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Laptops are resilient, engineered to operate in less than optimum conditions, and when you think about it, a good few of us don’t exactly whip out the kid gloves when using these devices.

Due to the transition to remote work for many of us, we take our laptops to cafes, restaurants and even to the beach (when outside activity is allowed, of course), hardly giving the conditions our devices are in a second thought.

However, when we introduce volcanic ash into the mix, especially in large quantities like what is currently affecting Barbados and St. Vincent due to the eruption of La Soufriere, then you’ve entered another level of “less than optimum conditions”. Volcanic ash is extremely abrasive, and it has the significant ability to infiltrate even the best-sealed environment. The best way to protect your laptop from volcanic ash or any other dust is to avoid it getting in, on or around your device. We’ve put together some tips on how to keep your laptop functioning efficiently, which should assist when avoiding these elements isn’t possible.

1) Most laptops have internal fans to keep the electronics cool. These fans suck air into the device and over electronic components, and in cases of heavy contamination by dust or ash, the reduction in airflow can lead to overheating and, eventually, a system crash. Ensure air vents and fans are free from dust using canned air or a small vacuum cleaner.

2) Volcanic ash is highly abrasive. Ash that settles on your laptop should not be wiped off with a cloth as this may lead to scratching (especially the screen.) Use a soft-bristled paintbrush, canned air or a small vacuum cleaner to remove heavy dust contamination before wiping with a computer grade screen wipe.

3) The ash can also settle in your keyboard, restricting movement and leading to wear. Use the canned air to blow ash and other contaminants out of the keyboard. Be careful if using a vacuum cleaner as it can potentially remove and ingest keycaps.

Finally, this laptop successfully rebooted after it was properly cleaned. Don’t let yours get like this, though! Please!

ICBL provides cover for your electronics under our Contents policy, including your possessions that get to leave the house! Chat with a representative using to learn more.


Written by

Carl Millar

VP Technology and Business Solutions