Keep It Clean

Cleanliness is said to be next to godliness and here at Asetek we do everything in god mode (read Poseidon meets Quake). While we can engineer the best sealed liquid cooling the world has to offer, the truth is that nothing gives a significant thermal advantage like a clean PC. Dust is the enemy and nothing generates dust more than the average household. Millions of people have carpet, most people don’t vacuum everyday, many people have pets, some people smoke, and every one of these factors and more can increase the amount of dust in your computer.

Dust is comprised of so many little bits and these little airborne bits get sucked in my computer fans all day. Then they are easily trapped in that box thanks to all the components that are in the path of our airflow. The dust sticks to the fan blades, our components, radiator fins and more. Worse than that, it also likes to stick to itself and that creates accumulation. in fact, the more dust there already is the easier it is for more to accumulate. Accumulation increases airflow impedance and decreases thermal performance. if something hot is covered in dust, it is that much harder for the heat to get into the air and move its way out of the system. The dust acts like a nice blanket for your components. The battle against dust is neverending, but there is something that can be done. CLEAN!!!! Then your computer can go from being a dust magnet to a chick magnet. Am I right?! Right? No? Fine.

What you’ll need:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Paper towels
  • Glass cleaner
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • 1 or 2 cans of compress air
  • A vacuum with a hose
  • A crowbar (Because if you can’t clean it. Just smash it.)

Note: Make sure to find the highest % Isopropyl you can find. The higher the percentage, the faster it evaporate, and the higher quality the chemical is. However for this kind of external cleaning, anything over 70% should do.

WARNING: Never, under any circumstances, spray or apply chemicals directly to an electrical component. If you were to do so, you run the risk of damaging that component and others.

And just to be safe…

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way responsible for your stupidity or lack of common sense.

The Outside
That being said, take a few sheets of the paper towels and spray them with the glass cleaner. Go ahead and wipe down the outside and remove all that dust that has settled in or around the crevices of your tower. Make sure you get the top, sides, and bottom of the tower. While you are at it, you can take the paper towels and wipe down your monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This process is just to remove the large amounts of dust all over.

Dusting the Inside
Let’s take a look at the massive dust mites growing inside. Remove the side panel, grab the vacuum and the compressed air. DO NOT start vacuuming your parts up close and all that. Static discharges and the like could occur. What you want to do is hold the vacuum hose outside the case and with the vacuum turned on, start blowing the dust out with the compressed air. You will have to work somewhat quickly and fire in quick bursts as you will start to feel the compressed air start to get cold. As the can of air becomes colder it will become less and less effective. If it gets cold, just wait a few minutes for it to warm up again and it should be back to full blast. I use a vacuum in this manner because it keeps the dust from just flying out into the room to be later sucked back in by the computer or to settle right back in while you are working on it.

Once you are done with the compressed air, you can take out the paper towels and glass cleaner again. Wrap the paper towel around your finger and wipe down the screens and blades of your internal fans. You can also take the cotton swabs and wet them a little with the Isopropyl Alcohol and wipe in between the tight places like the smaller heatsinks around the motherboard and such. It is important that you do not over wet the paper towels or the cotton swabs so as to keep dripping to a minimum.

While you are inside your case, you may want to take a look at your cable management. Clean and effective cable management can greatly increase airflow through the case which results in much less dust accumulation. So examine it and see how you can tuck away more of your cables as discreetly as possible.

Isopropyl Alcohol is used because of its fast evaporation rate and the fact that it does not conduct electricity. It is one the most common chemicals for cleaning electrical equipment. You might also want to wipe off your various components. For this I encourage you to be very careful for a number of reasons. For obvious reasons, you do not want any extra liquid sitting around inside your computer. Also, paper towels tend to shred and leave behind bits. If you run a paper towel across a component without any care whatsoever, all the solder point on that board are going to snag off a little piece of the paper towel. What’s the point in cleaning if you are going to remove dust and replace it with bits of paper towel? So make sure you use a little bit of finesse while going over the components. I have also been informed of a decently inexpensive paper towel by Scott called Shop Towels that break apart less easily than your typical paper towel.

This can all take less than an hour and will improve the health and performance of your PC tremendously. Until next time!

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