Dust Your Computer as Part of Regular Maintenance - dummies

Dust Your Computer as Part of Regular Maintenance

By Mark L. Chambers

Dust bunnies are real — and they seem to reproduce as fast as their namesakes, too. Thanks to your trusty can of techno-nerd compressed air, however, you can banish that dust from your PC and get back to work or play.

Here’s a checklist of what to do:

  • Open and dust your desktop PC at least once a year. Consider it a birthday present for your computer. Unscrew or unlatch your PC’s case and use a can of compressed air (available at any office supply store) to blow any accumulated dust from the motherboard, adapter cards, and cables.

    If allowed to accumulate, that dust can act as a comfy heat-retaining blanket over your PC’s circuitry, and overheated components have a significantly shorter lifespan. (For proof, check out the fans at the back of your PC’s case and the fan on top of the processor. Heat is the enemy.)

  • Remove dust that’s settled on the fan blades. Speaking of fans, use your compressed air to get rid of any additional dust on fan blades and within air intake holes. To properly ventilate and cool your PC, these openings need to be free of dust bunnies.

  • Wipe down your PC case and your monitor with a clean, dry cloth every few months. Don’t ever use household solvents to clean your PC’s case; instead, use special antistatic cleaning solutions and cloths made just for cleaning computer hardware. You can readily find these at your local computer shop or office supply store.

    If you have a stain that won’t come off your PC’s case, even when you use an antistatic cleaning cloth, try Armor All protectant (which you’ve probably been using on your car’s rubber and vinyl for years!). Apply a small amount of Armor All to that cloth and try again.

  • Avoid eating near your PC. It’s difficult not to snack while you’re on the Internet, but at least be diligent about cleaning up afterward — and never park anything liquid anywhere near your computer!

  • Keep your workspace clean and open. Surrounding your PC with papers and knickknacks might optimize your desktop space (or at least help you feel more human around an inhuman boss), but you contribute to the accumulation of dust inside your computer. And in the worst case, you block the flow of air. Leave at least six inches of free space around the base of your PC.

If your PC must be located in a dusty environment, consider using an air cleaner and ionizer unit.