You can be a complete clean freak, but for as much as you dust your computer room, a mother load of dust still finds its way into your computer case. When a computer is running, it puts out a field of static electricity that attracts dust like a magnet. So effectively, If you were dusting the computer room while the computer is running, it was just sucking most of it in.
You computer will need a solid cleaning every couple of months to maintain peak efficiency. While the dust may seem harmless, it clogs the fan vents and can prevent your computer from getting the air it needs to cool the inside bits of your computer. If the dust gets too bad, your computer can even overheat so fiercely it becomes a fire hazard. however, to be fair, most computers that catch on fire are used in workshops where there is a lot of potential combustibles like sawdust floating around.
Cleaning Your PC
When preparing to give your computer a solid cleaning inside and out, make sure it is turned off and unplugged. While you may think turning off your computer is enough, there is still electrical current running through it from the power cord.
What You Need:
- Rubbing Alcohol
- A lint-free Microfiber cloth
- Dryer Sheets (or Fabric Softener Sheets, they are the same thing)
- A can of Compressed Air
Start by wiping down the outside of your case with a dryer sheet or just the microfiber cloth. I recommend using a dryer sheet because it contains chemicals that are reduce static, thus why your clothes do not shock you when they come out of the dryer. This anti-static chemical and light abrasives of the dryer sheet will not only remove dust but it will repel it for longer than just cleaning with rubbing alcohol and microfiber. By starting with the outside of the case, this will prevent dust from getting back into the inside after you clean it.
It is very important you stick to the items above and do not deviate from it. Use a lint free cloth as lint can be a fire hazard. Do not use a paper towel as that can scratch a lot of your peripherals and leave behind lint. Chemicals like Windex will damage and LCD monitor and leave the inside of your case dangerously moist.
Cleaning the Inside of the Case
Remove the side panel of the case. If you are unfamiliar with opening you case, look up directions for the model online. Unless you are comfortable with opening computers, do not just try to figure it out yourself. Once the case is open, start by spraying out the dust bunnies with compressed air. Aim for areas where dust will gather under things than spray over the motherboard, graphics card, and your various buses. Essentially, just try to get the dust off the inside the components and into a place where you can wipe it away.
Be sure you are using your compressed air properly though. Always keep the can upright and spray the air in very short bursts. Turning the can to the side, upside down, or spraying for too long causes can air to release an ultra cold liquid. Liquid is one of the last things you want in your computer.
After you have cleaned the inside of your case, clean off the fans thoroughly. I recommend wetting your microfiber with a little rubbing alcohol to clean them off, then rub a dryer sheet over them to help prevent more dust settling. If you have fans with removable filters, run them under water and let them dry for awhile before wiping them with a dryer sheet.
After the inside is cleaned, put your case back together and give your case another solid wipe down with a dryer sheet. You should wait at least an hour before turning your computer back on, especially if you used rubbing alcohol or compressed air. This is purely a precaution just to make sure all the liquid has dried.
Cleaning Your Mouse
After you have cleaned you case, you should best sit down and clean your peripherals as well. They do not often get dusty, but they do get dirty. Dampen your microfiber cloth with some rubbing alcohol and gently clean the gunk off your mouse.
Do not attempt to clean the optical sensor with any cleaning solution, even rubbing alcohol as it could be damaged. Used a dry piece of microfiber to clean any dust off and attempt to pick out any lint.
Cleaning Your Keyboard
The best way to get all the dust and crumbs out of your keyboard is to turn it upside down and vigorously shake it. If you give it a few thumps with your hand, do so relatively gently as to not damage it. Use a Q-tip with rubbing alcohol to run in between the crevices of the keys to get all the excess grease and grime off of them.
If you happened to spill something in your keyboard and the keys are sticking, you will need to pop the keys out and clean the area with rubbing alcohol. Just try to keep the keys in order so you can pop them back in easily later. If you have a laptop, you cannot pop the keys off, so please do not try. This is only for desktop computer keyboards.
Cleaning Your Monitor
A lot of people just figure a spritz of Windex on the monitor and a paper towel will clean any monitor. While this works for the old CRT monitors it may damage the new LCD monitors. Use a microfiber cloth dampened with a little bit of a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol. You can also use a mixture of water and white vinegar as well. If you are using tap water, make sure you wipe the monitor dry or else it may leave water spots.
If your monitor gathers dust frequently, you can also use those dryer sheets again. They are particularly handy when it comes to electronics, even monitors and televisions.
If you want to by those computer screen cleaning clothes, I have found they work very well, so they are worth the expense. I find them doubly useful if you also wear glasses. they make great eye glass cleaners.