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Apart from mobility, a touchpad is arguably one of the strongest features that distinguishes laptops from desktops. You definitely want to take care of your touchpad and make sure that it stays in the best condition possible. Without a functional touchpad, a laptop is pretty much useless and it’s never fun to replace genuine parts.
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Whether you have a Windows machine or a Mac with a Magic Trackpad, you should know that your touchpad needs to be cleaned properly, that too, on a regular basis! If you’re a student you probably use your laptop in class, during lunch time, or on a bus/train on your way to school. Most of this is also true for working professionals. The more you use your laptop outside of your home, the filthier it gets! You don’t want to risk getting sick. To ensure functionality and durability, you must always keep your touchpad clean!
The most thorough way of cleaning a touchpad is to remove it first. If you are not comfortable doing that, you should at least clean the outside of the touchpad and the keyboard as well. It really isn’t a lot of work, and with a little love and care you can ensure that your laptop keeps functioning at its best. Remember that a touchpad collects dust and debris all the time. It is also the most sensitive and the most exposed component of your laptop, so you want to be gentle and patient when cleaning it.
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Different Ways of Cleaning Your Laptop Touchpad
Method #1: Wiping Down with a Microfiber Cloth
A damp cloth usually works just fine. Although most people substitute using a cloth with a paper towel, this really isn’t the best way to go about things. Paper towels contain fibres which end up sticking on to the surface of your laptop’s touchpad, which promotes a buildup of dirt and grime. The water in question should also be distilled water since tap water or regular drinking water contains chemicals which could potentially harm your device.
A microfiber cloth will instantly absorb all the dirt on your touchpad (not visible to the naked eye), allowing it to shine and operate as if it was brand new! As a matter of fact, most people marvel at the difference of the touch sensitivity before cleaning their touchpad as compared to after.
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Method #2: 50% Isopropyl Alcohol Solution
Most professionals recommend using this solution if you’re looking to completely disinfect your laptop’s touchpad and remove any sort of grease and oil buildup that might have accumulated over time.
Since alcohol based solvents can be a bit harsh, you should should be cautious while using them, and make sure not to use too much of the solution at once. Your laptop’s touchpad should be cleaned and disinfected regularly, generally after every few months or so.
Method #3: Window / glass cleaner
A window or glass cleaner can be used as a replacement solvent for diluted isopropyl alcohol. Similar to the 50% isopropyl alcohol, the window and glass cleaner should also be used with care due to the harshness and intensity of the solvent.
Steps to Follow When Cleaning Your Touchpad
Step 1: Make sure that your laptop is turned off, and is not connected to any electrical outlet. Removing the battery would be even better, but it isn’t much of an issue if you’re unable to do so.
Step 2: Use a little bit of water to dampen the cloth you will be using to clean your laptop’s touchpad. Make sure that the cloth is soft and nonabrasive. This will prevent your laptop from getting damaged during the cleaning process. Make sure to firmly wring out any excess water present in the cloth. Too much water can seep through during the cleaning process and might damage the internal components of your laptop.
Step 3: Gently dab around the area of the touchpad to remove any dirt and debris present on the touchpad’s surface. Water is quite effective at removing salt residue from spilt food and drinks as well.
Step 4: To completely disinfect and remove any grease from the surface of your touchpad, add a minute amount of isopropyl alcohol or window/glass cleaner. With great care, clean around the edges of your laptop, as well as the surface area. Make sure not to rub too hard, as this could cause damage to your device.
Step 5: Using a cotton bud, go around the edges of the touchpad to make sure you remove dirt and grime from the nooks and crannies as well.
Step 6: Finally, wipe your laptop’s touchpad with a dry cloth to speed up the drying process. Do not use a paper towel for this step since this could leave fragments of the paper towel as well as residual wood chips on top of the surface. After your touchpad is completely dry, it’s safe to plug in your laptop and use it as you wish.
Some Tips for Cleaning the Touchpad
- Do not directly pour any water or any cleaning agent on to your laptop. The liquid could seep inside and damage the internal components of your machine.
- Do not wring the damp cloth near your laptop.
- Try not to rub your touchpad too hard while you’re cleaning. The touchpad is quite sensitive! Let the cleaning agent do its job to disinfect and get rid of any dirt present on the touchpad.
- If there’s still an “oily” looking surface on your touchpad despite having cleaned it thoroughly, chances are that your touchpad has lost its shine due to wear and tear and usage. Consistently scrubbing this area to get the shiny look back will only further damage your device.
- In case your touchpad’s sensitivity still has not been regained after the cleaning process, then your touchpad is probably damaged. It is best to contact your laptop’s manufacturer and get your touchpad fixed or replaced.
Ways to Keep Your Touchpad in Good Condition
- Try to avoid eating near your computer, especially while you’re working and not paying as much attention. Crumbs falling over your device can get trapped under the surface of your touchpad, giving an open invitation to insects, mold, and bacteria. Similarly, spilling drinks on your device is both unsanitary, and can cause major damage to your machine.
- Keep your device away from pets and kids. It’s easier for children and animals to knock over food and drink over your laptop, causing the touchpad to be greasy and sticky.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before using your laptop. A mild hand-wash usually does the trick. It is also recommended to use water-based hand sanitizers to prevent buildup on your laptop’s touchpad.
- Clean your device as frequently as possible. The easiest way to neglect your device is to not properly take care of it and clean it, especially areas like the touchpad and the keyboard which are used the most and are therefore, more prone to getting dirty.
Overtime, although it may not seem like it, your laptop’s touchpad builds up dirt and gets greasy. Being one of the most used parts of your laptop, as well as being the most exposed, it’s natural for dirt and debris to form on top of, as well as underneath the touchpad itself. Not only does this affect the polished look of your device, it can also be quite cumbersome to operate a dirty touchpad. Your fingers will end up getting sticky, and the responses will be quite erratic.
Most people disregard care for their devices and don’t consider it an important task however, it’s necessary to regularly take care of cleaning your touchpad. Not doing so might reduce the sensitivity and overall life of your device.
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