PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- And just like that, it's back to school season! Time to gear up with fresh school supplies and new backpacks.
But experts at Consumer Reports say there's another important item to add to your to-do list before the bell rings: cleaning your laptop.
Consumer Reports tester, Rich Fisco, knows laptops.
"Laptops get dirty, but they're also full of germs. They need to be cleaned," he said.
So when his daughter brings a filthy laptop home from college, he makes sure it gets cleaned.
"One of the first things I do is I grab her laptop and tell her: 'I'm going to clean it.' But the good news is I know just how to clean 'em," said Rich. Adding: "You probably should start with the keyboard. You could see, black keys - they're not gonna show a lot of dirt. But - trust me - they're filthy. You clean your keyboard less than you clean your bathroom, in most cases."
A hand-vac, with the brush attachment, works well on dust. But to tackle germs, you need to get a little more serious.
Dip a nice, soft cloth in water, mixed with a splash of alcohol. Be sure to wring the cloth out really well, so none drips into the keyboard.
Next, clean your screen with the type of cloth you use to clean your eyeglasses.
A small squirt of dish detergent, diluted with water will help you tackle more stubborn smudges. Again, just dampen the cloth.
"And, with a little bit of time, a little bit of elbow grease, you can get most of your screen really, really clean. Germ free, dirt free, smudge free," said Rich.
Left with gummy residue from last year's stickers? That same, diluted alcohol mixture works wonders on the case.
"As someone who tests computers for Consumer Reports, a dirty laptop is going to run the same as a clean laptop. As a dad, clean your stuff!" said Rich.
When using alcohol around a laptop, Consumer Reports stresses using it sparingly, mixed in water.
If you use too concentrated a mixture, it'll not only kill the germs but it may take the letters off your keys, with it.
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Consumer Reports: Your laptop is dirtier than you think