You Should Never Use a Vacuum Cleaner to Clean the Inside of Your Computer

The interior of a computer case is designed with airflow in mind to keep the internal components from overheating; however, this same airflow, managed by a fan (or fans) can also cause problems in the long term if routine maintenance (or cleaning) is not performed. When your computer is running anything that is airborne can be pulled into the inside of a computer (e.g. smoke, hair, dust, germs).


How often you clean the inside of your computer is dependent on the environment and factors in the environment. For example, if your computer is at floor level and you have pets, it would be wise to clean the computer more frequently than if you had the computer at desk level with no pets. If you are a smoker, figure on cleaning the inside of the computer even more often. In my home, I clean the inside of my computer in the spring and in the fall.

Once you decide to the clean the inside of your computer the first and foremost step to take is to turn the computer “off” (and completely unplug it). Next, disconnect all cabling, then take the computer to a location where you can safely handle the computer and remove the side from the case of the computer. Wherever you perform this task, please be aware it needs to be somewhere that you do not mind blowing dust around. I typically take a small stand outside my garage (outdoors) to set the computer on.

Once you are setup, DO NOT be tempted to use your vacuum cleaner to clean the components inside the computer. WHY? A vacuum cleaner will generate static electricity that could ultimately damage the internal components (such as the motherboard).

To clean the inside of the computer (to remove the dust), I suggest blowing the dust from the inside of the computer. Please wear a pair of safety glasses when performing this task [CLICK HERE – FOR AN EXAMPLE]. If you are an asthmatic, it may be advisable to wear an air mask, as well [CLICK HERE – FOR AN EXAMPLE] . In my case I have an actual air compressor, which I set at very low pressure, to blow the dust and debris from the inside the computer. The most common method of blowing dust out of the computer is to purchase and use a can of compressed air [CLICK HERE – FOR AN EXAMPLE] .

Can of Compressed Air

When blowing air around the fan components, be aware that the blades on the fans will turn (often at a very high rate of speed) and could cause a potential back voltage condition. It is advisable to use the eraser end of a pencil to hold the fan blades in place. Also, when using compressed air in a can, expel the air in short intervals; not long intervals. WHY? If you continuously expel or blow out the contents of the can, the can will rapidly get cold and generate moisture; especially if you tilt the can. Due to this occurrence, I will often let the computer set for 10 or 15 minutes after the cleaning process to ensure the components are dry.

Cleaning the inside of your computer is not really a difficult process and will become an easily learned process if you do it on a regular basis. The reward to this is that your computer will breath easier and last longer.

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7 thoughts on “You Should Never Use a Vacuum Cleaner to Clean the Inside of Your Computer

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  1. Thanks for this comment. My son is at University just coming through his third year and has been awarded a host of software to assist him as he has several ‘conditions’ such as dyslexia etc. A colleague suggested he ‘clean out’ his computer with a vacuum and three days later it failed to boot up. He has many programs and files he desperately needs to recover especially a speaking software that transforms his spoken voice into a document. It has been looked at by a trusted engineer friend who tried to boot in ‘safe mode’ – hit F8 key before windows start up and choose from the menu or, choose ‘command line only’ but none have worked.
    I feel the vacuum has definitely done the damage!!! Now we have to find a very speedy repair service !!!


    1. Alan,

      I am sorry to hear that happened. Trust me, most of what I have learned has been through the trials and mistakes that I created.

      Thank you for sharing this the readers here and please stop by again!



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    You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good
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