How to Clean the USB Ports in Laptop Computers

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Make sure you have clean USB ports on your laptop.

USB ports, or Universal Serial Bus ports, are designed to accept external devices such as digital cameras, modems, printers, game controllers and many other devices. The USB ports also tend to become dusty after time from debris floating around in the air. When the USB ports become dirty and clogged with debris, they can short out when reading data or not work correctly. You can clean the USB ports on your laptop computer and prevent them from malfunctioning.


Step 1

Pick out any large pieces of lint, debris or dust that you can visually see stuck in the USB ports of your laptop computer.

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Step 2

Blow compressed air into the USB ports to blow out any debris or dust that is stuck. When blowing the compressed air into the USB ports, keep the can at an angle so it does not leak the liquid solution out of the can. Also, blow the debris away from the USB port instead of deeper down into it.


Step 3

Dip a cotton swab into a bottle of rubbing alcohol and gently rub the swab on the USB contacts in the port. This will clean the USB port of grime and residue that is collecting on it. After a while, the grime and residue collecting on the electrical connection of the USB port will degrade the connection.


Things You'll Need

  • Compressed air

  • Cotton swabs

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • USB port cleaner (optional)


Use a USB port cleaner if you would like to clean the copper pins of the USB port. This will allow the USB port to continue reading the external devices that are plugged into it without errors. The USB port cleaner must be purchased from a computer store. To use the product, simply insert it into the USB port after the debris and dust has been cleaned out to thoroughly clean the copper pins.


Put your safety glasses on to prevent dust or crumbs from being blown into your eyes when dusting with air duster.