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Cleaning a Computer

Category Maintenance
To run at its best and perhaps save you money on future repairs, your computer can do with a periodic cleaning. This is a guide about cleaning a computer.


Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

April 30, 2012

I wipe the table that I use for my desk and laptop with a bounce dryer sheet. I also wipe the outside of the PCs and keep one in my laptop bag. It cuts down on dust and keep my PCs running cool. Dust is a computer's worst enemy!

By Carmen from Daytona Beach, FL

Comment Was this helpful? 6
May 7, 20120 found this helpful

I also do great! I have found used ones work just as good as if it was one straight out of the box. I dust my blinds after they are cleaned with dryer sheets. They stay dust free so much longer.

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3 found this helpful
July 27, 2016

Every computer needs to be cleaned periodically, especially if you use the computer in an office and around a lot of paper. The inside of all computers sucks in dust, which gets trapped in the processor heat sink and fan. This can slow down the processor and eventually cause the processor to overheat. Therefore, it's necessary to clean the inside of your computer to remove dust to keep the computer running longer.

Total Time: 1 Hour


  • 1 flat head screwdriver
  • 1 Phillips screwdriver
  • 1 small brush or paintbrush


  1. Unplug the cables from the back of your computer and place the computer tower on a flat surface.
  2. Lay the computer tower flat on the table and turn the computer around so you can see the connector panel and screws on the cover.
  3. Remove the two screws on the top cover. The top cover is the cover that is above the cable connectors on the motherboard. Afterwards, remove the cover from the tower. You will need to pull the cover towards you.
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  5. Locate your memory chips. The memory needs to be removed first from the motherboard. Gently press down on the two white tabs located on both sides of the memory. Lift the memory up when the tabs have been pushed and the memory is unlocked from the motherboard.
  6. Next, remove the heat sink and processor fan. There is a black latch on the heat sink unit. Lift the latch up to release the heat sink. You might need to use a flat head screwdriver to gently wedge the heat sink away from the tabs it is attached to.
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  8. Once the memory and the heat sink unit is removed you can now use a small brush or paint brush to gently glean the motherboard. You just want to remove the dust from the motherboard. Do not press hard when cleaning the motherboard. You can damage the motherboard or break some of the smaller components located on the board.
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  10. Use the brush to clean the processor fan. If you can't remove all the dust from the fan and heat sink, youll need to remove the 4 screws holding the fan in place. Make sure to remove all the dust that is embedded in the heat sink.
  11. Replace the fan on the heat sink unit. Hold the heat sink unit so you can look through the unit. You should be able to see through the unit with no dust blocking the inside of the unit.
  12. To replace the heat sink unit you'll need to start from the back. Move the medal bar to the back of the unit and locate the small plastic pin on the back of the motherboard. Hook the square on the medal bar over the plastic square on the motherboard. Push the medal bar forward and press gently down to attach the unit to the motherboard. Once in place you will move the level to the left to secure the heat sink to the motherboard.
  13. Align up the memory chips on the motherboard. The memory needs to slide into the posts. Once in place gently press down on the left and right side of the chip until you hear it click into place.
  14. Make sure all the dust is out of the inside of your computer before closing the lid and replacing the screws.
  15. The computer I am cleaning hasn't been cleaned in 6 years. The computer started to overheat and shuts off. The extent of dust inside this computer can easily burn up the computer, start a fire, or destroy your processor.
  16. I normally clean the dust out of my computers every two to three months. This ensures the processor doesn't overheat and the computer functions as new.
Comment Was this helpful? 3

3 found this helpful
January 4, 2010

My computer's case has tiny vents that clog up with dust (in addition to the larger obvious vents). They are quite difficult to clean due to the fact that the vents are surrounded by deep fins.


3 found this helpful
October 8, 2012

This is the way I clean my laptop monitor; I use a microfiber cloth. If this doesn't work dampen the cloth and try again.


3 found this helpful
November 7, 2011

Use eyeglass cleaner to dust of the monitor and use a damp Q-tip between the keys. Use a feather duster to give it a dust, lightly over all. This works for me. You can't use anything strong on the monitor.



Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
September 19, 2010

How do you clean the area under and around the computer/desk without raising dust? I am allergic to dust and the area with the computer wire is a dust problem. Thanks.

By Laura from IL

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 22, 20100 found this helpful

It's as simple as unplugging everything computer desk related from the electrical outlet and use a damp rag, rinsing and wringing the cloth as needed, and clean the wires and surrounding area the old fashioned way. ;-)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 25, 20100 found this helpful

Ugh! If you have a cord phobia like I do, that won't work. I don't mess with my plugs unless I must, but like Laura, I suffer from allergies when I'm cleaning, too.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 5, 20100 found this helpful

Use the brush attachment on your vacuum, works great.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 22, 20090 found this helpful

My computer mouse keeps sticking. Does anyone know if I can clean where the ball is on the underside or should I just replace the mouse?

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