Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl) - Alcohol is the only solvent that I would recommend since others might not work well with the plastic that makes up your computer.
Isopropyl Alcohol is a high quality rubbing alcohol that can be found in most drug stores and is excellent for cleaning off thermal compounds.
Water - To help to clean the exterior of your computer.
Lint-free cotton swabs (tips) - Used to clean areas of your computer that are hard-to-reach.
Let's start Your Computer Cleaning
Before starting to clean your computer you should turn off and unplug it and allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Before handling any component or touching anything inside your computer, wear an anti-static wrist strap during cleaning to protect your delicate computer components from static electricity damage. Click here to view my Static Electricity Guide and here to view some antistatic products.
and here to view
Your computer and its peripherals are very sensitive devices and a small amount of soapy water along with a damp cloth (not wet!) might be all you will need to clean their exterior surfaces. The water and damp cloth should be used to clean exterior surfaces only...it should never be used to clean your internal computer parts.
During computer cleaning, do not spray liquid directly on the item; instead, spray the liquid on a moistened, soft, lint-free cloth and cotton tip swabs.
When using compressed air, make sure that the can is held upright and use short bursts to prevent freezing.
Use alcohol and a lint-free cotton swab to clean the inside of some of your components.
During computer cleaning, do not allow alcohol to get on lubricated moving parts such as the gears and the drive motors in floppy drives, CD ROMS, DVD ROMS, etc. The alcohol will remove the lubrication from the moving parts.
Cleaning Your Computer Case:
Clean your computer case regularly. Moisten the cloth (with a diluton of alcohol and water) and thoroughly wipe the case. Ensure that all air holes and vents are free of particles by wiping these areas with the cloth.
Using compressed air and your vacuum cleaner, blow out and suck out any accumulated dust in these air holes and vents.
You need to remove any accumulated dust from your case fan to improve its performance and to keep your system cool.
Never use abrasive or solvent cleaners.
Computer Cleaning extends the life of your computer
Cleaning Inside Your Computer:
Ultra Antistatic Wrist Strap
Everyone has felt the unpleasant zap of static electricity when walking across a carpet then touching a metal object. You jerk your hand away in reaction to the unexpected jolt, but don’t give it much thought. However, if you’re working on a PC, static electricity can be far more dangerous than a little shock. It can actually kill your computer! Click here to view this antistatic wrist strap.
If you install a component while static electricity is coursing through your fingertips directly into your PC, even a little zap that you can’t even feel, can put a fatal charge into your computer.
Not to worry! Ultra, the world’s leader in computer accessories has created the ultimate antidote to deadly static electricity. The dandy little anti-static wrist strap stops static electricity dead in its tracks before it can kill your computer! Ultra’s extra-long, six-foot anti-static wrist strap allows you to move freely. And it’s so comfortable you’ll barely notice you’re wearing it. One size fits all! Made of washable, scientifically engineered continuous conductive fiber. The Ultra Anti-Static Wrist Strap – your best antidote to deadly static electricity!
Remember to wear an anti-static wrist strap or touch the metal chassis of the computer to decrease the risk of static electricity.
Open your computer case and, using your vacuum cleaner and a can of compressed air, spray and suck the dust away from your components such as fan blades, circuit boards, heat sink and chips. Try to spray and vacuum into every area that you can see.
Examine all cables to ensure that they are in good condition.
The fans inside your computer system help to prevent overheating by sucking in cool air and exhausting warm air.
You should ensure that you clean the power supply fan, CPU fan, the case cooling fans and other component fans. To get maximum performance from these fans, you should try to minimize dust accumulation from them by cleaning out the dust as often as required.
While using your vacuum cleaner, watch out for items that could be accidentally sucked up into it.
You should ensure that when you are using the compressed air, that you are blowing the dust completely out of your system (going in one direction) and not around in your case. Dust that is not easily removed should be cleaned with a soft and dry cloth.
Computer Cleaning Tips:
Put a preventative scheduled maintenance plan in place....Clean it before it is broken.
Keep your computer off the floor to avoid possible damage and dust build-up thereby lessening your computer cleaning.
Try to keep your computer away from dust, dirt, pet air,etc.
You should not smoke, eat or drink at your computer.
Your computer must be kept away from direct sunlight.
Your computer should be kept in a cool, dry place.
Allow air to circulate easily around your system and its peripherals by leaving space (ventilation) behind and above your computer.
If your computer is in an enclosed cabinet, you should cut a hole in the back of the cabinet where your cooling fan is located.
Ensure that there is good circulation of air behind the back of your system.
Keep the area where your computer is located clean and free from as much dust as possible. Clean the location frequently to prevent an accumulation of dust around your system.
Before starting your computer cleaning, for proper grounding, you should clip the anti-static wrist strap along an unpainted metal edge of your computer case. This will ground you to the case and minimize the possibility of static electricity damage to your components.