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

It’s important to learn how to clean your computer, and it can help prevent your gaming PC from collecting dust and holding things fast. Choosing the right PC cover and making sure to manage cables in your rig helps, but you still have to roll up your sleeves and scrub your insides from time to time. Implementing a good PC hygiene strategy will ensure that your computer looks a part, but it will also help increase your fps and maintain top performance while running the latest Steam games.

If you have researched how to clean your computer, you will probably be aware that it is not like cleaning your room. Removing physical dust, dirt 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 feel daunting and tedious, it is also a rewarding process that should help your parts live longer – an invaluable blessing considering the cost due to ongoing component shortages.

To help you clean your computer thoroughly, we’ve put together a handy guide on how to clean your computer, including the tools and steps required to clean your PC. We will even give you some tips on how to clean up your hard drive and SSD, since digital dirt can be just as problematic as the dirt in your cover.

How to clean your computer.

Computer cleaning tools

Before embarking on an electronic dust-blasting escapade, it is a good idea to obtain the tools for cleaning your computer in advance. Not only will this help ensure that you have the right weapons to wage war against the dirty interiors of your gaming PC, but it will also mean that you will not have to improvise – which could pose a risk to your computer.

Here is what you need to clean your PC:

  • Compressed air
  • Q-tips (cotton buds)
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Face mask

If you plan to wipe the dust off your PC inside the house, leave some old sheets behind. You may be surprised at how much dust and dirt lives in your machine, as there are many nooks and crannies for dust rabbits to hide in.

Using compressed air will help you blast compressed crud from the hiding place, with Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol that act as a way to clean sensitive parts, such as your expensive gaming motherboard.

how to clean the computer: inside the gaming PC with Intel fan, motherboard and the bottom of the graphics card

Cleaning inside the computer

When it comes to cleaning your PC, you should start from the inside, as dirt from the inside can get to the outside of your case during the process. This way you will not ruin your efforts by making the outside of the rig.

To clean the inside of the game PC cover:

  • Put on a face mask
  • Turn off the PC and disconnect all cables
  • Move the PC to a flat, ventilated area
  • Remove the PC cover side panels and fan filters
  • Use short compressed air shocks to remove dust from the filters
  • Wipe off any remaining debris from the filters with a microfiber cloth
  • Repeat the same steps for the inside of the walls and floor of the PC cover

To cope with a rig with many years of dust buildup, you need to take the components out of the case. This is essentially the opposite of how to build a gaming PC, which means you should take similar precautions while handling your expensive parts.

You will also want to do this on a large, flat surface, but be sure to lay down something to prevent your gaming desk from getting cosmetic damage. Once you have removed the parts from your rig, you can start to make them look shiny and new again.

To clean the system board and PC parts:

  • Use short compressed air shocks to remove larger lumps of dust from the system board and graphics card
  • Dip a Q-tip into isopropyl alcohol and gently clean the surface of the system board and other sensitive areas.
  • To clean the fans, keep them steady and use compressed air to blow away stuck dust
  • Wipe the PC cables with a microfiber cloth

It is worth noting that although the power supply can collect dust inside the house, you should think twice before opening one. Not only will this potentially void your warranty, but tampering around inside high voltage parts is potentially dangerous. We suggest that you simply use compressed air to clean the PSU without opening it, as you will be amazed at how far you can go without opening the shell.

When you are satisfied with the cleaning effort, reassemble the rig and replace the side panels and fan filters. If you are a perfectionist, you may want to use a flashlight to inspect your work and find the places you have missed. However, it is impossible to completely eradicate dust forever, so it is best to just join the fact that you are going to do all this again in the future.

how to clean your computer: Corsair PC cover on blue backdrop

Clean the outside of the computer

Cleaning the outside of your rig is not as much nonsense as the inside, but finishing touches can help your gaming PC shine. By keeping your computer case in top shape, you also prevent dust from entering your cover, which can make the whole process easier next time.

To clean the computer cover:

  • Use short compressed air shocks to push dust from ridges and cracks
  • Rub the PC with a microfiber cloth, including removed side panels
  • If your case has a glass panel, spray a small amount of glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe with circular motions

If you are interested in the idea of ​​describing the best PC cover as a car, then there are some optional extra steps you can take. Although we would advise against the use of extra strength cleaners or solvents, adding a small spray of furniture varnish to the microfiber cloth can visually rejuvenate your rig and help prevent dust buildup.

How to clean your computer: generic hard drive with emoji sparks on the right

How to clean the hard drive

Now that you’ve spruced up your PC, it’s time to consider wiping out your digital space. Taking the time to clean your hard drive or SSD makes all the difference, especially if you want things to go smoothly. Fortunately, digital space disinfection does not require a lot of elbow grease, and most of the tools you need are built into operating systems such as Windows 11.

To get started, let’s remove potentially unwanted files and programs from your PC. If you use a pre-built machine, you may find that it is already clogged with software you do not need. With that in mind, here’s how to uninstall programs on Windows 10 and beyond.

  • Navigate to “Storage Settings” using the search tool on the Windows taskbar
  • At the top of the page, click “Apps and features”
  • Click on the “Sort by” filter at the top and select “Installation date”
  • Browse the list of apps and remove any apps 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 be useful if you use one of the smaller best SSDs for gaming options out there, as it means you do not have to do much to get new Steam games on the drive.

To clean your computer: Windows Defender logo with Windows 11 pink backdrop

In addition, you can also ward off nasty digital bacteria using built-in Windows security. If you do not use a third-party security package such as McAfee or Norton, “virus and threat protection” should already be turned on.

To turn on Windows 11 security:

  • Use Windows Search, navigate to the Windows Security app
  • On the “Virus and Threat Protection” page, select “Manage Settings”
  • You will be presented with various services, including real-time protection
  • Make sure each function is turned on with the green switches

Windows 11 will now keep an eye on malicious files and software, and it will regularly scan your drive for digital dirt.

What can I use to clean my computer?

This may be obvious, but you should also be careful when using water-based cleaning solutions. You can use soap and water to clean particularly dirty PC covers after you have removed components, but you must make extra sure that everything is dry before you reassemble it. Of course, you will want to clean electrical components with something like 99% isopropyl alcohol instead of a household cleaner, as this will help prevent residual moisture and chemicals from damaging your parts.

To clean your computer: Henry vacuum cleaner with no blue backdrop

Can I vacuum my computer?

Refurbishing your PC may seem easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind when trying to clean your computer. However tempting it may be, do not grab the vacuum cleaner, as using one can generate static electricity and damage your parts. To remove layers of dust and compressed dirt, it is best to use a box of compressed air or an electric air duster designed with computer cleaning in mind.

How often should I clean my PC?

You should clean your PC regularly, but how often depends on various factors. If you have pets or use your computer in a dusty environment, your computer will end up collecting more dirt than usual. Naturally, vacuuming and polishing the floor and surfaces of the room will tackle dust particles before they reach your rig. Beyond that, you will want to peek into your building every two months and give things a light cleaning.

How to keep dust away from your computer

Dust is one of life’s domestic ailments, and it can be challenging to keep it away from the gaming PC. Using the best PC fans is a good way to counteract the buildup of dust, as creating positive pressure in your cover helps with exhaust residues. If your cooling configuration creates negative pressure, it can draw in more air and foreign matter – a trade-off that is often made to reduce CPU and GPU temperatures by a few degrees.