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How to Physically Clean Your Desktop PC

Posted in Articles on 17/3/2017 (updated on 17/3/2017)

Cleaning Motherboard

Like everything within your home, your computer needs to be regularly serviced, cleaned and looked after. As a computer runs, it generates static electricity, which attracts dust and hairs. It’s important to take care of your PC to prevent dust build up, overheating, crumbs or dirt slipping through cracks, and other elements of wear and tear that can prevent the performance of your PC or damaging it.


Tips Before Beginning

Always make sure your PC is powered off before beginning the cleaning process. It’s a good idea to unplug components and disconnect cables, especially from the main source of power to prevent surges, static or electrocution. This is particularly important to do if you will be using equipment such as compressed air, damp cleaning cloths, small amounts of cleaning fluid, or other liquidated products similar to these.


Tools to use

PB Tech stocks a great range of cleaning solutions and bundle kits to aid your PC-cleaning process. We recommend a long-handled anti-static brush to help you get into the nooks and crannies of your PC parts, cleaning wipes with high liquid retention and zero residue, as well as cleaning swabs and dust removal compressed air.


Cleaning Internally

Getting Started – Opening up Your PC

Set your PC down on a flat, stable surface (preferably outside, in a garage, or another place where dust won’t re-settle) and remove the side panel from the computer tower case. Most panels can be easily removed with a Phillips-head screwdriver or similar. From here on out, you should be able to view all internal components of your PC for easy accessibility. If preferable, you can remove components that are easy to extract such as a RAM stick, SSD card, graphics card etc. to make the cleaning process easier, although it’s not necessary.


Cleaning the Inside of Your PC

Take your can of compressed air and begin removing dust build-up with short burst sprays of the can – this method will be the same throughout the cleaning process. Make sure that you are holding the can upright otherwise the liquid propellant may get into your PC or cause difficulty dispensing air. If you’ve just optionally removed peripherals, begin with them, then start working on the computer case and remove dust build-up in slots, the power supply, processor and fans.

Make sure your heat sink is cleaned. This part sits over your PC’s processor as a collection of metal ridges that stick up away from the motherboard. Remember not to cause your cooling fans to spin excessively while you’re cleaning as this can break them – if you’ve got a Q-tip or cleaning swab, use this to gently move the fan blades and prevent them spinning too much.

Continue to make your way through the enclosed and hard-to-reach spaces of your PC with your equipment, taking care to remove dust gently if using cleaning wipes, brushes or swabs. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away any stubborn fragments of dust.


Cleaning Externally

Rebuild Your Case & Tidy Your Workspace

When you’ve finished, simply screw the side panel back onto your tower case, place your PC back into its usual spot, and plug everything back in. If you have loose cables jumbled together – commonly found in custom-built PCs - it’s a good idea to invest in some zip-ties to neatly collate and stow your cables together before you pack everything up again.

Consider vacuuming and de-dusting the area, desk surface and space around your PC such as the floor/carpet so dust and dirt doesn’t creep back in so easily. Keep in mind that good airflow & air pressure management is key to preventing dust build-up, as well as airing out & keeping the room your PC is stored in clean and tidy.


Cleaning Your PC Accessories

It’s also a good idea to give the outer components of your PC and accessories a clean too, such as the outer case, or commonly-handled accessories like the mouse, headset or keyboard.

Spraying a sparse amount of cleaning fluid (not bleach!) on a paper towel to wipe down plastic or metal surfaces will easily get rid of dust, fingerprints and other marks.

Make sure to get in the hard-to-get or often looked over places of your accessories, such as the sensor on the bottom of the mouse or popping off your keys to get in the space underneath each letter/number. Use cleaning swabs or a miniature vacuum for these hard-to-reach areas

If your monitor is looking smudged or has one too many fingerprints on it, pick up some monitor cleaning wipes or a microfiber cleaning cloth kit.


Disclaimer: This information provided by PB Tech is a guide only. PB does not take responsibility for damage or distress caused to you or your computer when following these cleaning tips.

We recommend consulting an IT professional on how to and how often to clean your desktop PC tower and the components within it as this varies from computer to computer based on usage variables. 

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