Computer Maintenance 101 - Cleaning Up Dust

As I have had the pleasure of performing maintenance on many of my relatives computers, I have noticed a trend that disturbs me. Most people do not keep their computers and other electronics free from dust. (I have been guilty of this myself and have repented). Dust seems like a trivial matter, but it can do a lot of harm to your computer if left to build up over time. It clogs fans, makes it hard for computer parts to dissipate heat, and can be a contributor to static electricity buildup, which can potentially fry a computer part, and leads to a stronger collection of dust bunnies.

I thought I would share some easy ways to keep your computer dust free. Computers are expensive, so why not spend a little money and a little time to keep yours running smoothly? Consider it a way to protect your investment.

There are a few essential tools I use to keep my computer and other electronics dust free.

  1. Pledge Grab-Its:Dry Wipes These are electrostatic dusting cloths that grab dust off of stuff with ease. I love them. Typically, I will use them to dust everything because instead of spreading dust around, these cloths grab it and don't let go. They are a little pricey, but you can use one cloth to do A LOT of dusting. When dusting a computer, simply wipe the outside fans with this cloth, and it will grab a lot of dust away from the blades. Unplug the computer, open the side of the case, grab hold of the case frame so you are grounded, and then wipe up the dust on the inside of the case, but don't touch any of the components inside with this cloth unless you are very careful and gentle. You don't want to break a computer part! (AND MAKE SURE THE COMPUTER IS TURNED OFF AND UNPLUGGED WHEN YOU DO THIS MAINTENANCE).
  2. Canned Air

    It is almost impossible to clean a computer sufficiently without using some forced air. My dad and I tried to use a foot pump normally used to pump up air mattresses to blow some compressed air into the CPU fan, but it resulted in a broken pump and an unclean fan. If you have a small air compressor, use it to blow out your fans and dust off of the motherboard inside the case. (You might want to do this outdoors, especially if you haven't dusted the inside of your case in awhile). If you don't have an air compressor, use canned air. Its pressurized and strong enough to remove stubborn dust bunnies.

  3. Anti-static wipes The purpose of these wipes is to keep static away from your PC, because static is what attracts dust. They are wet, so you use them on the outside of your computer. All electronics that have any sort of magnetic or electric field will collect dust because static will exist when electricity is moving. You can buy anti-static wipes at an electronics store, or you can use a dryer sheet dampened with water. I prefer the store brand wipes but for no particular reason.
Some computers and electronics will collect dust faster than others. If you want to maintain a functioning piece of equipment, it is best to dust anytime you see a buildup. I open up my computer case and dust inside at least once every 3 months. You'd be amazed at how fast dust will build up.

Give it a try, and see if you notice any improvements in computer performance. Anytime a computer is too hot, it will run slower, so you may even see a performance increase after you clean. I would love to hear how your cleaning goes and what the results were.


Judie & George said...

Thanks, Em. That's good advice that I need to follow.

Eddie the Girl said...

i am going to have to try this. I'll let you know how it goes.

do you know any good sites to buy memory from?

Kelli said...

OK, I have NEVER opened a computer and am to scared to even try. I dont even like to unplug everything and move the darn thing. It never works the minute you plug it all back in and I NEED MY INTERNET/BLOG fix daily. What would I do. I saw this title of this post and was scared to read it. You have really scared me now, I hope I can sleep tonight. Just kidding on that part but really I have never opened my computer, ever. I will keep this info in the back of my mind and think about it and I am sure it will haunt me when the computer is running slow. I will stop now. hehe Thanks good advise!