Keeping the inside of your computer clean

One of the most overlooked computer maintenance items is cleaning the dirt and dust out of the inside of your computer. This is a simple procedure that should not frighten you.

Your PC uses fans to keep its components cool. If your PC is in a humid environment, the moisture will stick to the components on the inside and any airborne lint, dust, or pet hair will stick to the inside. A very bad side-effect of this is that the build-up of gunk will cause your PC to run hot. The fuzz does not let the air get to the components to cool them.

To clean your computer:

  • Shut down the computer
  • Label and unplug all of the cables. Write down which cable goes in what plug.
  • Take the computer outside, otherwise everything that you blow out of the computer will start finding its way back in.
  • The case cover usually comes off easily via screws or latches. If you can’t figure out how to open it, check the manufacturer’s support website.
  • Get a can of ‘canned air’ – This is a spray bottle that has a long, thin tube that blows compressed clean air. You can get these at Costco,, or your local office supply store. Amazon
  • Next, you are going to use the canned air to clean out the inside of the computer. Please note that you must keep the can upright otherwise a stream of liquid propellant will come out and ruin your computer.
  • Look in the computer case and you will see pieces and parts. There should be a few fans. These may be very dirty. Use the canned air and spray all of the dirty parts. If you spray for a long time the can will get very cold and will not work properly. If that happens, just let the can warm up and continue.
  • At this point I always check all of the internal connectors to be sure that they are tight. When you are checking the connection you should always have one hand touching the metal case to insure that no static electricity is present. You can just push on them with your finger.
  • Once you are certain that all of the debris has been removed you can replace the cover and secure it.
  • Now you can put the computer back and start plugging in the cables.
  • Start the computer and all should be well. If it will not start the first thing to check is that all of the cables are in the correct ports.

That is it! We recommend that you clean the inside of your computers twice a year. If you are in an environment that has excess lint and dust you should clean it more often. You are done! I use a site called to manage my to-do list. I set a task that repeats every 6 months.

Tony Beecher

Beecher Web Labs

Note: This article assumes that you do not have an IT Department who is responsible for maintaining your computer.

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