After months or for some people years of use without cleaning, your computer can become extremely filled with dust. But, what most people don’t know is that dust can be extremely harmful to the components of your PC. Failure to clean your computer will drastically increase the natural slowdown in performance that PCs experience over time. It is important to clean your computer every 2 to 3 months in the manor presented below to ensure that it retains its full life expectancy.
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Why dust is harmful to your PC
We all know that computers produce heat and that computers (especially gaming PCs) must receive proper air flow. The cooling and airflow system of a computer must be able to properly dissipate the heat produced to ensure that the PC components do not become damaged. However, if a computer is not cleaned for months, dust will begin to build up and start to insulate the components of that computer. This will lead to dust build up on (and in) the GPU, CPU, motherboard, power supply, fans, vents, and the other components.
That dust will then begin to trap heat within the computer case and slowly start to cause wear, tear, and damage to the PC components. The more dust builds up, the slower your computer’s performance will become. Eventually, your computer will just stop working prematurely from the sustained overheating and damage. That is why it is very important to clean your PC periodically. Below are the steps you can take to safely clean your computer and ensure that it retains its full life expectancy.
What you need to clean your computer:
- A microfiber cleaning cloth (or any clean lint-free cloth you can find)
- 1 can of compressed gas (aka air) duster
- Alcohol wipes
- Rubber gloves (Optional: to prevent static discharge from your hands)
- 15 to 20 minutes of your time
Step 1: Turn off and unplug your PC
Shutdown your PC and unplug all cables connecting to the computer. Once the power cable is unplugged, press and hold the power button of your PC for 10 secs or until you hear a click to completely drain any electricity that is left in the system.
Step 2: Open the case of your PC
Most PC cases are modular; therefore, you can simply remove the thumb screws or whatever that is binding your PC panels. Next, remove both side panels and the front panel if possible. If your computer case has removable air filters, remove those as well.
Step 3: Remove the dust
Use the compressed gas to proper and safely remove the dust from your computer. Do not continuously spray. It is better and much more efficient to spray in intervals. Start from the ceiling of the case and work your way down. Make sure to pay extra attention to the fans, motherboard, GPU, and power supply. Also, don’t forget to spray the air filters as well. For the caked-on dust, use the alcohol wipes. Gently, wipe the caked-on dust from components and be careful not to break anything.
Example video of how to use the compressed air duster:
Step 4: Reassemble your PC
Once your computer is clean, put the air filters, 2 side panels, and front panel back in place. Secure the screws back on the case as well.
Step 5: Wipe the outside casing
Lightly dampen a clean microfiber cloth or any other lintless cloth you can find and wipe the outside casing of your PC.
Once the 5 steps above are completed your PC will have been cleaned. I recommend that you do this once every 2 to 3 months to expand the life expectancy of your PC.
How to prevent your computer from getting dusty:
- Do not keep your computer on the floor (especially on rugs)
- Dust the surfaces of your computer room frequently
- Get an air purifier for your computer room
- Get easy to install magnetic air filters for your computer’s case
- Keep pets, smoke, and other major contributors to dust creation away from your computer