
Step 3 – Use the compressed air to remove larger pieces of dirt or dust that might be in your keyboard and ports. When using compressed air, only give it a few short bursts and never turn the can upside-down. If you have an extra cleaning cloth, you can also dampen it with plain water and wipe down the device during this step.
Step 4 – Use the disinfectant wipe or apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol solution to the cloth and completely wipe down the entire Chromebook, including the screen and around each key of the keyboard. Use a small amount of pressure to remove any fingerprints or smudges on the screen, but not too much since this could damage the display. If you aren’t comfortable using the cleaning solution on the screen, you can buy disinfectant wipes specifically designed for LCD and laptop screens.
Step 5 – After everything is dry, you can use a dry microfiber to buff the screen to remove any haze that might be lingering on the display from the disinfecting process.
Although this article is geared towards the prevention of COVID-19, the cleaning techniques described above can be used to generally clean and disinfect devices, like shared Chromebooks at the end of a school year or during flu season. The same process can also be used for any external peripherals like a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or even your phone. If you have other ideas or suggestions on cleaning and disinfecting your Chromebook, let us know in the comments.