As with any piece of equipment, making sure your computer is regularly cleaned and checked is a great way to maintain and extend the working life of your rig. Regular cleaning can help prevent your computer from overheating, help your computer run better and it also makes it nicer to look at.

cleaning your pc Yellow How To

Before you jump straight in and pull your machine apart, you will first need to gather a few things to enable you to clean your pc hardware effectively.

You will need

  • 1 can of compressed air a.k.a an air duster
  • A household vacuum cleaner with a soft bristled attachment
  • A screwdriver
  • A clean cloth (microfibre is my go to)
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 tube of thermal paste


There are a couple of ways you can proceed depending on how thoroughly you want to clean your pc. Not all computers will be equally as dirty, but if you haven’t cleaned your machine in a long time or ever you will want to follow the steps below.

Please note: the steps below are for an air cooled computer system, i.e. a pc that uses fans to move warm air out of the machine and away from components. The steps that involve cpu cleaning and thermal paste do not relate to water cooled systems



  1. Turn off your computer and unplug it from the power source. Disconnect all peripherals and accessories that may be plugged in to your machine

  3. Using the screwdriver undo the bolts holding the side panels of your case onto the main body and remove the side panels of your pc case to expose the components inside. Disconnect any case mounted fans as appropriate. (Some pc cases do not use bolts to hold their sides on. In this case use whatever normal methods you would use to remove the panels from your machine and expose the internal computer components)

  5. Carefully disconnect and set aside all the internal pc components you want to clean. Leave the mother board in place as this will be cleaned properly later

  7.  For each part you want to clean, use the can of air and blow any surface or hard to reach dust off of the component. Use the vacuum cleaner with the attachment to carefully suck up any loose dust from the part you are cleaning by gently brushing the bristles across your component. (this technique is best used for the graphics card, case mounted fans and any other components with exposed moving parts)

  9. To properly clean the motherboard and cpu first disconnect the cpu and heatsink from the motherboard and give the non-paste covered parts a once over with the can of air and vacuum cleaner

  11. Once you have removed the cpu from the motherboard take your isopropyl alcohol and mix a small amount of it with a little bit of water. (always follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding this) Dip your clean cloth into this isopropyl mix and wipe down your motherboard so that the surface is clean. Make sure to be thorough and remove all the thermal paste from the cpu mount as this can lead to overheating if left unchecked. Clean all the old thermal paste off the cpu chip and heatsink and set aside to dry

  13. While you wait for your motherboard and cpu to dry use your vacuum cleaner to clean the filters and vents for any case mounted fans and clean the insides of the case.

  15. Once the motherboard and cpu have dried,take your new thermal paste and apply a some to the cpu on the heatsink. Make very sure to smooth out the thermal paste on the cpu to remove all air bubbles and give an even distribution of the heat. Once this is done re-attach the cpu to the motherboard and re-wire as appropriate. For more detailed instructions on properly cleaning your cpu follow the video below


  17. Dust off or clean any additional components as you re-attach them to the motherboard and give your case a once over with the vacuum to remove any remaining dust

  19. Re-wire all your internal components so that they are all plugged in and wired correctly (optional take advantage of the opportunity and do some cable management to clear space internally)

  21. Now that the insides of your computer are clean put the side covers back on and screw them back into place
    Finally, wipe down the outside of your machine and leave for 5 mins and you’re done! You are now free to reattach all of your peripherals, reconnect your computer and power it up



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