Best way to clean inside of a PC?

Having opened my PC and been greeted by a cloud of dust, I was wondering what’s the best way to get rid of the dust?
Can I just stick the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner in or will this damage / suck away something expensive? What about the dust on the heatsink/CPU fan, do I get a small brush to that? How about a can of compressed air?

A can of compressed air is the best way to go.

I don’t reccomend taking a hoover to your CPU :wink:

Kinthalis is right. Sometimes jumper blocks can be sucked into a vacuum if you get a little too close to the motherboard. However, I have used a vacuum to catch the dust bunnies as I’ve blown them out of the cabinet with canned air. I usually prefer to unhook all of the cables and take the computer outdoors to clean the inside of it with compressed air–weather permitting of course. That way I’m not spreading the dust in my house again.

A small soft brush can also be used to remove really stubborn dust deposits, but in most cases canned air should do the job nicely.

Lather, rinse, repeat…

If you’ve never cleaned out your computer before. Unplug it… take it outside…and use canned air.

I’d truly not suggest the vacuum if you’re new at this.

It’s a good idea as well, to grab a pencil and stick it in the fan blades when you blow them out. You don’t want the blades to spin.

Go down to the local computer store and get a can of compressed air. Take all the cards out, and blow those dust bunnies into oblivion. Make sure you touch the metal in the case frequently to keep yourself grounded.

I prefer an air compressor like you’d use for pneumatic tools. I’m too cheap to spend a few bucks on a can of air that runs out after a while…

The danger with using a normal household vacuum inside a computer is more because of static electricty than sucking components out.

The plastic hoses/tubes used by most vacuums can build up quite a static charge, and if that were to discharge into your motherboard the results could be fatal to the computer. I know that the tube on my Hoover can sometimes get so charged up that almost as much cat hair gets stuck on the outside as gets sucked into the bag.

They do make computer vacuums that are designed to be static free. That would probably be overkill for someone cleaning out one computer every few months. Cans of compressed air would be your best bet.

Using the outlet of an air compressor is not recommended, as water and oil can be blown out with the air. If you’re not carefull, the high pressure air can also damage sensitive fragile components such as capacitors.

Water and oil? Interesting. Never had such a thing happen. And obviously, I’m careful about where I’m pointing the high pressure air, so as not to damage everything. I find a couple quick bursts from a foot or two does a good job of blasting most of the accumulated dust bunnies out of a machine.

make sure the can doesnt go upside down because apparently cans of compressed air blow out liquid that way… dunno for sure but thats what i heard

Water can condense when the air is being released from the compressor. Depending on how it has been maintained and used, oil can also be introduced.

The main thing is to get the dust off the heat sinks and away from the fans. A bit of dust on the motherboard and other interior surfaces is nothing to get excited about or waste a lot of time on.

Well, I use a vacuum on my PC. Its got the blower option on it also. What I usually do is suck out most of the dust and then finish it off by switching the hose to the blowing end of the vacuum. I dont have to get real close to any components. As long as you get the larger loose stuff out you should be ok.
I`ve had the PC for five plus years and have not had a problem cleaning it this way.

“Go down to the local computer store and get a can of compressed air.”

If you noticed, a lot of them drip a liquid & you don’t want that dripping on your board…

I nice soft brush does the trick for me.

Only if you tilt the can, in my experience.

the liquid in question is some funky chemical that evaporates rapidly and is supposed to be OK for electronics.

every air compressor I’ve ever used puts out wet, oily air, but then they’re always old and being used in a very humid environment.

Cans of compressed air have very clear directions for use, in addition to not tilting the can, you should avoid shaking it. (Which is quite contrary to most people’s learned behavior with spray cans.)

Use short bursts only. Don’t let the can get too cold.

If you do start getting liquid, keep in mind it will evaporate quickly. Which means that what it was touching will get cold very fast. This is not good for some electronic parts but you have to be really stupid to let things get too far.

OTOH, human skin cannot take such quick cooling nearly as well. The eye even less, so you really don’t want the liquid spashing around.

Quick bursts, no shaking, upright.