This is how you make your PC shiny again

Your PC collects a lot of dust in the housing unseen. It is not wise to just get started with an aggressive cleaning agent. We'll show you how to get your PC shiny clean again in a safe way.

You probably pull a vacuum cleaner through your house at least once a week, because otherwise it will get very dusty. It's no different in your PC, just like your house, a computer gets dirty on the inside. Cleaning your entire PC every week is excessive, but it can't hurt to give your PC a good cleaning once a year. It is not surprising that a computer is full of dust after a year.

In addition to fresh air, the fans that keep your system cool also suck in dust. Slowly but surely, this dust clogs the cooling fins of your cooling. You won't notice much at first, but if too much dust builds up, the cooling performance will deteriorate. Fans are also more likely to make noise if they are covered with a layer of dust. In a very extreme case, your PC could even overheat, but of course you don't let that happen! Dust plays a role in mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet and your screen, but fingerprints are even more annoying. Fortunately, it is not difficult to clean your screen in a safe way.


Before you start cleaning, take a look at the placement of your PC. Never place your computer in an enclosed space such as a closet. The warm air cannot then flow away, resulting in parts overheating. A mess of cables at the back also prevents the warm air from getting out properly. Tie the cables neatly together so that the fans have space to discharge the warm air. For tying, use Velcro, a cable spiral or cable tie, for example. Do not tie the cables together too tightly or use a tie wrap that is too narrow: this will damage the cables and may cause a short circuit. To avoid dust as much as possible, you should not put your PC on the floor, but with a large tower case that is sometimes the only choice.

Beware: Static Electricity

Static electricity is the biggest danger when opening your PC. You don't see static electricity, but unnoticed you can build up a considerable voltage that is released when you make contact with a part in your PC. Various components in your PC can break as a result. The risk of this is not very great, but use as a rule that you do not touch things that you do not need to touch. You can reduce the chance of a static discharge by discharging yourself before opening your PC. You can discharge yourself by briefly grasping an unpainted part of a radiator or heating pipe. To further exclude static electricity, you may want to use an anti-static wristband. Attach the clamp to an unpainted part of your housing, so there is no voltage difference between you and your PC, so no static discharge occurs.

Before you start cleaning, remove all cables from the outside so that you can move the PC from its place. Then press the on button, so your system will lose stored energy. You can clean the outside of the housing with soapy water based on, for example, washing up liquid. Slightly dampen a microfibre cloth and wipe the housing.

Of course, your cloth is not too moist, you don't want moisture to drip into your PC. When you are done with the outside, open the housing. Usually you have to loosen two screws and you can slide the side panel off. With some housings, you just need to unsnap a lock after which you can remove the side panel. Compressed air is the easiest way to keep your PC clean. Blow the parts clean regularly, so that dust does not have a chance to build up. It is a job that is best done outdoors. Hold the compressed air cleaner can straight and blow the dust away with short blows from a small distance. Make sure that you always keep the compressed air upright, the canister contains liquid air and that can spray out if you are not using the can upright.

If a fan spins too fast, it will break. Therefore, while blowing clean, hold the fan with your finger or temporarily put a stick in between. If a computer has not been maintained for a long time, a can of compressed air is often not enough to remove the dust. The dust is then very compact and is firmly stuck between the cooling fins.

With processor coolers where you can detach the fan from the cooling fins, it is often not necessary to remove the entire cooling element from the CPU. First, disconnect the fan connector from the motherboard and remove the fan from the heat sink. This is secured with clamps or screws that you can easily loosen. Wipe the dust between the fan with a brush or cotton swab and then remove the stubborn dust between the cooling fins. Reinstall the fan on the heatsink and don't forget to reconnect the connector to the motherboard. Luxury system cabinets often contain filters that stop the dust, now is the time to clean them. With dust filters, you can also place the vacuum cleaner with a brush on the outside. This way you also remove most of the dust from the filters.


You mainly remove dust from your PC to prevent cooling problems. In that light, now that your PC is open, it is useful to see how well air (and therefore heat) can flow through your system. Especially loose cables block the airflow. Try to gently gather the cables together and loosely tie them together with a cable tie or Velcro. Some system cabinets have special bulges to pass through a tie-wrap. If you have a lot of unused power cables, consider buying a (semi) modular power supply.

On a (semi)modular power supply you can disconnect the cables that you are not using, which in turn saves space. With good airflow, cool air is drawn in at the front (and sometimes the bottom) of the system and the heat in the system at the rear (and sometimes also the top) can be released again. Some systems have only one fan on the front and use the fan in the power supply to exhaust the warm air. In such a case you can make a profit by placing an extra fan in the system cabinet. Check the manual to find out which dimensions fit in the system cabinet (usually the larger, the quieter) and whether you still have a power connection on the motherboard or the power supply. Often there is a special connection on the motherboard for a system fan.

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