Getting the Dust Out of Your PC

Summer heat can be brutal on your computer components. It can cause weird slowdowns and crashes that can’t be avoided without proper cooling. Unfortunately, if you have a layer of dust inside your computer it acts like a blanket, keeping parts warm and causing failures. A lot of PC parts are designed to slow down when they overheat. So let’s clean that dust out.

Power Down and Prepare the System

The first thing I do is unplug the system, since dust can cause static discharges, which isn’t good for delicate parts. It’s always safer to cut the power to a system when cleaning it. It’s also a good idea to let your PC cool to room temperature first, as letting the temperature change too quickly can degrade connections. You might want to use an open outdoor area to avoid letting the room fill with the very dust being removed and get back in your machine.

Air Compressor or Canned Air

Air Compressor

There are a few options out there to use. Some people use canned air, while other’s use compressors. It really depends on how dusty your environment is and how many PCs you have. Try to use an oil-less air compressor to avoid coating your products. The oil will make the parts sticky and harder to dust in the future. Canned air is good for small projects at work, or for smaller work areas like laptops. The spray nozzle can hit tight hard to reach areas. Some people even use electric lawn blowers to dust out the insides. You only need a second or two of air to clean off a motherboard.

Start Dusting

Air Duster

Once you’re ready to clean, keep in mind you’ll be sending a lot of air into the system, so start at a distance where you feel comfortable with how much is being blown around. Things like stickers on video cards and RAM chips have a tendency to be blow off, so don’t focus the air underneath them. Also watch for fans inside. When I blow dust off a fan I always hold it in place to avoid generating any electricity by spinning it. An LED fan can actually light up just from spinning, so you know it’s making juice. If you’re using canned air, remember to keep the can upright. Spraying upside down will send out freezing liquid, which is nice on a hot summer day, but usually frowned upon for circuits.

Heat Sink and Fan

The heatsinks underneath fans need the most attention. Make sure you’re getting the dust off the fins. If dust is really caked on then you might need some cotton swabs to wipe it away. A thick layer of dust can unbalance the blades, cause noise or simply not move as much air as your system needs. Don’t forget to check and clean out filters if your system has them. They are your system’s first level of defense. Make sure to pull off both case sides so you can get behind the motherboard as well as the drive bays to reach any dust hiding in the wires.

Once you’re all done, take a moment to enjoy the cleanliness of your rig and its just-like-new appearance. Do you have any tips for cleaning out your PC? Let us know in the comments. We recommend Air-Duster by Max Professional. You can get more information at: