Dust Your Computer? Spring Cleaning I forgot

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The next time you are at the store and snicker when you see the canned air, remember The Lorax. Grab a can anyway.


Because it’s time to clean out your computer.

I never remember to do this until my computer decides to throw a tantrum. Which it does if I haven’t taken care of it. Yay?

It is the worst when I am trying to act super professional and impress a client. I think that may have caused me a minor meltdown of my own.

spring cleaning dust your computer

How do you dust a computer?

If you have a desktop with a tower unit, you can use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum to suck the dust off of the cover. In fact, you should do this every time you vacuum. This will help prevent SOME but definitely not all dust from entering the unit.

If you have pets, this is especially important as pet hair and dander are drawn to your computer like moths to a flame.


Static electricity is the devil.

You’ve probably noticed anywhere you have a tangle of cords, you also have more dust than anywhere else, right? The electrons providing all that wonderful electricity love to build a negative charge. This negative charge attracts positively charged dust particles. These dust particles are very social and work together inside of your computer to create a colony of dust bunnies whose main hobby is knitting your heat sink into a cozy little sweater.

Clean heat sink

Insulated heat sinks are a bad, bad thing. They can’t allow your computer to cool, and this can lead to serious and potentially expensive damage.

Static electricity is also why you use compressed air and not your vacuum to clean out the inside of your computer. You don’t want to create a spark near your exposed circuitry.

If it has been a while since you’ve cleaned your computer, take it outside and don’t forget that can of air. Just trust me on this, please? Carefully take the cover off of your tower unit or laptop.

Now take a peek inside, sigh heavily, use your compressed air and serve up the dust bunny eviction. Pay special attention to the area around the fans and try not to jostle any cords or touch any of the circuitry.

Once you’ve blown out all the dust, replace the cover carefully, take it back inside, and reconnect the cords.

Try to get in the habit of doing this every six months, unless you have multiple pets, which means you get to do it MORE.

Now, be honest, when was the last time you dusted the inside of your computer?

Submit your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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9 thoughts on “Dust Your Computer? Spring Cleaning I forgot”

  1. Also try to remember that new canned air also contains a really acrid embittering agent. Its designed to stop the huffers (they never let us have ANY fun).

    What it will do is fill your living room with a smell that will put you out of it! Shaking the can makes it worse.

    So, resist that overwhelming urge to shake anything that you’re about to spray, and ventelate the area. That, or just listen to Heather for once (like I ever did!) And take the whole operation outside.

  2. Remember the local huffer caught with gold paint on his mouth? He said it was from demons umm, err, how do I put this politely? taking advantage of him?

    If that isn’t a clear drugs are bad mmmkay message, I don’t know what is.

  3. it can also speed up your computer a little. The processor lowers it’s speed as the heat rises, so better airflow = faster processor.

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever done this. My keyboard yes but not the actual computer – at home or at work (both laptops). Regarding the pet thing, several years ago my laptop stopped working so I took it to the repair shop. At the time I was looking at new ones and got a killer DELL discount through my employer – so I told the guy if it’s gonna cost more than $250 to fix don’t bother. So he calls the next day to tell me it’s kaput. As I get ready to hang up, he says oh by the way do you have a dog? I said yes I have two shedding machines – I mean greyhounds why? Because the inside of computer was full of dog hair. Oops.

  5. I have a laptop but I need to remember to dust out the keyboard. I eat breakfast at my computer and some of those pesky crumbs get in there. I don’t really think about it until one of my keys starts to stick – like it did yesterday. You’d be surprised at how often you use the “w”. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I have a Husky. Need I say more? I hang a fabric softener sheet over the front of my tower. It still allows air to recirculate but none (well, most) of the dog hair and dander stays out (my computer tech at work told me it’s the dander, more than the hair, that causes the problems).


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