How To Clean Your PC (And Other Electronics) In 3 Easy Steps

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

Duster on keyboard (caption: How To Clean PC)Modern science has not yet found a way to keep the air dust-free. That means with time, dust will accumulate inside your computer. Will this dust affect its performance over the long run? Yes. That’s why it’s important to learn how to clean PCs and other devices.

Article Overview

How To Clean Your PC Or Mac Computer (3 Easy Steps)

Here are some tips that apply to PCs but can also be applied to laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices. And, it’s easier than you might think.

1. Turn Off The Power

Before you dive into the innards of your PC, make sure you’ve turned off the power first. You can do this usually via a power switch on the back of your PC, as well as by shutting off your surge protector or simply unplugging your PC’s power chord. Once that’s done, keep in mind that certain parts of your PC will still hold a charge (such as the power source) – so be careful and don’t go sticking your fingers where they don’t need to be. In fact, you shouldn’t need to touch anything to clean your PC of dust.

2. Open Up Your Computer For Cleaning

There’s a couple of things to remember before you dive in and clean your PC.

First, many prebuilt PC’s have a manufacturer’s warranty (for the PC as a whole, not the individual parts) that will be voided if you open it. Then again, since most PC’s advertise their expandability, this seems kind of silly – since you can’t expand your PC (add parts to it) without opening it. Nevertheless, it’s something to keep in mind – especially if there’s a sticker advertising that fact taped over your PC’s opening mechanism.

In most cases, you can open your PC by simply unscrewing a screw or two. In some cases, the cover will simply slide off. Other PC cases will have a lever. The process of opening your PC for cleaning varies by manufacturer, although if you mess with it enough you should be able to figure it out.

3. Vacuum Your PC

There’s plenty of people, including PC builders, that advocate the use of compressed air. While compressed air or gas can be quite effective in helping clean your PC, it can also be detrimental. The problem with compressed air is that you are blowing air in, as opposed to sucking air out. This means a lot of the time you’re just rearranging the dust in your PC. The best way to clean a PC is to get a PC vacuum, such as one of our recommendations below. By using a vacuum, you will be sucking the dust out of your case, and you’ll keep your PC operating at peak performance for a longer time.

Healthier And More Eco-Friendly Solution

Another advantage of using a vacuum to clean your PC is that you are helping the environment by trapping and removing harmful pollutants before they escape into the atmosphere. With blowers, you are simply blowing dust into the air, letting it escape and causing potential health issues at the same time.

Best For Personal Use: The Metro Vaccum ED500 DataVac PC Duster

The Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac Duster helps you access the nooks and crannies of your PC, letting you remove dust from otherwise inaccessible places. You can also use it on other office and PC equipment, including your keyboard, printers, disk drives, etc. It operates on 15 volts of cleaning power, which is four times what you get with inefficient battery-operated vacuums.

Best For Corporate Use: Metro Vacuum MDV-1BA DataVac Pro

For a larger office environment, you can get the Metro Vacuum MDV-1BA DataVac Pro. The Metro Vacuum picks up dangerous toner spills from laser printers and copiers and is 99.9% efficient on particles to .3 microns. You can use on mainframes, laser printers, copiers, fax machines, disc drives, calculators, electronic typewriters, automatic teller machines, and more.

Video: Dusting In Action

It’s satisfying to see how powerful the vacuum is in blowing out dust from this PC.

The Problem With PC Dust

Person Managing Data Server, Caption (Best Online Backup Companies)One of the main issues with dust collecting within your PC is that it will cause components to overheat, thereby reducing their lifespan. For example, if you never clean your CPU fan, it will get weighed down and clogged by dust particles, which will cause your CPU and motherboard temperature to increase. The lower you keep the temperatures on your CPU, motherboard, graphics card, etc. – the longer they will last.

But nothing lasts forever, which is why it’s a great idea to have your important data backed up online. Our experts review the top online backup providers with features, pricing, pros, cons, real user feedback and more.

What tips do you have for keeping your PC clean?

About The Author:

Alex has been involved on the business side of the internet since the early 2000's. He holds both a Management Science degree from the University of California at San Diego as well as a Computer Science degree from NJIT.

We Rock Your Web had its roots back in 2004 as the tech blog for a web design and development company Alex founded that has grown and evolved into the parent company of We Rock Your Web.

While his foundation is rooted in web development, his expertise today lies in content and digital marketing, SEO, organic and paid search, analytics, and publishing. Alex is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Notify of
Oldest Most voted
Mark Murphy
December 5, 2018 3:28 pm

I really appreciate your tip to get some sort of vacuum so you can suck the air out instead of just pushing it around. My wife and I have been thinking of getting our son a laptop for when he goes off to college. I will be sure to tell him that he should suck the air away from it when he cleans it since I know he likes his things to be clean!

May 22, 2012 10:20 am

Nice tips sir. Your article helped me a lot to fix my own computer without really needing a computer technician.

May 14, 2012 5:50 am

You need to be VERY CAREFUL when it comes to vacuuming your PC. In fact, most computer experts tell computer owners to never vacuum their computers at all because of the dangers involved. The force of the suction is one concern, but the major issue is the static electricity that the vacuum cleaner creates as the dust and hair is rapidly swirled around and sucked out of the computer by a vacuum cleaner connected to the AC current of the house. This action swiftly builds up a charge with nowhere to go. Correction – it has one place it can go: the readily available circuits of your computer. A little careless vacuum cleaning and the charge created by the static electricity can not only wipe all the memory you have but can also damage key circuits that will require expensive replacements to fix.

Obviously, this is why people prefer to use canned air under pressure to clean their computer insides. The compressed air is connected to no charge and cannot build up static electricity on its own, so it is far safer. A soft cloth is also safe, but owners often find they cannot clean as reliably with one of these. HOWEVER, if you really need to use a vacuum cleaner or are examining a potential vacuum cleaner for computer hardware, make sure that it is a portable, battery-powered vacuum cleaner with no cord. A battery will also keep the charge largely self-contained, removing much of the danger behind vacuuming. In other words, find a vacuum cleaner designed especially for computers.

Another important tip when cleaning out your computer: Working on the thick, rigid internal parts of the computer is fine, but be very cautious when cleaning layers of dust off areas like your fans. The smaller fans that computers use are often delicate, so even compressed air might force them out of alignment, let alone heavy-handed wiping. Spinning the blades too fast may also create a current charge that could have damaging consequences.

Also be careful of using any cleaning solvents. These solvents can cause allergic reactions in some people (an important consideration at work) and may also damage the computer in some cases. A little liquid can help with dust removal, but make sure its just water. You shouldn’t need anything stronger. Even with water, you do not want any liquid dripping around the delicate parts of your computer, so avoid using any spray bottles directly on the computer or the fan blades. Spray on the cloth first, then carefully apply if there are tougher dust spots or stains that you want to take care of. When dealing with the motherboard, it is best to not use any liquids or pressure at all. A more casual point, but still important – when maneuvering your computer around and taking off the casing to access the insides, track any knobs or buttons you might be twisting and turning, so you don’t get an unpleasant surprise when you plug your machine back in.

September 6, 2011 10:53 am

Thanks for posting this article. I think people miss how important it is to clean your PC on a regular basis. The longevity can be extended several years, and performance increased (by keeping dust particles out and air flow moving to keep your PC cool).

February 16, 2010 6:54 am

Thanks for such a great informative article about How to Clean Your PC from the internal surface as well as from the external surface. The solutions which you suggest to save your PC from the outer dust particles works, as they are the major cause of your PC not working properly.

Thanks & Regards

Parker Brown

Sr. Marketing Executive

Data Recovery Software

February 23, 2010 11:45 pm


I’m a bit surprised about the fact that dust from PCs cause environmental problems in our atmosphere…I wonder which harmful pollutants are escaping from a normal PC. Is this the “normal” dust or are there any parts that are particularly problematic? I mean, regarding the fact that we pollute the air with cerosin from airplanes, co2 and other nasty stuff from our factories, it would surprise me if a little bit of dust from a PC is an imminent danger. The description of the DATA PC Vacuums was very helpful though, thanks for that!!!


We Rock Your Web
March 2, 2010 3:55 pm

Hi Sarah,

Great question. I wouldn’t say the dust is an imminent danger, as you put it – but it’s not normal dust either. It’s dust filled with particles from the circuit boards, silicon, etc., so it’s more hazardous than your everyday dust. While one PC might not make a major impact, the fact that just about every household has at least one PC producing this dust makes it all add up. Bottom line, it can’t hurt to be proactive when it comes to our planet. We’re pretty much at the mercy of it in the end.