How to Clean a Desktop Computer

How to clean your desktop computer.

When you begin to clean your desktop computer, check to make certain that all connections to it are disconnected as you don’t want to be electrocuted. The items you will need to clean your computer are as follows:

Flathead and/or Phillips head screwdriver,
Isopropyl alcohol,
Paper towel, dust free cloth, or microfiber cloth,
Computer Swabs (not Q-tips),
Canned air, and
Computer Vacuum (optional).

Let us start with cleaning the inside of the computer first, as dust will be stirred up and will defeat your efforts if you start from the outside. The first thing you will need to do is remove the right side panel for your upright type of desktop computer, otherwise you will be removing the entire casing by either sliding it backwards or forwards from the chasis. To do this you will many only have to press a button to release the lock on the case, or you will need to remove the screws along the back edge of the case that hold it in place. Once that is done you can set the panel/case aside and see what you are up against.

Some of you may be in shock at the dust bunnies that have accumulated inside. You may not care or want to know what the internal parts are at this point, but just want it cleaned. Let me explain why it is important to know your computer. If you have found your computer slowing down more and more lately and have removed all viruses, spyware, adware, malware, etc. then you may find it informative to know that the small or large fan on top of that circuit board you are now looking at needs to be free of dust to keep the computer running well. This is your CPU (processor) fan. Immediately spray this off well with your canned air. I recommend using a computer vacuum as to not stir up too much dust and make you gag. See that box with all the wires coming out of it? That is your power supply, you should have a fan on it to keep it cool, make sure you have dusted that out well with the vacuum or canned air.

The best kind of computer vacuum for this is a bi-directional one that allows you to blow and suck air by the flip of a switch. Before you start blowing anything out, suck as much out as possible. As soon as you are done doing that, flip the switch, put the hose on the other end, and blow, blow, blow. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area when you do this. When you have removed as much dust as possible let it settle before continuing.

The next thing to do is get out the alcohol – no, not the booze kind – the Isopropyl alcohol, and dab some of it on the cloth. Go over all of the smooth surfaces inside and keep checking the cloth so you are cleaning with a clean area. If the unit is really bad it may take a few cloths. Make sure you don’t get any alcohol on the circuit boards or connections. Go back over what you just cleaned again to make sure you got it all. Dust still lingers in the air. At this point you will want to get out the computer swabs.

Since I don’t know the layout of your computer, don’t remove anything from inside of it or disconnect anything either. There may be some slots on the main board that are not being used. If so, take a swab, dip it in the alcohol, and carefully wipe the top of these slots. Should you want to get dust off the wires, use a cloth with the alcohol. As soon as you are done with that, you have cleaned the inside. That’s it for now. Don’t put the casing/panel on yet. Clean it with alcohol and cloth on both sides, and then you can put it back on.

Should you have only a panel to put back on then clean the rest of the case the same way. Stay away from connections with the alcohol. Now there is only another step left, but you need to wait about 30 minutes to make sure the computer is dry before connecting anything. Once dry, connect everything back up, and turn the computer on. Open up any CD or DVD drive, and do not blow them clean. You can either use a cloth or swab to clean them internally, but only clean the top where the disk sets and around the drive’s door. It is okay to use the alcohol on these parts, but as I wrote, do not blow clean as this can damage the optical reader inside. Close the drive, and voila! You are done!

Now all you have to do is remember to clean the unit regularly. I recommend once a month since you never know what the weather will be like which does affect the amount dust in your home. If you keep a very clean home you may not have to clean it so often. There are places that will clean your computer for you, but that will run you more than the materials mentioned here (vacuum not included).

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