When cleaning up a PC, most people don’t think of the outside of the PC.

Instead, they clean up the hard drive, uninstall software, and delete files they no longer need. That’s always a good idea, but you can’t ignore the outside of your PC.

Dust builds up, monitors attract particles, and static electricity attracts every airborne contaminant to your hardware. All of these issues can cause fan blockages and serious overheating issues.

Today, I’m going to show you how to clean your PC and speed up its performance.

Blowing out dust

First, take your PC outside or to a well-ventilated location. Wherever you place your PC, make sure the area is dry and clean. You don’t want to make your PC dirtier than it already is.

Before taking your PC outside, you’ll want to remove your power cords, extensions, peripherals, etc. We’ll get to those later. Right now, we’re focusing on your PC tower or laptop.

Once your PC is safely outside, wipe down all surfaces using a microfiber cloth. Wipe down the exterior of your case as well as its feet – which might be the dirtiest parts.

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Next, it’s time to get surgical. Open up your PC and remove all dust filters

This is where it helps to have a canister of compressed air. You can use your canister to blast dust and other contaminants out of your case. Thoroughly cover your case from top to bottom and never hold your canister upside down unless you want to unleash a stream of cold fury upon your PC. Also remember to blast dust away from your PC instead of further inside.

If you don’t have a canister of compressed air, then that’s okay. Your job is just going to be tougher. You can use Q-Tips and microfiber clothes to remove built-up dust from your hardware. You won’t be able to hit the hard-to-reach spots, but you should be able to clean things like the CPU fan, video card fans, and power supply fans, along with any other external side fans you have.

You can buy canisters of compressed air from places like Best Buy, by the way. They don’t cost more than $10 or so.

Note: If you don’t have a canister of compressed air, then you may find that a hair dryer on ‘high’ setting works somewhat as well.

The power of Q-Tips

Remember when I said you could clean your PC while using only household materials? I wasn’t kidding. Q-Tips are one of those materials you can use. A simple Q-Tip can slip in between hard-to-reach cracks in your PC.

One of the most helpful places to use a Q-Tip is on fan blades. Even a direct hit with compressed air may not dislodge built-up particles.

q tip

Rubbing alcohol is safe to use

If you find yourself struggling to remove a particular contaminant, then you may need to bring in the big guns: isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

Instead of dipping your Q-Tip with rubbing alcohol, rub a cloth-dipped-in-alcohol over your Q-Tip. This will prevent moisture buildup around your case – which is always something you want to avoid.

Don’t have any rubbing alcohol? Use vodka. It’s basically the same thing. Plus, you don’t need a lot of it for your Q-Tip, which means you can use the rest to get buzzed or whatever.

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How to clean your monitor

Who cares what’s going on inside your PC? It’s the monitor you really want to clean, right? Well, that’s wrong, but here’s how to clean your monitor anyway:

Do not use Windex, window cleaners, or any cleaners which include ammonia or alcohol. Monitors are delicate creatures and you can cause permanent damage with harsh chemicals that strip the display’s coating.

No matter which liquid you use, never spray liquid directly onto the display. Liquid will drip down the screen and enter the bezel along the side of your monitor. That’s super bad.

-There are two good types of monitor cleaning solutions: First, you can create a solution with equal parts vinegar and distilled water. Or, you can use that eyeglass cleaning stuff you see at any store.

-If you see a monitor cleaning solution for sale at places like Best Buy, it’s just eyeglass cleaning solution that has been marked up in price. You can save a lot of money by walking into any optometrist and buying their solution.

-Take your microfiber cloth and drip a little bit of solution onto that cloth. Then, use the cloth to wipe your display in a circular motion. This will prevent noticeable streaks. Be gentle but firm. If you see areas where contaminants have collected, then you should run over those areas multiple times.

-If you really can’t dislodge a particular contaminant or sticky spot on your monitor, then I recommend rubbing your nail across the spot with a microfiber cloth between you and the monitor. This will take some of the edge of your nail while still giving you the scraping power you need.

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How to clean a headset

Headsets get really gross over time. Think of all the nasty things you collect in your hair and ears over the course of a day. Now think of how long you’ve owned your headset. Gross, right?

There are two good ways to wipe a headset: first, use your microfiber (without liquid) and thoroughly rub your entire headset. Leather and vinyl cannot handle liquid cleaners, which is why you should use a dry microfiber cloth.

If you have a headset with foam earpieces, then one of the best ways to remove contaminants is to use scotch tape. Apply pieces of scotch tape across the headset to pick up dust and lint without damaging the fabric.


Why is cleaning a PC so important?

-Dust is bad for air quality

-Your PC will overheat if fans are clogged

-You can increase the lifespan of your hardware

-Dirty PCs smell bad

-Faster performance and fewer crashes (seriously – overheating can affect both of these things)

Most people don’t like cleaning. But when it comes to cleaning a PC, it’s a uniquely satisfying experience. Plus, you’ve already visited this blog to read PC cleaning tips and speed advice, so what are you waiting for?

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