How do you clean your PC and its parts?

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How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:39 am

Hi folks. Just something that popped in my mind this minute. How do you clean your PCs? Do you use a can of compressed air? Do you take everything apart and clean them individually or do you just run a dry rag over everything? How do you clean edge connectors such as those found on expansion boards? Or inside the expansion slots? And what about PSUs? Oh, and heatsinks and DVD drives too.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:45 am

I just put the small nozzle on my Dyson and go to town.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:52 am

Personally i'm too lazy to do it but i can suggest a proper way of doing it. Cans with compressed air are OK for an easy fix but keep in mind that they also have the disadvantage of spewing condensed water from time to time. Best way is to use an air compressor with an adjustable nozzle that allows you to control the air pressure (talking about big ones here).

A PC enthusiats favorite seems to be this Data Vac electric duster. While it certainly is an investment compared with compressed air cans, it will actually save you money in the long run.

As for how to do it once you get an air compressor, remove the video card and clean it separately while keeping the fan from spinning (don't press down on it, just gently put a stick between the blades to keep it from spining while you use the air compressor on it). I'd also recommend removing the CPU cooler and cleaning it separately (make sure to reapply TIM, if you don't have then clean it without removing it). The PSU should also be removed for cleaning while also making sure you don't damage the fan. Then go to town inside the case but again, mind the fans. It would also be wise to do it outside (goes without saying on a sunny day without wind, on a clean pavement without dust) so the dust doesn't spread everywhere inside the house.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:23 am

I use vacuum cleaner's blower - Graphic card and Audio card comes out before blowing air inside the cabinet. - Once in may be 3 months.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:48 am

Build your PC in a case that filters all of the air before it enters. This can reduce the number of internal cleanings required by an order of magnitude.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:53 am

Arclight already linked up the DataVac .. I LOVE that thing !! It gets regular use among my fleet of rigs. 3/4hp of raw unadulterated air blowing power in your hands. :D

It was a good bit cheaper years ago when I bought mine but well worth it. The compressed air cans don't even compare to it to be honest.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:41 am

Also, a PC that is a couple of inches above the floor will suck in much less dust than a PC on the floor.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:45 am

Pressure washer :)
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:00 am

Pressure washers are for kids....I use the closest fire hydrant and a fire hose :)
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:02 am

Mikael33 wrote:Pressure washer :)

:lol: :lol: You just know someone, somewhere will/has tried this!

I will admit that I can't be bothered to clean my dust magnet as often as I should - It's only ever opened when I'm upgrading/changing something and it's then cleaned as a consequence. I just take the PC outside and set it on the patio table and blast it's internals with compressed air. Seems to do the trick, but there's hardly any moving parts in my PC so I'm not that worried. It hasn't had a problem after all this years...
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:12 am

Arclight wrote:A PC enthusiats favorite seems to be this Data Vac electric duster. While it certainly is an investment compared with compressed air cans, it will actually save you money in the long run.

A previous discussion on canned air, and then the Datavac was mentioned. I got one and is a useful geek toy. I bring mine to the office to blow off dust everywhere on my table too. I find it more powerful than canned air.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:29 am

Kirby Gen 2 vacuum to blow the whole case, can of air and soft brush on the GPU fan
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:57 am

Just a quick blast on the fans/heatsinks once every 6mo or something, usually right before I'm doing the vacuum cleaning anyway because it makes a mess.

Getting it super shiny inside is utterly pointless because it'll be slightly dusty again at some point soon, even filtered and on a hard floor.
As long as I dislodge any heatsink-clogging dust-bunnies I'm happy.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:59 am

geekl33tgamer wrote:I just take the PC outside and set it on the patio table and blast it's internals with compressed air. Seems to do the trick, but there's hardly any moving parts in my PC so I'm not that worried. It hasn't had a problem after all this years...

That's all I do. I've used air compressors before, but apartment life doesn't always allow that luxury. You have to be careful with those anyhow; don't want to flex heatsinks/components or blow cables loose with the extra pressure. They are nice when you get a heatsink that's really caked with crap though. Most recently on my dad's PC, I had to use a plastic bristled brush (for electric shavers and such) to break the crap loose off the CPU heatsink. He's a heavy smoker, and it was all glued in place with smoking tar. Beyond that, just Windex on the exterior. I always use non-ammonia glass cleaner, because I don't want to worry about damaging coatings or finishes on various things.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:04 am

Depends on the part and the state of the system.

For generic dust cleaning, I've used vacuum cleaners in and outside of cases. To get dust of out heat sinks, I've used a high pressure air compressor.

I've used a wide paint brush to get dust off of expansion cards that a vacuum cleaner doesn't get it. Obviously the cards are sitting out by themselves and not installed.

Some hard to clean items I've used high concentrated rubbing alcohol. Of course this requires everything to be unplugged and time for the alcohol to evaporate.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:29 am

How does your PC get dirty in the first place?? Mine has been running for 2 years now and it's still clean.

Although my brother's is usually plugged with dust in about 6 months.

In that case I plug in the air compressor, put on the in-line regulator, set it to 60 psi, put on the inline filter, put on the safety glasses and then make a giant dust cloud in the back yard.
If the dust is stubborn the psi gets turned up more :D
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:35 am

Air compressor (after dragging it outside) for most cleaning duties, (soft) toothbrush + compressor for slightly stubborn dust, and toothbrush + 97% isopropyl (and a LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG dry time) for super-bad parts.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:59 am

I use a Air Compressor on the entire inside but I NEVER EVER let a fan free spin or get close to the circuit boards since it would not be hard to blow off those small resistors like on the back of a video card behind the actual GPU with 90+ PSI of air.

For my Radiator I remove the push fan and use the tube attachment with a brush on my vacuum to clean all the nooks and crannies on my H50 water radiator and the fans mounted on the case panels and the putside of the cases nooks and crannies also. I never Ever use the brush on any of the circuit boards since the air rushing by the brush generates way too much static electricity and that can kill components with ease.

The person who said they put a brush attachment on there dyson and go to town is brushing circuit boards is around the luckiest person in the world that he has not killed a part yet.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:18 am

I don't clean things out nearly as often as I should. But I do keep an eye on CPU temperature, so if anything gets seriously clogged I will know about it before it causes CPU cooling issues. My GPUs are passively cooled, and I avoid motherboards with chipset fans like the plague, so they do not collect dust nearly as much as the CPU HSF.

When I do clean, I use a canned compressed gas duster and a vacuum cleaner. I hold the vacuum hose near the area I'm hitting with the compressed gas to reduce the amount of dust that gets spewed into the room. If the system has major dust bunnies, or if I get a really disgusting system from someone else for a tune-up I will do the initial dusting outdoors.

Don't forget the inside of the PSU! Out of sight doesn't mean it should be out of mind. No, I don't take the PSU apart; what I do is hold the vacuum cleaner hose by the PSU exhaust vent, and aim the nozzle of the compressed gas duster in through the PSU air intake. This creates enough turbulence inside the PSU to dislodge most of the dust.

A side note on the compressed gas dusters -- they're stupid expensive at most places, but if you buy them in bulk at Costco they are like only 1/2 to 1/3 the cost per can. For me that works out to something like a 3 year supply.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:14 pm

I don't clean nearly as often as I should, but it's relatively dust-free in here, so about once every 3 or 4 months.

The Egg wrote:He's a heavy smoker, and it was all glued in place with smoking tar.


Gods-above, how I hate that! My late BFF used to chain smoke next to his, and it was always a pain to help him clean it out. Everything coated in a half-inch of dingy, brown, sticky dust. We'd end up needing an air compressor, vacuum, and two large, soft makeup brushes.

On a semi-related note, anybody know a good way to remove dried Pepsi from a PCB? The son of a friend of mine spilled a glass of it all over her medic alert system, and now it randomly turns sets off the alert.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:58 pm

I'd start with distilled water and then follow it up with isopropyl alcohol. Leave everything to dry on an air vent for at least 24 hours before putting power on it.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:07 pm

notfred wrote:I'd start with distilled water and then follow it up with isopropyl alcohol. Leave everything to dry on an air vent for at least 24 hours before putting power on it.



Think I'll need to lightly wipe it with a soft cloth, too? The spill happened a week ago, and it's been powered on the whole time. That sugar has to be baked on there by now...
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:07 pm

Hz so good wrote:On a semi-related note, anybody know a good way to remove dried Pepsi from a PCB? The son of a friend of mine spilled a glass of it all over her medic alert system, and now it randomly turns sets off the alert.

Get some 91% isopropyl from the drugstore, or some 190 proof Everclear (assuming it is legal where you live) from the liquor store, and use that as a cleaning solution. If there aren't any components that could be damaged by immersion, just dunk the whole thing and soak it for a while, swishing it around occasionally. Otherwise you will need to use a syringe or spray bottle with a narrow spray pattern to repeatedly hit the areas where you think there's dried Pepsi.

Dry thoroughly before powering it back up again. Put it somewhere warm and dry (oven set at its lowest setting with the door propped open should work).

If it spent much time powered up while there was still wet Pepsi on it it may be a lost cause. Voltage + metal + acidic solution = significant corrosion.

Edit:
Hz so good wrote:The spill happened a week ago, and it's been powered on the whole time.

May be a lost cause then.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:12 pm

I flip two latches, these release the air filters. I run the air filters under some water, dry them off, reattach. Done.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:13 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Hz so good wrote:On a semi-related note, anybody know a good way to remove dried Pepsi from a PCB? The son of a friend of mine spilled a glass of it all over her medic alert system, and now it randomly turns sets off the alert.

Get some 91% isopropyl from the drugstore, or some 190 proof Everclear (assuming it is legal where you live) from the liquor store, and use that as a cleaning solution. If there aren't any components that could be damaged by immersion, just dunk the whole thing and soak it for a while, swishing it around occasionally. Otherwise you will need to use a syringe or spray bottle with a narrow spray pattern to repeatedly hit the areas where you think there's dried Pepsi.

Dry thoroughly before powering it back up again. Put it somewhere warm and dry (oven set at its lowest setting with the door propped open should work).

If it spent much time powered up while there was still wet Pepsi on it it may be a lost cause. Voltage + metal + acidic solution = significant corrosion.

Edit:
Hz so good wrote:The spill happened a week ago, and it's been powered on the whole time.

May be a lost cause then.



Huh. Hadn't thought about everclear. I'll try giving it a soak, and see what happens. I've got a hunch it's shot, but I'll see if I can resurrect it somehow. She doesn't have $200 laying around for a replacement.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:20 pm

Notfred's suggestion to start with distilled water is good too. Some types of crud are more soluble in water than alcohol, and alcohol tends to pull water out (making the drying process quicker), so distilled first then alcohol makes sense. No idea whether anything in Pepsi benefits from the distilled water treatment, but at this point it costs you nothing extra to try (other than the cost of a jug of distilled water if you don't have any handy already).
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:12 pm

I don't; I clean the filters.
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Re: How do you clean your PC and its parts?

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:33 pm

Airmantharp wrote:I don't; I clean the filters.

Might still want to check the internal components at least occasionally. Small particulates get through the filters.
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