How to Clean the USB Ports in Laptop Computers? – 3 Methods

Last Updated on November 6, 2020

Keeping your laptop clean is imperative if you are to continue using it normally for a longer period. If you’re wondering how to clean the USB ports in laptop computers then you’re in the right place.

There are several things you can use including alcohol, cotton swabs, compressed air, and some sprays. It all depends on how thorough you want to be.

One of the main things that gather dirt is USB ports. This is partly because they are exposed to the outside, so all the dirt and dust around have a chance of settling there.

When cleaning out the USB ports, you need to make sure the laptop has been switched off. And, to be even safer, its best to have the charging cable disconnected just to avoid any damage or personal injuries.


Dirty USBs

dirty usb port

The USB ports of a laptop are very vulnerable to gathering dust and dirt over some time. This is made even worse if you work in a somewhat dusty environment.

This can cause some issues like failure to connect correctly to USB devices, especially if the dirt buildup is too severe.

The good thing is that all these issues can be reversed with a little cleaning.

How to Clean the USB Ports in Laptop Computers?

Because the USB ports are exposed, there’s little to no need to open up the device, unless you’re doing a full PC clean afterward.

To clean the USB port, you can use a few readily available or affordable items. Here’s how to go about it.

Using Rubbing Alcohol

how to clean the usb ports in laptop computers

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl is a common household item with various uses ranging from antiseptic to a cleaner.

What makes it great for cleaning electronics is the fact that it vaporizes very fast and doesn’t leave any residue behind.

When deciding which one to use, go for the ones with a higher concentration as those with less than 70% alcohol concentration may take a longer time to dry up.

To use this effectively you’ll need a cotton swab. Wet the swab with the alcohol and use it to reach into the USB port.

You should then proceed to gently rub the swab against the port’s insides, making sure to gather as much dirt as you can. The wet swab allows you to get much more dirt out and alcohol is a great solvent so you can remove even some sticky substances.

Drawbacks of Rubbing Alcohol

You may need to give this a few hours for the ports to be completely dry depending on the concentration of alcohol you use.

At the same time, you may inadvertently push the dirt further inside the port of you aren’t very careful with the cotton swabs.

Using Compressed Air

compressed air

Compressed air is a great way to clean out the dirt and residue in a laptop’s USB ports. Its also used to clean out the rest of the laptop.

Here, you can either consider using an electric blower if you have one available. If not, you can get a can of compressed air cheaply and use that instead.

With each method, you will first need to remove the larger clumps of dirt or dust balls inside the USB ports.

Afterward, aim the nozzle of the can or the blower, at an angle, into the USB port. Once activated, the high-pressure air will flow into the USB port forcing the dust and other particles out.

Because the USB ports’ rear ends don’t open into the computer’s internal body, you can be sure that you won’t be forcing the dust into your laptop’s internals.

Nevertheless, you will need to angle the nozzle a bit so that you don’t push the dust further inside the USB port and make things worse.

Drawbacks of using Compressed Air

Unless you have the blower or compressed air can in hand, you may need to buy it and it might be a bit costly.

At the same time, compressed air can eventually run out so if you choose to use the can, you will need to purchase a new one each time you end up with an empty.

Also Read: How to Clean a Laptop Touchpad?

Using a Contact Cleaner

contact cleaner

Contact cleaners refer to a wide range of chemical products that are used to remove dirt and other unwanted buildups from conductive surfaces of electronics, a USB port being one of them.

Contact cleaners can be used to clean out your USB ports if they have a buildup of anything from dirt to debris and some can even remove rust.

Just as with each process, you may need to switch off your computer, disconnect power, and maybe even let it cool down a little. Afterward, you can use a contact cleaner to clean it out.

A popular brand is the WD-40 Specialist. All you need to do is spray the port with the contents of the can and just because the spray is in liquid form shouldn’t scare you off.

Spray each of the ports generously and ensure they are clean before proceeding to the other ports. The solution dries up fast and you can get to using your computer soon afterward.

It works well to remove dirt, residues, and even oil, leaving your ports clean.

Also Read: Best Motherboards with Thunderbolt 3 Port

Drawbacks of using a Contact Cleaner

The main issue with using a contact cleaner is that a single can will be a little costly for some.

Also Read: How to Remove Processor from a Motherboard?


You have just seen how to clean the USB ports in Laptop Computers and you are now a little bit more confident with cleaning yours.

The few methods shown are some of the best ones, but you can clean it out with even a toothpick depending on the extent of the dirt in the ports.

When cleaning them, be sure to follow the guide and at all costs, do not use water in place of alcohol as it will take a longer time to dry up and in the worst-case scenario, can cause some irreparable damage to the ports.


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I am an engineer with a keen interest and a passion for PC builds and hardware. is essentially the culmination of our enthusiasm towards this subject. We review PC peripherals and hardware, talk about custom builds and informative topics regarding troubleshooting issues, understanding a component better and general tips for DIY PC builders.