How to Clean a Computer’s Insides Safely

The cooling fans in your computer pull in a lot of dust, dirt and pet hair inside the chassis. The dust can interfere with ventilation, eventually causing computer parts to heat-up and fail. At least once a year (Every six months would be better) you need to remove the cover from your computer and thoroughly blowout all that dust.

Start by removing the power cable and all other cables plugged into your computer. Take note on where each cable is plugged in, label them if you need to. You’ll need a couple of cans of compressed air to blow the computer insides clean. Better yet, if you have or can get access to an air compressor that would do a better job at blowing out the dust from the insides of your computer. Cleaning the inside of the computer is best done outdoors in a well ventilated area. You’ll be surprised at all the dust and dirt that comes flying out of your computer. You might even see a dust bunny or two come flying out of your computer.

Of course you can take your computer to your neighborhood computer repair shop and pay them to clean out your computer. But, why spend money on something you could do yourself.

The steps:

1. Check your computer’s owner’s manual. If the manufacturer has provided specific instructions on cleaning the insides, follow them.

2. Get the supplies you will need: a few can of compressed air, Endust for Electronics or any household plastic or metal cleaning fluid, a new soft brush, (a new paintbrush will work) and an clean anti-static rag. If you’re allergic to dust, you might consider getting yourself a dust mask.

3. Shut down your computer. Be safe, you can backup your hard drive using Windows backup software.

4. Unplug the power supply cable and disconnect all peripheral cables from your computer. If you need help plugging all the cables back in. You can label the cables as to where they plug back into the computer.

5. Take your computer to a well ventilated area such as outdoors or in the garage. Believe me, the dust will fly.

6. Remove your computer cover and put it in a safe place where it will not be damaged. If you’re not sure how to do this read your computer owner’s manual for instructions. Usually there are two screws on the back of the computer that hold the cover in place.

7. Spray the inside of the computer using compressed air, angle the compressed air so that the compressed air does not shoot back and hit you in the face. Careful not to touch or move any of the circuits or wires inside the computer.

8. Spray compressed air on all the fan blades, the power supply vent and fans. Spray compressed air all around the hard drives,  motherboard and anyplace you can see dust build up. Be very careful not to touch metal to metal inside your computer. If you’re using the mental airgun or metal can of compressed air, be careful not to touch any of the components inside the computer. As this may cause damage to the circuits inside.

9. You can use a very soft brush (a new paintbrush) to gently brush off any dust that the compressed air didn’t dislodge inside your computer.

10. Use the brush to remove any remaining dust out from the bottom of the computer chassis. You know that your computer is clean of dust and dirt on the inside. When you spray compressed air in and there is no more dust or dirt flying out.

11. Use Endust for Electronics or another cleaning fluid onto an new anti-static rag.

12. Wipe the inside and outside of the cover thoroughly. But be careful not to get any fluid on the inside electronics. Do not spray cleaning fluid of any kind directly into the computer. Use Endust for electronics to clean the outside of the computer.

13. After your computer is thoroughly cleaned, replace the computer cover and reconnect the peripherals.

Note: If at all possible, clean your computer’s insides outdoors or in a very well ventilated area off, and away from in an uncarpeted area.

Warnings: Be careful not to touch any computer chips or circuits. Also be careful not to unplug any cables or wires on the inside of the computer. Touch as little as possible inside your computer. Static damage may cause a failure months after the incident. Do not under any circumstances, spray cleaning fluid directly into the inside of your computer.

Cleaning the computers inside is something I do every six months. Once you do it yourself, You’ll see how easy it really is. Remember a clean computer is a happy cool computer.