Regularly cleaning your PC is essential to ensure that it runs smoothly and prevent overheating. However, many people tend to put off cleaning their PCs, which can lead to a buildup of dust and other debris that can affect its performance.
In this article, readers will learn how often they should clean their PCs, why cleaning is necessary, and how to clean their PCs and peripherals safely. Additionally, readers will discover some useful tips for preventing dust buildup and controlling dust around their PCs.
How Often Should I Clean My PC?
To ensure that your PC runs smoothly and lasts longer, it is important to keep it clean. Generally, it is recommended that you clean the dust inside your case every three to six months and dust the surfaces every week.
However, if your PC is on the ground, near a window, or in a closet, it is more prone to dust buildup, so you should clean it every two months. If you have hairy pets like cats or dogs, pet dander and hair tend to accumulate on parts quickly, so it is advisable to clean your PC at least every two months. Or, if you live in a hot, dry area, you should be more careful about dust buildup to help prevent damage to your components.
Why Should I Clean My PC?
Keeping your PC clean is essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Neglecting to clean your computer can lead to a buildup of dust and debris, which can cause various issues. Here are some reasons why you should make cleaning your PC a priority:
1. Improve Performance
Dust and debris can clog your PC’s components, causing them to malfunction and slow down your device. Additionally, dust inhibits the cooling process, forcing your fans to work harder and shortening your device’s lifespan. Regular cleaning can dramatically improve your PC’s performance and prevent these issues from occurring. It’s a small investment that can protect your hardware and data.
2. Avoid Overheating
Dust and pet hair can act as insulators, causing your PC to overheat. If they build up on your filters and fans, they essentially act as a blanket and trap heat inside your device. Overheating can crash your computer and potentially cause data loss. It also shortens your PC’s lifespan, costing you hundreds of dollars in repairs and replacement parts. To avoid unnecessary headaches, clean your case every few months and keep it well-ventilated.
3. Protect Your Health
Invisible germs and bacteria can accumulate inside and on the surface of your computer. As your cooling system works, these germs circulate in the air surrounding your system and end up on your keyboard and mouse. If you have a habit of eating at your computer, it’s easy to ingest these germs without realizing it. Regularly cleaning your PC can help lower the chance of getting sick and protect your health.
Cleaning your PC is crucial to ensure its longevity, optimal performance, and your health. It’s a simple task that can prevent various issues and save you time and money in the long run.
How To Clean Your PC
Proper cleaning of a PC is essential to keep it dust-free and improve its longevity. This section covers the internal parts of a PC and how to clean them. Peripherals are discussed in a separate section.
Before starting the cleaning process, it is important to gather the necessary tools and supplies to avoid wasting time and making mistakes. The required tools include a can of compressed air or a piece of lint-free cloth, a brush, toothbrush, screwdriver, some cotton swabs, and rubbing alcohol.
It is important to turn off the PC and unplug the power cable from the rear and let the PC cool down. Disconnect all the cables and peripherals, making sure to note where each cable goes to avoid mistakes when reconnecting them. Press the power button multiple times to ensure no static electricity is lingering in the components.
Remove the side panels of the case, and if the front panel is detachable, remove it too. Keep the case near an open window or door to get fresh air while cleaning. Alternatively, move the case outside before removing the panels.
2. Getting Rid Of Dust
If the user is not tech-savvy, simply removing the dust from the case is enough. There is no need to clean the individual components. Use a lint-free cloth or can of compressed air to clean the dust from any dust filters and any obvious deposits in the base of the case. Do not blow the compressed air too close to the components as it may damage them. Also, make sure the fans do not spin while pushing air into the case, as the dust in the air can penetrate the fan bearings and ruin the fluid that allows the fans to spin.
Dip a toothbrush into rubbing alcohol and clean the fan blades gently. After cleaning, put the parts back together again if not planning on cleaning the components. Always wear a mask when opening the PC to avoid the fine grains of dust from getting into the lungs, causing irritation and allergic reactions.
3. Cleaning The Components
If the user wants to go all the way, it is time to clean the CPU, graphics card, and power supply unit. However, it is important to note that the previous step is sufficient if the user does not have the expertise. Do not take out the components on your own. Instead, ask a technician to clean them for you.
It is not necessary to clean the CPU itself, but the cooler and sockets should be cleaned. This step does not require removing the CPU from the case.
First, disconnect the cooler from the motherboard and take it out. Blow compressed air to clean the dust from the heatsink. Use a brush to remove the remaining dust from the fan and around the sockets. Use some rubbing alcohol and a piece of lint-free cloth to remove the old thermal paste on the CPU. Apply a dot of new thermal paste. Remember that less is more when it comes to using thermal paste. Put the cooler back on and tighten the screws.
2. Graphics Card
Take the graphics card out of the case to clean it thoroughly. Use compressed air and a brush gently to remove the dust. Make sure the fans do not spin to avoid dust entering their bearings. Hold the can upright so that none of the liquid air can escape. Do not shake the can.
3. Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Restricted airflow in the PSU causes overheating, potentially damaging some of the capacitors that already run very hot. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that connect the PSU to the PC. The power supply has an intake and an exhaust: the fan is the intake, and the mesh grille is the exhaust. Both of these parts need to be cleaned.
Start cleaning with the intake. First, stop the fan from moving and then use the compressed air to blow dirt off this part. Blow into the fan until sure all the dust has been removed, and repeat this process for the mesh grille.
After completing the deep cleaning process, put all the parts back together again. The PC is now clean and ready to work at full performance.
How To Clean The Peripherals
Cleaning the peripherals is an essential part of maintaining your computer’s hygiene. It not only keeps your computer looking good but also helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. In this section, we will discuss how to clean the different peripherals of your computer, including the keyboard, monitor, headphones, printer, and scanner.
The keyboard is one of the most frequently used peripherals and can accumulate a lot of dirt and debris over time. To clean the keyboard, you will need a microfiber cloth, some cotton swabs, rubbing alcohol, and a can of compressed air.
First, hold the keyboard upside down and blow out all the dust debris with compressed air. Then, dip the cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently clean both the keys and the spaces between them. For mechanical keyboards, you can remove the keycaps and clean the surface under them with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. However, before removing the keys, take a picture of the keyboard to remember where they go. For membrane keycaps, it may be harder to take them out, depending on the design. Be careful not to spill any liquid inside the cracks of the keys as this could damage your keyboard.
Cleaning the monitor is essential to maintain its clarity and prevent any scratches. To clean the monitor, use a microfiber cloth and ensure that the monitor is turned off and unplugged for safety reasons. Start by gently wiping dust in vertical or horizontal swipes with a microfiber cloth. If you come across clumps that won’t come off, don’t apply force as this can damage your display. You can also use rubbing alcohol or distilled water to clean any stubborn dirt or debris. However, keep your spray far away from the monitor, especially the edges, as any liquid can damage electronic devices. Also, never clean the monitor with harsh household cleaners like bleach or glass cleaners.
Headphones are another frequently used peripheral that can accumulate dirt and bacteria over time. To clean them, moisten a cloth with warm water and clean the earpieces. You can also place bags over your headphones to prevent dust buildup.
Cleaning the printer is crucial to maintain its longevity and prevent any damage. To clean the outside of the printer, take a soft cloth and give it a light dusting every once in a while. Wipe the case and all the buttons or knobs on the printer. To clean the internals, use a brush and remove the remaining dust. However, do not spray any liquid directly on your printer.
Cleaning the scanner is essential to maintain its quality and prevent any damage. To clean the scanner’s surface, spray a cleaning liquid onto a cotton cloth and wipe it until it becomes clean. However, do not spray any liquid directly on the scanner components, like the printer.
Therefore, cleaning the peripherals of your computer is an essential part of maintaining its hygiene and longevity. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your peripherals remain clean and free from any dirt or bacteria.
While manual cleaning can help maintain the physical integrity of your PC, it’s equally essential to ensure the digital cleanliness of your system. For optimal performance and security, it’s recommended to use software tools specifically designed for this purpose. Check out our list of best pc cleaners to keep your computer running smoothly from the inside out.
Safety Tips When Cleaning Your PC
Cleaning a PC can be a risky task if proper safety precautions are not taken. Here are some tips to ensure that you don’t harm yourself or your PC while cleaning it:
- Avoid using paper towels to clean your dirty PC as they can leave particles on the surface of it.
- Never use a vacuum cleaner or feather duster as they can generate excessive static electricity, which may fry your PC’s internal components once you turn it on. Instead, use a can of compressed air to clean your PC.
- Avoid working on a carpet or a styrofoam mat as they generate more static electricity.
- Wear an anti-static wristband to protect your PC from the static electricity that your body may generate. If you don’t have one, touch the PSU housing or metal casing before touching other components.
- Clean your PC in an open area as there’s often too much dust inside it. Besides, cover your mouth and nose with a dust mask.
- Never clean fans while they’re spinning as this motion generates electricity and could damage other components. It’s best to turn off the PC and wait for the fans to stop spinning before cleaning them.
By following these safety tips, you can ensure that you clean your PC without causing any damage to yourself or your PC.
How To Prevent Dust Build-up
Dust buildup can cause various problems in your computer, from overheating to hardware damage. Here are a few tips to help prevent dust buildup in your computer:
1. Install An Air Filter
Installing an air filter in your room can prevent dust from ending up in your computer. It is best to have the air filter near the PC tower as it can draw in the particles floating in the air and collect pet hair that may be around your PC. This is a relatively inexpensive solution that could yield substantial results. Additionally, it can help improve the air quality in your room.
2. Choose A Good Place To Put Your PC
Choosing the right place for your PC case is crucial in preventing dust buildup. Here are a few tips to consider when deciding where to put your case:
- Avoid putting your computer on the floor: Dust tends to stick to the ground, and placing your PC on the ground can cause it to suck in more dust. Instead, place it on a desk.
- Move your computer off your carpet: Carpet is a dust and dirt magnet, and it attracts a lot of dust. Placing your PC on a carpet can cause it to collect more dust.
- Leave enough space around your computer: Providing good airflow inside your PC is essential in preventing dust buildup. Having a well-ventilated environment helps fans to work properly and prevents overheating.
- Keep your computer away from doors and windows: Placing your PC near doors and windows can potentially make it dustier. It is best to have a window in the room for better airflow, but getting too close to the window can cause more problems.
- Avoid putting your case inside a closet: Closets and cramped spaces tend to collect more dust, which will end up in your case. Additionally, it can lead to poor ventilation, causing your fans to work harder and draw in more dust.
3. Clean Your Room Often
Cleaning your computer room regularly can help keep your computer and its surroundings clean. Vacuuming the floor, dusting, and wiping your shelves can help prevent dust buildup. Avoid eating or drinking near your computer, as small crumbs and spills can accumulate over time and cause a big mess.
4. Keep An Eye On Your Pets
Pet dander is a significant contributor to dust accumulation, so it is essential to protect your PC from your pets. If possible, put your PC in a room where your pets don’t go, especially if you have a dog or cat breed that sheds excessively. If you cannot restrict your pet’s access, clean your room and PC more frequently.
Note that these tips can minimize but not eliminate dust from accumulating. Some amount of dust will build up inside your computer no matter how religiously you follow these tips. Rather than worry about dust buildup, set a schedule for cleaning your PC and its surroundings.
How Often Should I Clean the Inside of My PC?
It is recommended to clean the inside of your PC every three to six months. However, this duration may vary depending on the environment in which your PC is located. If your PC is in a dusty or polluted area, it may require cleaning more frequently.
What Is the Best Way to Clean the Inside of My PC?
The best way to clean the inside of your PC is by using compressed air. You can purchase cans of compressed air specifically designed for cleaning electronics. Be sure to hold the can upright and use short bursts of air to avoid damaging any components.
How Often Should I Clean the Fans on My PC?
It is recommended to clean the fans on your PC every three to six months. Dust buildup on the fans can cause them to work less efficiently, leading to higher temperatures and potential damage to your PC.
Can I Clean My PC Without Taking It Apart?
Yes, you can clean your PC without taking it apart. Using compressed air and a soft-bristled brush, you can clean the exterior and interior components of your PC without disassembling it.
What Are Some Alternatives to Using Compressed Air to Clean My PC?
If you do not have access to compressed air, you can use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove dust from the components of your PC. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a soft-bristled attachment to remove dust from the exterior of your PC.
Why Is It Important to Regularly Clean My PC?
Regularly cleaning your PC can help prevent dust buildup, which can cause your PC to overheat and potentially damage components. It can also improve the performance and lifespan of your PC by ensuring that all components are working efficiently.