BALTIMORE - We'll wipe down all of the shelves, cabinets and pictures.
But when it comes to getting our electronics dust and smudge free, there are a few things we need to keep in mind.
Jon Aumann with Best Buy's Geek Squad joined Megan and Charley on Good Morning Maryland at Nine to go over the do's and don'ts of electronic spring cleaning.
Below is Aumann's list:
Spring Cleaning Do’s
Bust the dust – PC cases can get dusty, which is a risk to the long-term, well-being of your computer. First, make sure to turn off the PC before doing any cleaning tasks. Then look at the fan on the back of your system: if it's fuzzy, use a can of compressed air (sold at hardware stores for less than $10) to spray off the dust in a sideways direction. (Once in a while, it’s a good idea to pull the computer out, open the case, and blow out all the dust within. ONLY DO THIS WHEN EVERYTHING IS UNPLUGGED!) Dust other case surfaces with a disposable, soft dusting cloth. If there's other gunk on the case that resembles a late-night coffee stain, a slightly damp paper towel will do the trick.
Detail your printer – To prevent printer jams and other foul-ups, give a small burst of compressed air to the printer mechanism that rolls in the paper. With an inkjet printer, make sure to print at least a page once a week in order to avoid cartridge clogs. It’s usually unnecessary to clean the outside of the printer case, but you may have to if the printer lives in a kitchen and experiences close encounters with flying food. A slightly damp cloth can get the job done, but don’t apply water directly to the printer.
Kill keyboard crud – More goodies may lurk in your keyboard than live under your couch, as crumbs from every muffin or sandwich you’ve eaten at your desk wind up in between the keys. Unplug the keyboard, and then turn it upside down and shake out the cookie crumbs and edible artifacts. For a more advanced cleaning to get rid of both dirt and germs, use a can of compressed air and an antibacterial wipe to really get it squeaky clean. While you’re at it, give your mouse a thorough wipe-down– it can collect plenty of dirt and finger grime, too.
Improve your view – When was the last time you dusted your monitor? Unplug it and dust it with a disposable dusting cloth. If dirty fingerprints are making it hard to read the screen, unplug it and use a slightly damp cloth with water only. Some monitor companies sell cleaning solutions, but you probably don't need one unless you have a premium model. Note: Do not use glass cleaners or household detergents because their components could damage your screen. Not sure about the safest way to clean your screen? See our trusty list of “Spring Cleaning Don’ts” below or let our Geek Squad Agents help you choose the best cleaning product for your monitor.
Updating Your Computer System's Innards
With the outside of your PC all clean and new, it's time to turn your attention to the insides, namely to the bits and bytes that can end up overloaded and worn after prolonged PC use. Check out these five easy ways to clean the inside of your PC. They’re all quick and easy, plus spring is the perfect time to start cleaning up your computer on a regular basis.
Update your Operating System – In between your other cleaning chores, make sure to keep your Windows or Macintosh operating system updated. Otherwise, invaders worse than bathroom mildew could take over your PC. In Windows XP's start menu, right-click on My Computer, then choose Properties, Automatic Updates, and choose a time for Windows to update itself daily. In Macintosh computers, go to the Apple pulldown menu on the top left side of the screen, and select Software Update.
Check antivirus protection – Antivirus software does you no good unless you keep the definitions up to date. The software can't protect you if it doesn't know what's on the latest watch list. If your PC runs protection programs like Norton Anti-Virus or Sophos, you must pay yearly for access to updated definitions. Not sure if your definitions are up to date? Open your antivirus software and it will tell you if you need to renew or your subscription’s expiration date.
Most programs will prompt you with reminders leading up to the renewal date. Anxious to know your PC’s bill of health? Visit GeekSquad.com for a free computer virus scan.
Play "I spy." – Spyware programs camp out in your PC after you open a malicious e-mail, click on a banner ad or visit a rogue Web page and can be tough to find. Be good to your PC and check for them regularly. Is your system running slowly? Do your Web browser’s settings seem to change automatically or do you have strange icons in your system tray? Then it's definitely time to check for spyware. Try Macafee’s Virus Scan and Anti Spyware bundle, or check out Microsoft Windows Defender, a free utility that will tell you if strange things are happening behind the scenes in your PC.
Defrag the hard drive – Your PC's hard drive needs