Did you know that around 92% of the population own at least one computer device? Within these devices, there are several small USB ports that we often don’t think much about.

The problem is that these ports gather a lot of dust and grime if we’re not careful. Without a functioning port, you’ll not be able to use any of your favorite USB gadgets.

That’s why we’ve collected the top tips to help you learn how to clean USB ports without any risk to you or your laptop!

Inspect the USB Ports

The first thing you’ll want to do is to take a closer look at the damage to your ports. You can’t dive into learning how to clean laptop USB ports if you don’t know what is causing the problem.

Plus, how many times do you look into a USB port? It’s good to know the inner workings of the port before trying to clean it.

Your choice of method all depends on what’s stuck inside the port. Take a few moments to inspect it before moving on to the next steps.

Compressed Air

A can of compressed air is always at the top of any ‘how to clean electronics’ list and for good reason. This handy tool gives you a short burst of powerful air to dislodged any collected dust.

It works best when there isn’t anything sticky inside the port. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting more dust stuck on the substance.

Make sure to use the compressed air at an angle. This allows the airflow to go in and go back out while bringing the grime with it. Using compressed air straight into the laptop port risks pushing the dust more inward rather than out.


One of the best USB cleaning tips is to use a toothpick for the bigger clumps that you can’t reach with your fingers. Toothpicks are thin enough to fit into those small crevices and help you pull out any stubborn dust clumps.

Always use a plastic or wooden toothpick and never try to use something made of metal. If used in the wrong way, a metal object could cause damage to both you and your laptop.

Even with the right material, you’ll want to be careful with how you dig out the dust. It’s better to take a few extra minutes than to rush and damage something important within the port.

Isopropyl Alcohol and Cotton

When you’re learning how to clean laptop ports that are filled with gunk, you’ll want to turn your attention towards isopropyl alcohol.

Alcohol makes a good cleaner for electronics because it breaks down a lot of substances and it also dries fast so there’s no risk of damaging anything. Go with a high alcohol concentration, with at least 70% or above. The higher the concentrate, the better it’ll be at cleaning and drying.

A cotton swab is the best pairing for this purpose. It’s a small tool that doesn’t hold too much moisture which means there’s no risk of drenching the port.

Dab some isopropyl alcohol onto the cotton and then use that to gently scrub away any substances. Microfiber cloth also works great for this.

Even with the fast drying time, it’s better to make sure you give your laptop ample time to dry before turning it back on.

Dry Toothbrush

For those stubborn things that don’t want to budge at all when you clean a USB port, a dry and clean toothbrush is your best bet. An old toothbrush is perfect for this because the bristles are worn and soft. 

You’ll use it to scrub at the gunk stuck inside the port. Compressed air is good to have on hand so that the pieces you scrub away won’t find their way further into the laptop.

Preventative Measures

The good news is that there are several things you can do to stop this kind of situation from happening again. With a little bit of extra effort, your USB ports won’t gather enough dust to cause problems in the future.

Frequent Dusting

When you want to minimize dust damage to your laptop, it’s better to focus on preventing a problem in the first place. Your best defense is to clean your laptop often.

A quick spritz from a compressed air can is enough to make a huge difference in the longevity of your laptop. All it takes is a few moments and you’ll prevent any accumulation of dust or dirt.

When you tend to use your laptop more, you’ll want to clean it more. At least once a week is a good rule to follow when you use your laptop every single day.

USB Covers

Did you know that there are small bits of plastic meant to stop dust from getting into your USB ports? You’ll often find them in a standing computer after you’ve first purchased it, but they’re great for laptops as well.

If you don’t have any spares lying around, they’re easy to find. They’re a cheap alternative to needing to seek out repairs due to a dusty port.

Laptop Bag

If you don’t already have a bag for your laptop while you travel with it, then it’s time to start thinking about one. It’s much more difficult to protect your laptop when you’re on the go.

That’s why having a dedicated bag in which to carry it is an asset for all laptop owners. This way, you’ll get to travel anywhere you want and never need to worry about sand or grime getting into the delicate parts of your laptop.

A laptop sleeve or case is also a great option to help protect your computer!

Knowing How To Clean USB Ports Keeps Your Laptop Safe

Now that you know how to clean USB ports for your laptop, you also know how to clean ports in any other computer device. The process is much the same because even smaller ports, like micro USBs, have a similar structure.

Always remember to use a gentle hand to avoid causing damage to your device!

If your laptop still needs some help, check out our repair services to get it back in perfect condition!

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