How to clean your computer – a dust-free gaming PC with fast software

Learning how to clean your computer is important, and it can help keep your gaming PC from collecting dust and keep things running fast. Choosing the right PC case and making sure you manage the cables within your setup helps, but you’ll still have to roll up your sleeves and scrub the guts from time to time. Implementing a good PC hygiene strategy will keep your machine looking good, but it will also help increase fps and maintain peak performance while running the latest Steam games.

If you’ve done research how do you clean your computer?, you will probably be aware that it is not the same as cleaning your room. Removing dust, grime and grime from your gaming PC requires special care, especially if your rig is powered by the best graphics card. While cleaning your machine can be daunting and tedious, it’s also a rewarding process that should help extend the life of your parts — an invaluable boon given the cost amid ongoing parts shortages.

To help you clean your machine thoroughly, we’ve put together a handy guide on how to clean your computer, including the tools and steps needed to clean your PC. We’ll even give you some tips for cleaning up your hard drive and SSD, as digital grime can be just as problematic as the grime in your case.

Here’s how to clean your computer.

Tools for cleaning up your computer

Before embarking on an electronic dust-repelling escapade, it is wise to pre-purchase the tools to clean up your computer. Not only does this ensure you have the right weapons to wage war against the grubby interior of your gaming PC, but it also means you don’t have to improvise – something that could pose a risk to your machine.

This is what you need to clean your PC:

  • Compressed air
  • Cotton swabs (cotton buds)
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Microfibre cloths
  • face mask

If you plan on dusting off your PC at home, put down some old sheets. You might be surprised at how much dust and grime is in your machine as there are plenty of nooks and crannies for dust bunnies to hide.

Using compressed air helps you blow compressed dirt out of its hiding place, with Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol serving as a way to clean delicate parts, like your expensive gaming motherboard.

how to clean computer: in gaming pc with intel fan, motherboard and bottom of graphics card

Cleaning the inside of your computer

When it comes to cleaning your PC, you have to start from the inside out, as dirt on the inside can get to the outside of your case in the process. This way you won’t spoil your efforts by muddying the outside of your rig.

Here’s how to clean the inside of your gaming PC case:

  • Put on a face mask
  • Turn off your PC and disconnect all cables
  • Move your PC to a flat, ventilated area
  • Remove the side panels and fan filters from your PC case
  • Use short bursts of compressed air to remove dust from filters
  • Wipe the remaining dirt from the filters with a microfibre cloth
  • Repeat the same steps for the interior walls and floor of your PC case

To deal with an installation with years of dust buildup, you will need to get your components out of your case. This is essentially the reverse of building a gaming PC, meaning you should take similar precautions when handling your expensive parts.

You’ll also want to do this on a large, flat surface, but be sure to put something down to avoid cosmetically harming your game desk. Once you’ve removed your parts from your rig, you can keep them looking shiny and like new.

Here’s how to clean your motherboard and PC parts:

  • Use short bursts of compressed air to clear larger clumps of dust from your motherboard and graphics card
  • Dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and gently clean the surface of your motherboard and other delicate areas
  • To clean your fans, hold them still and use compressed air to blow away trapped dust
  • Wipe your PC cables with a microfiber cloth

By using compressed air, you can blow compressed dirt out of its hiding place

It’s worth noting that while the power supply can collect dust in the case, you should think twice before opening one. Not only will this potentially void your warranty, but tinkering inside high voltage parts is potentially dangerous. We recommend that you just use compressed air to clean your PSU without opening it as you would be surprised how far you can get without breaking the case open.

Once you’re happy with your cleaning efforts, you’ll want to reassemble your rig and put your side panels and fan filters back in place. If you’re a perfectionist, you may want to use a flashlight to inspect your work and pick up on spots you’ve missed. However, it’s impossible to completely eradicate dust forever, so it’s best to make peace with the fact that you’ll be doing all of this again in the future.

how to clean computer : corsair pc case on blue background

Cleaning the outside of your computer

Cleaning the outside of your rig isn’t as easy as the inside, but the finishing touches can make your gaming PC shine. Keeping your computer case in top shape also prevents dust from getting into your case, which could make the whole process easier next time.

This is how you clean your computer case:

  • Use short bursts of compressed air to remove dust from ledges and crevices
  • Wipe your PC with a microfiber cloth, including removed side panels
  • If your suitcase has a glass panel, spray a small amount of glass cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and wipe in circular motions

If you have the idea of ​​detailing the best PC case like a car, there are a few optional extra steps you can take. While we don’t recommend using extra strong cleaners or solvents, adding a small amount of furniture polish to your microfiber cloth can visually rejuvenate your setup and help prevent dust build-up.

How to clean the computer: Generic hard drive with emoji sparkle on the right

How to clean up your hard drive

Now that you’ve spruced up your PC, it’s time to consider cleaning up the digital space. Taking the time to clean your hard drive or SSD makes all the difference, especially if you want everything to run smoothly. Fortunately, disinfecting your digital space doesn’t require a lot of elbow grease, and most of the tools you’ll need are built into operating systems like Windows 11.

For starters, let’s remove potentially unwanted files and programs from your PC. If you’re using a pre-built machine, it may already be clogged with software you don’t need. With that in mind, learn how to uninstall programs on Windows 10 and above.

  • Navigate to ‘Storage Settings’ using the Windows taskbar search function
  • Click on ‘Apps & Features’ at the top of the page
  • Click on the filter ‘sort by’ at the top and select ‘install date’
  • Scroll through your list of apps and uninstall any programs you no longer need

Windows Storage Manager can also help you identify unnecessary files, folders, and apps so you can quickly free up space. This can come in handy if you’re using one of the smaller best SSDs for gaming options out there, as it means you don’t have to do much to get new Steam games onto your drive.

How to clean your computer: Windows Defender logo with Windows 11 pink background

In addition, you can also ward off annoying digital germs with the help of built-in Windows security. If you’re not using a third-party security suite, such as McAfee or Norton, “virus and threat protection” should already be enabled.

To enable Windows 11 security, do the following:

  • Navigate to the Windows Security app using Windows Search
  • On the ‘virus and threat protection’ page, select ‘manage settings’
  • You will be presented with several services, including real-time protection
  • Make sure each feature is enabled using the green switches

Windows 11 now monitors malicious files and software and regularly scans your drive to check for digital debris.

What can I use to clean my computer?

It may seem obvious, but you should also be careful when using water-based cleaners. You can use soap and water to clean particularly dirty PC cases if you’ve removed components, but you’ll want to make sure everything is dry before reassembling. Of course, you’ll want to clean electrical components with something like 99% isopropyl alcohol rather than a household cleaner, as this will help prevent residual moisture and chemicals from damaging your parts.

How to clean computer: Henry vacuum without sign on blue background

Can I vacuum my computer?

Fixing your PC may seem simple enough, but there are a few things to avoid when trying to clean up your computer. As tempting as it may be, don’t reach for your vacuum cleaner, as using it can generate static electricity and damage your parts. To remove layers of dust and compacted dirt, it is best to use a can of compressed air or an electric air vacuum cleaner designed with computer cleaning in mind.

How often should I clean my PC?

You should clean your PC regularly, but how often depends on several factors. If you have pets or use your computer in a dusty environment, your computer will eventually collect more dirt than usual. Vacuuming and polishing the floors and surfaces in your room naturally tackles dust particles before they reach your installation. Other than that, you’ll want to check your build every few months and clean things up a bit.

How to keep dust off your computer

Dust is one of life’s household problems and keeping it away from your gaming PC can be a challenge. Using the best PC fans is a good way to discourage dust build-up, as creating positive pressure in your case helps to dissipate debris. If your cooling configuration creates negative pressure, it can take in more air and foreign bodies — a trade-off often made to lower CPU and GPU temperatures by a few degrees.

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