The first step is to be sure that the computer is installed in a computer-friendly environment. This means that it should be in a dust-free (relatively speaking), smoke-free, and humidity-controlled (within a range of 50 to 70 percent relative humidity) location. For the most part, a normal office environment will qualify as computer-friendly. However, a normal office environment is not the only place that we find computers. Many computers are located on a warehouse floor, in a shop, or grouped together with a large industrial piece of equipment. In the event that the location of a computer is not as desirable as it should be, the frequency of preventive maintenance (cleaning) should be accelerated. In these instances, consideration should be given to establishing a computer-friendly zone around the computer, for instance, installing it into a cabinet and providing a source of clean fresh air. The following table describes what a computer technician should include in a basic cleaning kit.
|Lint-free chamois cloth||A cloth is useful for cleaning the outside surfaces.|
|Cleaning solution||Simple soap and water should be followed by a clear water rinse. Standard household cleaning solution (not extra strength) can also be used. The solution should be applied to the lint-free cloth and then applied to the computer surface. Do not use aerosol sprays. These generally use solvents as a propellant. Solvents can damage the plastic as well as the electrical components of a computer.|
|Foam swabs||Use these with cleaning solutions to clean small parts such as the wheels inside a mouse. (Cotton swabs are not recommended, because the cotton fibers can come off and be a contaminant themselves.)|
|Antistatic spray||An antistatic spray or solution should follow any cleaning. A solution composed of 10 parts water to 1 part common household fabric softener will do.|
|Small paintbrush and/or small hand-held vacuum cleaner||Used to remove dust from around the computer and inside its cabinet. The vacuum can be used to remove dust from the keyboard and other input devices.|
|Can of air||For removing dust from the power supply fan or from inside a computer. These can be purchased from any computer supplier; they are made especially for removing dust from electronic equipment.|
Never use liquids to clean inside a computer. Never apply liquids directly to the surface of a computer. Never use solvent-based cleanser or aerosols.
The proper placement or location of a computer relative to its environment is important for ease of maintenance and long life. Let's sum up good practices for placement of computer equipment. A computer should be:
Located in a dust-free and smoke-free environment.
Subjected to controlled humidity (50 to 70 percent relative humidity).
Subjected to controlled temperature (do not place too close to a heater or in direct sunlight-avoid temperature extremes).
Have good ventilation (make sure fan/ventilation vents aren't blocked).