How to Get Rid of Dust in your CPU

Dust inside your CPU can be a huge problem if left unchecked. Often times, people worry about having the right software to keep malware out (Tips on how to get rid of malware) but seldom worry about their hardware collecting harmful dust.

Dust BuildupDust can quickly build up inside your CPU without you noticing it. Dust can accumulate inside your CPU if you live in a dusty area, like a place surrounded by factories, or if you have several pets inside your home.

Dust buildup in your CPU can cause:

  • Cooling fans to jam. Dust can slow down or completely stop cooling fans inside your CPU case. When that happens, harmful heat buildup will occur.
  • Heatsink ineffectiveness. Dust can also quickly accumulate in heatsinks, making it less effective in dissipating heat from your processor, video card, or any device that uses them.
  • Corrosion or Rust. Dust along with moisture can severely damage the metal parts of your computer. It can damage your processor, video card, hard drive, or just about any hardware in your computer.

These can all easily shorten the lifespan of your computer from years to months or even weeks. Dust does the “snowball effect” where more dirt traps even more dirt, and in a short time, you have lots of them inside your computer.

Causes of Dust Buildup in your CPU

There are many reasons why dust finds its way into your computer. Yourcomputer uses fans that suck in cool air into the case; however, not only is cool air drawn inside, but also dust particles.

Causes of such buildup are:

  • Pets. Pets like cats and dogs shed every now and then. The amount of shedding depends on the breed too. Long-haired pets shed most and they can be a huge contributing factor.
  • Dusty environment. If you live near the beach, an industrial area, or near a farm, then expect to see a lot of dust inside your computer.
  • Dirty homes. If you often forget to clean your room or your house, then a lot of the dirt in there gets sucked into your computer too.

Getting Rid of Dust in your Computer

Getting rid of the dust inside your CPU is quite a simple task similar to you cleaning your room; however, utmost care must be done because you may either hurt yourself or damage your computer.

Before you start cleaning your CPU, make sure you disconnect it from your electrical outlet first. Also, disconnect all the cables attached to the CPU first to make the cleaning a lot easier. (For more tips on removing dust, read how to get rid of dust)

Cleaning your Dusty CPU

Cleaning your computer can be a easier if you have the right tools with you. Here are the things you will need:

Use the screw driver to open one side of your CPU. Usually, it has two to three screws at the side. After removing the screws, slide the panel open. You should see the interior of your CPU. If not, you have opened the wrong side. Return the panel and screw it back. Open the other side.

If you have a vacuum or canned air, point it to the dusty areas inside. Pay close attention to the fans and the heat sinks of your processor, video card, and the cooling system. Unused AGP, PCI, RAM, or any slots on your motherboard do collect a lot of dust to. Make sure you clean them too.

When using a brush, make sure that the one you will use has soft bristles so that it will not scratch the surface of your computer hardware.

If you know how to disconnect some of your computer hardware from the motherboard, do so. That will allow you to better rid the inside of dust, especially when there is already a lot of dust.

Here is what you should do:

  1. Remove power cables. Carefully remove the power cables from the hard drives, floppy disk drive, and your optical drives (CDROM, DVDROM). (If you’re tired seeing your messy cables, see how to get rid of messy computer cables)
  2. Remove IDE or SATA cables. Remove these cables as well so that they don’t block your way when thoroughly cleaning it.
  3. Remove the processor fan and heat sink. Removing the heat sink and the fan varies on the type of motherboard and processor. Refer to your manual to determine how to remove it properly.
  4. Clean. Start cleaning it by using your vacuum, brush or canned air. A vacuum cleaner is more effective and easier to use.

If you still think that you need to remove other peripherals from your motherboard in order to clean it well, do so as long as you do it very carefully and you know how to remove them.

Preventing Dust in CPU

The best way to avoid getting too much dust in your computer is to place it in a less dusty area. It will also help if you sweep or vacuum the room or house everyday.

Also, make sure you inspect the inside of your computer every month to see if there is already a lot of dust.

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About the author

Nicole Harding


  • Not to be all annoying in technical, but saying “How to get rid of dust in your CPU” isn’t right. The reason for that being that the CPU is the central processing unit of the computer (the processor) and so you’d be better off saying the inside of your case or computer or something. Sorry I’m bored just felt like pointing that out.

  • I like having my vacuum on and placing by the open computer case while i am using a can of compressed air to spray the inside of the case. Then the dust bunnies that come out can be sucked up by the vacuum. This is an especially good technique when it is really dusty inside your computer case.

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