Dust, It's Slowing Killing Your Home Electronics

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It's easy to think, "it's just a little dust" when it comes to keeping house. What with all of life's daily responsibilities, who has the time to be dusting and sweeping every surface? However, one should note dust is a silent killer, especially when it comes to electronic devices. 

Ask anyone what the most dangerous elements are for electronics and  "liquids" and "excessive heat" are likely responses, both which are indeed destructive to digital devices. However, dust is often overlooked, and is the slow killer of electronics.

Since most people think of dust as a benign, albeit an unsightly occurrence, dust often accumulates on a variety of electronic devices (especially on the rear, out of sight, out of mind). Ports, fans, crevices, and vents are often left untouched for years. But using compressed air or a camera duster to routinely clean these sections is advisable if you're looking to maintain computers and electronic components and avoid "death by dust".

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Desktop Computer: Many towers have fans on the back and vents on the sides. At least once per year, perhaps more in dust ridden regions, use compressed air, then wipe down with an anti-static microfiber cloth. Start with the fan, then move to the vents to release any dust build up. You may be surprised what resides inside your computer's internal regions.

TVs: Wiping down the screen is pretty standard, but like computers, many large TVs also have a fan in the back helping to prevent the television from overheating. A little compressed air will help here too.

Keyboards: Keyboards won't overheat, but low profile keyboards will get "soft keys" (sticky) if there's too much built up gunk under a key. Unplug the keyboard and blow on it gently every once in a while, using that handy can of compressed air for bigger jobs, and a dollop of hand disinfectant on a paper towel to remove grime on top. 

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Mouse with Rolling Balls on Top or Bottom: My old Mac had a mouse with a small rolling ball on the top. It was great for web browsing, but on a nearly monthly basis the ball would get stuck and would roll sporadically. Even small amounts of dust will cause a mouse with delicate parts to operate poorly. A little compressed air on a regular basis will go a long way, with an alcohol based cleaner to wipe the top and bottom from smoother scrolling.

Add an Air Purifier: protect your home electronics further by installing an air filtration system nearby to keep dust, pet fur, and other debris out of digital devices and appliances in the first place. Check out our How to Shop for an Air Purifier shopping guide, alongside Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, and Consumer Search for recommendations.

(Photo Credits: Edward Goodwin via Flickr's Creative Commons, Tech Nibble and Apple)