Computers are built with fans inside them, and over time, these fans will draw in dust and dirt that will eventually coat the components inside. This can become a problem after a few months, as the extra dust creates a blanket of sorts, and makes the components inside heat up, often to levels where they no longer work efficiently.
Fortunately, cleaning a computer isn’t a difficult task, and can be done with a few simple tools and a little know-how.
When washing the case, the most significant thing to remember is that we want to allow fresh air to get into the case and any excess dirt to be removed. If dust filters are clogged or excess dust is collected around the sinks, your system might overheat, whether it’s from playing video games or online blackjack. To combat this, you want to do all you can to remove dust and keep the immediate environment fresh and tidy. Note: Whenever your PC or its parts are cleaned, attention should be paid to static damage. It’s best to make use of an anti-static wristband, but if you don’t have one, make sure you touch your case or PSU case frequently.
If you want to avoid breathing in any of the dust and dirt that you remove from your case, wear a dust mask or respirator. Switch off your PC and unplug the back power cable. Unplug everything if you want to be extra secure. If necessary, move your laptop to a ventilated location, or at least open a window to allow fresh air to enter the room. Remove the side panels and the front panel of your case (if possible). Use a lint-free cloth or compressed air can to wash the dust from any dust filter, as well as any apparent build-up at the bottom of the case.
Deep Cleaning a PC
Remove and put all of your parts on a non-conductive surface. If your CPU heat sink is removed — not necessary— be conscious that the thermal paste should be removed and re-applied. Use compressed air and a lint-free tissue to any dust you see. Pay special regard to any crevices, shrouds of plastic, and heat sinks. Also clean all dust filters thoroughly. Use cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol or equivalent to wash them clean if there are any fingerprints or oily marks on anything. Before placing the components back together, make sure to leave them to dry. Some parts can build up dust, such as a graphics card. Cleaning these may require the card to be disassembled, which can be done if you have the right tools (small hex and Torx bits are often needed).
There are certain components, such as your PSU’s interior, that you won’t be prepared to efficiently wash without separating it and voiding your warranty. It may also be hazardous to do so. Instead, it’s advised to use a compressed air can connected to a straw to allow it to blow and dislodge any stubborn dust. When you switch it on next, it should sweep any loosened dust from the back by its own fan and natural airflow.