Proofreading is not fun. Submitting a carefully crafted project or pitch only to appear unprofessional due to keyboarding or formatting errors is even less fun.

Although there is no substitute for meticulous editing, one basic principle will reduce the number of errors in your work and the amount of time you need to invest in editing. It's simple: a clean workstation means clean copy.

The reason for this is not some obscure psychological theory but ergonomics. If you have difficulty seeing what you are doing or if your mouse and keyboard are not working correctly, errors will creep into your work.

What You Will Need:

  • Cleaning cloths (white terry cloths are ideal)
  • Water
  • Screen Cleaning Liquid
  • Compressed Air
  • Soft Brush
  • Thin knife
  • Cotton buds

Tip: Apply liquids to cleaning cloths or cotton buds, not directly to computer components. Cleaning cloths should be damp, not dripping wet.

Step 1: Safety

Unplug your computer and detach all cables before you start cleaning. For laptops, remove the battery.

Step 2: Keyboard

Turn the keyboard upside down. First, shake it gently. Next run over the keyboard with a soft brush to loosen dirt and then shake it again. Blow compressed air around the keys. Shake again. Repeat until dirt stops falling out.

Next, wipe down the sides and surface of the keyboard with a damp cloth. Clean the sides of individual keys with a damp cotton bud if needed. If your keys are still sticking, use a thin knife blade to remove stubborn dirt.

Step 3: Screen

Run a damp cloth over your screen to remove dirt and then rub with a clean dry cloth to eliminate streaks. For especially stubborn dirt, use a screen cleaning solution.

Avoid glass cleaners and other regular household cleaning products as they can damage your screen.

Step 4: Mouse and mouse pad

Wash your mouse pad with ordinary dish washing liquid and warm water. Clean the exterior of your mouse with a damp cloth. Use a damp cotton bud to clean the sensor of an optical mouse. To clean a mechanical mouse, open the mouse and wipe the mouse ball with a damp cloth.

Step 5: Lighting

Turn off the lamp you intend to clean, unplug it, and wait until the bulb is cool. Lightly run over the lightbulb and shade with a damp cloth to remove all dust.

Step 6: Finishing touches

Run a damp cloth over the exterior of your computer, all your cables, the back of your monitor, and your desk area. Removing accumulated dust and dirt in your workspace helps your computer stay clean.


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