Who would have thought that a laptop or keyboard could be dirtier than your bathroom? And your hard drive could be bogged down with countless old files that can slow down your computer. So how do you speed up your computer and also make your laptop screen glisten?

Start with the keyboard.

"You could see, black keys – they’re not going to show a lot of dirt. But – trust me – they’re filthy. You clean your keyboard less than you clean your bathroom, in most cases,” said Consumer Reports electronics expert Rich Fisco.

A hand vac with a brush attachment works well on dust. Compressed air works well on ports and nooks and crannies but make sure to hold it an angle so you don’t blow debris deeper into the machine.

Dust can accumulate inside tower desktops, causing the fans to work overtime. Don’t use a vac cleaner for that because it could cause static discharge which could damage your circuits. Again, compressed air is better.

To tackle germs, you need to get a little more serious. Dip a soft cloth in water mixed with a splash of alcohol to clean the keyboard. Be sure to wring out the cloth really well so that the mixture doesn’t drip into the keyboard.

Next, clean your screen with the type of cloth used to clean eyeglasses. A small squirt of dish detergent diluted with water will help you tackle more stubborn smudges. Don’t use ammonia or ammonia-based window cleaners, alcohol or other chemicals as they can damage the screens anti-glare properties and make a touch screen less responsive.

And with a little bit of time and a little bit of elbow grease, you can get most of your screen really, really clean. Germ-free, dirt-free, smudge-free.

Left with gummy residue on the case from last year’s stickers? That same diluted alcohol mixture will work wonders.

And to clean the inside?

Free up space by closing or uninstalling programs you're not using.

"If you're the sort of person you leaves 25 tabs open they each use memory, so start shutting down most of those tabs," advised Chris Raymond with Consumer Reports.

Next, move old photos and videos from your hard drive to an external drive to clear up more space.

You can also run a computer scan, defragment your hard drive and increase your computer memory by buying more RAM.

And don't forget anti-virus software. Malware and viruses can slow down your computer and lead to your system being hacked.


With files from Consumer Reports