Cleaning your CPU/computer is essential to keep it running smoothly. Skipping this can slow down your PC, make it worse, and overheat its components. It is best to clean your CPU regularly to avoid overheating and malfunctions caused by dust inside the CPU.
A computer may not be the most fun part, but cleaning and regular maintenance are important to the performance of your components in the long run. The CPU in particular is a component that is not frequently cleaned.
For general maintenance, compressed air from the cooler fan and some compressed air from the CPU is sufficient. If your CPU fan is very dirty or you need to clean the thermal grease from the CPU or socket pins, you will need to do a more thorough cleaning.
How to Clean CPU? 2023 Step-by-Step Guide?
The computer’s enemy is hot. Accumulation of dust can reduce the cooling efficiency of your computer over time. This can shorten the life of the component. Clean the inside of your computer to keep it cool. Here are some steps:
Turn off the computer and unplug the computer from the electrical outlet.
Remove the power cord and cables from the back of the computer.
Use compressed air to remove dust from the case fan. Hold the fan with your fingers while blowing compressed gas to prevent the fan from rotating.
Fan blades are delicate and can crack if turned too quickly. You can use rubbing alcohol to clean the blades as a finishing touch. If it is hard to reach or very dirty, you can easily clean it by removing the fan from the case.
Use compressed air to remove dust from the power supply. Clean the dust filter under the power supply.
The processor’s heat sink and fan should also be cleaned. Compressed air can blow the dust off the fan and heatsink.
You may need to remove the heat sink or fan from the processor to remove the buildup. Ensure that the thermal grease has been removed from the heat sink and processor, then add new thermal grease to the heat sink.
To remove thermal grease, moisten a lint-free towel with 99% isopropyl alcohol. Then wipe the thermal grease off the heat sink and processor.
Less concentrated alcohol may work, but it may leave a residue and reduce the effectiveness of the thermal paste. ArctiClean is a commercially available thermal material removal product. You can also use a coffee filter instead of a lint-free cloth.
Clean the cables and power cords while they are disconnected. Lightly dampen the cloth in mild soapy water, then carefully pull the cables and cords through the cloth. Holding the grip too hard can damage the cable. Dry the cables and power cords with a dry cloth.
How to clean the inside of your computer?
The dirt inside your computer can actually slow it down and cause all sorts of problems that are hard to deal with, so it’s better to take action now! Cleaning the inside of your computer isn’t difficult if you’ve got the right tools to open it up. Below we will guide you step by step through the entire process.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 1
Gather the tools you need. You will need compressed air and a screwdriver (only needed if you need to use a screwdriver to open the computer case).
A small vacuum cleaner can clean the clutter around your computer, but it should not be used inside your computer. If you need to clean your computer quickly, a dust mask is a good idea as it may slightly lessen sneezing.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 2
Shut down your computer and unplug it.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 3
Disconnect the LAN cable and all peripherals such as monitors, scanners, printers, keyboards, mice and speakers.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 4
Go to an appropriate workspace. If you haven’t cleaned your computer in a while, we suggest a suitable workspace.
You can clean your computer on the spot, but we don’t recommend it. The job can be very messy, so you’ll want to work in an area that allows for adequate ventilation of the dust.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 5
Open your computer. If you have an appropriate workspace, open the Computer. This is highly machine dependent. If you have an instruction manual, we recommend that you refer to it.
Most machines have screws holding the side panels down. After removing this you can slide the side on the machine.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 6
Get ready to clean up. Use compressed air after opening the computer. You may also want to wear a dust mask. Do not touch the inside of the computer unless absolutely necessary. Electrostatic shock can damage critical internal components (such as CPU and RAM).
If you must touch the inside of the device, discharge static electricity before unplugging by tapping your finger on the computer’s metal case.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 7
Start dusting. Blow out the inside of the machine using compressed air. It’s generally a good idea to start with the upper area of your computer and then work your way down. In this way, all the dust accumulated on the lower part can be swept away in one go.
Don’t worry if the blades of the internal fan spin. This is to be expected and it is important to keep these components clean. Be thorough, but don’t hit any code or components. Also, keep the air source a reasonable distance from the part being worked on.
Set the compressed air can upright. Turning it over can spill liquid that can seriously damage your computer.
Compressed air is very cold when it leaves the can. Make sure the chips are not frosted.
It can generate a lot of dust. Don’t breathe. If your PC is dusty, take it out of the house before using compressed air.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 8
Make sure the heatsink fan is clean. The heatsink sits above the processor and is a collection of metal ridges protruding from the motherboard. If this fan is not working properly, it can overheat the processor, resulting in reduced performance or permanent damage.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 9
Take a full look inside and out for any dust you may have missed. Carefully replace the side once it has been verified to be completely clean. Do not try to force it on.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 10
Clean up your workspace. Initial runs generate a lot of particulates. Depending on your workspace, you may need to use a small vacuum cleaner to clean your computer. Do not use a vacuum cleaner inside the computer.
We recommend that you keep your computer open while doing this. When the dust in the air inside your computer starts to settle and you run it a second time, you can put in a very productive effort.
Clean the Inside of a Computer Step 11
Close your computer. After dusting, replace the machine side and screws. Once the machine is securely closed, return it to its original position and reconnect the power cord and other cables. (You may consider cleaning this entire area to remove excess material that may contribute to dust ingestion.)
If the master power switch on the back of the machine is turned off, be sure to turn it back on. Otherwise, the machine will not start. A clean computer runs much cooler and lasts much longer than one clogged with dust and debris.
Prior to starting,
When handling components such as CPUs, it is important to consider static electricity to avoid damaging the components. You can safely discharge static electricity by wearing an antistatic wrist strap or by occasionally touching the PC chassis.
Next, you’ll need a clean workspace and a safe place to store small parts like screws. It’s hard to track, so if you misplace it, you’ll have trouble later.
Finally, the main items you will need to clean your CPU are:
- Antistatic equipment
- Very soft brush
- 99% pure isopropyl alcohol
- Microfiber cloth or cotton swab
The following guide will teach you the proper way to clean the CPU.
How to clean your CPU without damaging it?
You can use Isopropanol or thermal paste cleaner and a microfiber cloth to gently scrub the thermal grease off the CPU. Here are the full steps to do this:
Turn off your PC and unplug all power cables.
Lay the case on its side or remove the motherboard from the case.
Carefully remove the CPU cooler from the motherboard.
Apply some isopropyl alcohol to a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the old thermal grease off the CPU. Repeat the same process with the cooler block. When finished, allow the surface to dry for several hours.
If you need to further clean the fins or cooler fan, check the section below first. Otherwise, apply a pea-sized amount of thermal grease to the center of the CPU.
For stock Intel coolers, place the cooler back upright and align the 4 pins on the cooler with the 4 holes around the CPU. Press the two diagonally opposite pins until you hear a click, then repeat the process for the other two pins. For AMD coolers, hang the sides of the cooler down and close the latch arms.
Connect the cooler fan plug to the motherboard’s CPU fan header.
Put the motherboard back in the case, reconnect all cables and screws, and power on the PC.
Cleaning the old thermal paste and applying a new coating will have a noticeable effect on the CPU temperature. So, most users like to monitor their CPU temperature.
How often should I clean my CPU?
To maintain a healthy system, we recommend lightly dusting every 5 months. You may want to do this more often if you live in a dusty area.
For best performance, deep cleaning should be performed every six months to a year. However, it is recommended to do it every two years to avoid overheating problems.
How to clean CPU pins/sockets?
CPU socket pins: People sometimes put too much thermal grease on their CPU and when installing the cooler it ends up leaking into the fins. Fortunately, most thermal pastes today are not electrically conductive, so this is a common problem that shouldn’t be a big deal in most cases.
However, the CPU pins are very fragile, so be very careful when handling them. The steps required are:
Check the section above for steps to remove the CPU if necessary.
If you have a can of contact cleaner spray, you can use it to easily remove the paste. But most people don’t have this feature. In this case, you can follow the steps listed below instead.
Take a toothpick and remove the dough as carefully as possible without moving the pin.
Take a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush, dab some isopropyl alcohol on it, and very gently (with very little pressure) scrub the paste off the pins. Make sure you don’t bend the pins here as securing them can be really cumbersome later. It’s also worth mentioning that cotton swabs and isopropanol work just as well, as long as you don’t leave cotton fibers between the pins.
If paste gets on the brush, wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Then back to the pins. Repeat this until you have removed as much thermal grease as possible from the pins.
After cleaning, let the CPU dry for a few hours.
We recommend using an alcohol pad/wipe to clean the gold-plated contacts on the CPU. Don’t forget to dry the CPU afterward.
AMD mostly uses a PGA socket where the pins are on the CPU and they align with the holes in the socket. If you are trying to clean the thermal grease from these sockets, we recommend using an isopropyl cloth and wiping it in a straight line.
For deeper cleaning, pour isopropanol into the socket hole, use a brush to gently scrub to remove as much paste as possible, then use compressed air to blow out all the isopropanol along with the paste. Again, let the motherboard dry completely before reseating the CPU.
Things to consider:
It is essential to clean the computer room regularly. Make sure all equipment is covered first and minimize airborne dust.
Janitors and other staff may not know how easily equipment can be damaged and are not responsible for computer maintenance. If you cannot do it yourself, you should use a professional cleaning service.
The computer room environment should be kept cool and relatively dry. Start a regular computer maintenance program..