How to Clean a CPU Fan – Simple Steps

How to Clean a CPU Fan

Cleaning a CPU fan requires the use of the right techniques and products. Whether you are cleaning a CPU fan, a case fan, or a power supply fan, you need to be aware of the fact that regular cleaning is a must to make sure that your computer functions optimally.

If you aren’t too careful, your CPU fan can get clogged up with dust and disrupt your entire operation and causing you a lot of inconvenience and unexpected expenses, too. If you are a hardcore gamer and have invested decent money after carefully reviewing CPU hierarchies available on the planet, you would know what we mean!

With our help, you’ll get CPU fan cleaning right the first time.

It may seem like a chore, but with our simple step-by-step guide, cleaning your CPU fan will be an absolute breeze!

But before you start with this activity, remember to follow these precautionary measures, so you don’t end up damaging your computer and avoid accidents, too.

  • Before opening the CPU, be sure to turn off the computer to avoid getting electrocuted. It pays to know about electrostatic discharge and its potential dangers.
  • Prepare the cleaning tools and produces to save time. Also, do not forget to wear protective equipment such as gloves or clean your hands to keep the inside of your CPU clean. Choose a cool and dry place at home for CPU fan cleaning.
  • Check and make sure that the fins of the fan are not spinning. If you skip this process, you may end up with injured fingers, or you may cause severe damage to the fan itself and its surrounding PC components.

There are different methods and tools when cleaning the CPU fan. Here are the important things that you should prepare for CPU fan cleaning:

unscrewing computer for clean

Canned compressed air is your go-to cleaning tool

When cleaning the CPU fan and other computer components, it’s always recommended to use canned compressed air. This product is specially made for cleaning small, electronic parts. You can find compressed air at PC supply DIY stores.

Canned air for electronics is static-free, so it reduces the risk of damage to important computer components. It is the safest and most economical cleaning product for CPU fans.

If you are using compressed air in a can, make sure to orient the CPU in a way that the dust and dirt from the fan escape freely and not move to other parts of the CPU case.

A small vacuum cleaner will speed up the removal of dust and dirt.

If you have the extra budget, you may also use a small electronic vacuum or duster. This cleaning tool prevents static generation that helps protect the CPU fan and other computer electronic components.

One thing that you need to know is this: Avoid using a vacuum cleaner that plugs into the wall since they may cause generate electrostatic discharge. If you still want to proceed using an electronic vacuum, make sure to remove the CPU fan from the computer to avoid damage.

Simplified but effective cleaning using a damp cloth

If the computer is around a smoker, it is recommended to use a damp cloth to rub down dirt and dust from the CPU fan. It is best to detach the fan from the CPU and use a damp cloth for a more thorough cleaning.

computer repair

Here are easy-to-follow steps to clean your CPU fan:

Step 1

Now that you have all the tools you need do not forget to unplug the PC before cleaning. Choose a space with plenty of room to clean your CPU fan. First, you need to dust out your computer’s interior space.

Hold the hose near the surface of the CPU but not touching any component. PC components are delicate, so we recommend you refrain from touching the components if you don’t want to end up replacing expensive PC parts.

Remove the back portion of the case and vacuum the inside of the CPU. Do not touch or vacuum small connectors and jumpers to avoid permanent damage. Softly blow the dust in the direction of the hose so that the vacuum can collect most of the dust quickly.

We do not recommend using a vacuum for dusting off computer components. This activity can create static build-up which may fry important electrical components on the motherboard, video card and other important computer components.

Step 2

Slowly spray compressed air to remove the dust that has collected on the CPU fan. It’s also important that you remove dust and dirt that may have collected on the heat sink that is located below the fan.

Use the canned air to get rid of the dust on the grills, too. You may use a pencil or pen to keep the fan blades still while cleaning with compressed air.

DIYers also recommend the use of cotton swabs to clean the fans. Softly and gently, swab against the blades to easily collect dust and dirt. Using small Q-tips may seem tedious but using swabs for cleaning is more precise and accurate in removing stubborn grime and dirt.

While cleaning your CPU fin, you will notice an accumulation of dust at the bottom of the CPU case.

Why not clean this part of your computer, too? You already have the cleaning tools anyway! Use compressed air to remove the dust away from the case.

Finish off by wiping the bottom of the case with a damp cloth.

For a CPU fan that is gunked up with dirt and dust, you may use a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol effectively removes the sticky gunk that has collected on the fan blades.

After cleaning, give the fans a quick spin to make sure that the blades are moving freely. If they don’t spin after cleaning, it’s high time for you to replace the old ones with brand-new, updated CPU fans.

Step 3

If you want to clean your CPU fan less or if you simply want to function optimally, transfer your PC setup to a cooler spot in your room. Proper placement and positioning will also improve the overall performance of your computer. Bear in mind that a fan that always suffers from overheating issues is more likely to collect dust, dirt, and other particles.

Step 4

After cleaning the fan, use a vacuum cleaner to remove debris from other computer accessories such as the mouse, cable wires, keyboard, and speakers. You may also use compressed air or a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt from these PC accessories.

Step 5

Before reassembling your CPU, inspect the fan and its surrounding components after the initial cleaning. You can use a dry cloth or a cotton swab to remove traces of dirt and dust. Make sure all parts of the inside CPU are thoroughly cleaned before closing it again.

These easy-to-follow cleaning steps will make your CPU look and perform like new! A clean computer system inspires to increase the productivity of its users. Do not forget to keep an eye on your CPU usage, clean the CPU fan and other electronic components every 3 to 6 months to ensure optimum performance from your computer.

If you liked this tutorial, you might also want to check out our Graphics card cleaning tutorial.

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