Like your clothes, house, and dishes, your desktop computer requires regular cleaning to ensure it continues to perform as it should.

Cleaning a desktop computer is a fairly quick (approx. 20 mins or so) and easy process that removes the build up of dust and dirt that comes with regular use. If you don’t clean your computer every now and again, it will be more susceptible to overheating, which can have a direct impact on the speed of your machine.

How Often Should I Clean a Desktop Computer?

As a rough guide, give your computer a clean every 3 to 6 months. Computers kept on the floor will need to be cleaned more often, as this low placement allows dust and dirt to creep in more easily.

Our advice is to clean your computer now, then again in about 3-4 months. Check how much dust and dirt has built up over that time. If there’s none, wait 6 months or even more before cleaning again. If there’s quite a lot, aim for every 2 months.

Before You Start Cleaning a Desktop Computer

When working with computers, safety should always be your number one concern. It’s important not to open your computer when it’s on or plugged in. Remove all peripheral devices, including USBs.

Never clean your computer when electricity is flowing through it.

You should also move your computer to a ventilated area, such as the back yard, out on the veranda or into the garage. If you have never cleaned your computer before, keep in mind that there may be quite a lot of dust build up. You certainly don’t want to breathe that in.

What You Will Need to Clean Your Computer

Before we get into what you’ll need, please don’t be tempted to use a vacuum or dust buster. These may create a build up of static electricity, which can cause irreversible damage to your PC.

Using Compressed Air for Cleaning a Desktop Computer

A can of compressed air

Now, here are a few tools you will need to clean a desktop computer. Not all of these are necessary, but can make the job a little easier.

  • Hardware set – tools designed specifically for computers, must include screw drivers
  • Can of compressed air – can be purchased at most electronic stores
  • Cleaning cloth – the one you use to clean your glasses will work, though it might get dirty
  • Cotton swabs – not essential
  • Pencil or pen – not essential

Step 1: Opening Up Your Computer

Use your screwdrivers to open up your computer. No two computer cases are the same, so if you’re finding it difficult to crack it open, don’t force anything. Check your computer’s manual, or run a quick Google search and you’ll probably find a guide specific to your computer model.

Cleaning Desktop ComputerOnce the case has been unscrewed, you may need to unplug any cables that connect to the side panel. Then, you can remove it completely.

Now, you want to remove the components that disconnect easily. Usually, this includes the RAM, video cards and the hard drive.

Unless you’re experienced, it’s probably not a good idea to remove your CPU (central processing unit). This requires special thermal paste to reattach.

Step 2: Cleaning your Desktop Computer

First, clean the components we removed earlier with the compressed air. To use the compressed air, aim the straw and press down on the trigger. This will release a powerful burst of air that removes dust without damaging delicate hardware.

  • To clean a video card with a fan, use a pen or pencil to jam the fan as you clean it. Otherwise the compressed air will just spin the fan, rather than clean it.
  • To clean RAM, use the compressed air again. Then move onto the RAM slots in your case. Move the air nozzle down each RAM slot.

When your peripherals are clean, you can move on to the components inside your case.

Clean the CPU and power unit. When cleaning the fan here, use a pen or pencil as described above. You may also like to take a cotton swab and clean each blade individually. This can be time-consuming, but you will end up with a perfectly clean fan.

Once all components inside are free of dust build up, check the bottom of your case. This area tends to get pretty dirty over time. Start with the compressed air, and if that doesn’t work, move on to a damp (not dripping wet) cleaning cloth.

You can use a damp cloth to clean dust out of corners and other nooks and crannies, too.

Take a final look inside your case, removing any last traces of dust and dirt from all ports, fans, and surfaces.

Step 3: Putting Your Computer Back Together

Return peripheral components back to their areas. If you can’t remember what goes where, refer back to your computer manual or just Google it. Make sure your RAM and video card are slotted back into their allocated sockets. Screw the side panel back on, and that’s it. You’re done.

Computer Maintenance is Important

Desktop and laptop computers require regular maintenance to protect against hardware and software issues. If you’d like to have your computer checked out, cleaned up, and updated by a professional, don’t hesitate to get in contact. Call us today on 1300 553 166 or fill out the form on this page.