How to Clean Your Computer Without Compressed Air

a dusty computer

So, my computer is starting to show its age a little bit after being built a few years ago. Now it’s time to clean out all the dust bunnies. The only problem is… I don’t have a can of compressed air lying around. Who wants to make a trip to the store just for that? So what are my options? Luckily, there are a few.

Let’s do this

First, you’ll want to clean out your filters and fans. Fans typically get gross faster than anything else. Good news: they’re also the easiest to clean. This all depends on the make/model of your computer case and how it’s built, but most filters can be popped out or slid out for easy cleaning. I usually just run my filters through some water in the sink. I’ve done this for years and it’s never hurt anything. Just be sure that your air filters are completely dry before you stick them back into your computer case.

Photo courtesy of Nick Ares on Flickr

Now is when it starts getting tricky. If you don’t clean your fans and filters often, or at all… you may have dust that makes its way deep into your machine and starts to cover all your components. You know… the ones you can’t clean with water. There are a few approaches you can take.

Method 1

First, if you have some plastic drinking straws lying around, you can grab one of them and just blow through it to clean out the particularly dirty parts of your machine. This is a totally viable option, and can work, but it does take a considerable amount of time, and you have to be careful not to breathe in all the dust you stir up into the air.

If you don’t have any straws at your disposal, you could do this just by blowing with your mouth. It’s not as effective as a straw, and you may find it difficult to reach tighter areas inside the case.

Method 2

Another method, arguably more effective than both the mouth and the straw methods, would be to use a bicycle tire pump, or a sports ball pump. Most of these pumps come with a general purpose plastic tip that can be used to blow concentrated streams of air into tight places. One, technical note, this does require exact positioning of your pump and your computer case. With one foot to keep the pump on the floor and one hand to push the plunger, that only leaves you one hand to direct the air stream.

Photo courtesy of Your Best Digs on Flickr

Once you blow out all your components, your machine should be running much cooler. That’s all the computer cleaning methods I have at the moment; if I missed anything, or if you found this post helpful, drop a comment below!