GuidesHow To Clean Your PC Without Compressed Air?

How To Clean Your PC Without Compressed Air?

Learn how to clean your PC by using cotton swabs, alcohol, and more.

After using your PC for some time, you might see it degrading in performance a little bit. Maybe the temperature gets too high or there’s more noise coming out of the PC. Well, it might be that your PC components have gathered dust and need some cleaning. Cleaning your PC once in a while helps keep the temperatures under control and improves airflow. Using compressed air cans is the most common method of cleaning your PC. But it is expensive and lasts for just one time. Therefore, you need to learn how to clean your PC without compressed air. 

Key Takeaways

  • It is important for you to clean your PC once a month to keep things working smoothly.
  • You can clean your PC without compressed air by using tools such as brushes, cloths, cotton swabs, vacuum cleaners, and more.
  • You must be extremely careful while cleaning individual components, as you can damage them otherwise. 

Also Read: How Much Does it Cost To Build A PC?

Tools Needed To Clean A PC

You can use a few alternatives to clean your PC without compressed air. In this section, we’ll explore some of those alternatives and tools you would require to clean your PC. Alternatively, you can use all of these together to clean your PC, as you can find these items anywhere.  


A standard method of cleaning the fins of a CPU cooler is using brushes. The bristles of these brushes easily slip into the fins of the CPU cooler and clean off all the dust. You can also use them for cleaning other parts where the cloth is ineffective. You can either use a toothbrush or a paintbrush to clean your PC.   

Piece Of Cloth

This one is self-explanatory. You will require a cloth to wipe out the dust for a large and smooth surface, such as the PC casing. It will also come in handy when cleaning other parts of the PC. 

Thermal Paste

Thermal paste is necessary to keep your CPU’s temperature under control. Without this, the CPU chip will overheat and may get damaged. This is why it is recommended that you replace the thermal paste on your CPU when cleaning, as it gets dry after prolonged use.  

Alcohol And Cotton 

Relating to the thermal paste, you will need alcohol and cotton to clean off the thermal paste from your CPU chip and the CPU cooler. Thermal paste can’t be removed entirely without alcohol, so you should keep it in hand. 

Also Read: How To Update Drivers?

Vacuum Cleaner

The vacuum cleaner is a popular alternative to compressed air, which you can use to blow off the dust from your PC. Although there have been reports of users saying their PC parts malfunctioned due to the static charge of vacuum cleaners, most people have also used this method for years. Make sure there’s no static buildup in your vacuum cleaner, or else your PC parts could seriously get damaged.  

Dust Blower

Another alternative when you run out of compressed air or if you don’t have a vacuum cleaner is to use a dust blower. However, most people don’t usually have this at home, so we’re back to square one. But if it’s available, the dust blower is great for cleaning your PC and getting rid of dirt because of its high air pressure.  

Electric Blower 

Electric blowers are expensive but also great alternatives to compressed air. You will face no static electricity issues because of how they’re built. You can also use a hair dryer to clean your PC, but these produce scorching air and can cause nasty results. So, try to keep the air as cool as possible and turn off the hair dryer before it gets too hot. 

How To Clean Your PC Without Compressed Air

White PC Build
One should avoid White PC Build that is completely open. Picture: Tech4Gamers.

Power Off Your PC 

You don’t want to start deep cleaning your PC with it running. The first step in cleaning your PC is to turn it off completely. Unplug all the cables from the switches and also unplug the cable of the power supply.

Next, you should place your PC away from your workspace because the blown-off air from your PC will carry the dust to your desk, chair, etc. If you still have to clean your PC in your workspace, then clean it up afterward because there will be a lot of dust transferred from your PC.  

Clean The Casing 

The next step in cleaning your computer is to clean the PC casing or PC case. To begin with, use a screwdriver to remove all the screws in your PC case’s left side panel so it can come off quickly. This depends on your case, as some don’t use screws at all. Clean the PC case using a piece of cloth and the inside and outside panels. You will also need to clean the tempered glass if your PC has a side panel with it. 

tempered glass
Tempered glass – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
You will also need to remove any mesh and grids with dust on them. You can shake the dust off by hitting it against a hard surface and use a toothbrush to clean these grids but don’t do it too roughly, or else they could get a bit tilted or damaged.

Also Read: How To Power Cycle Your Internet Router?

Once you’ve cleaned the panel, place it aside. Now wipe out the dust from inside your PC case using a cloth. Use a brush or cotton for places you can’t reach with a piece of cloth. You don’t need to take out your PC components to do this. 

Clean The Parts 

Once you’re done cleaning the PC casing, the next step is to clean all the individual parts of the PC. The compressed air comes in handy as it blows off all the dust leaving a clean PC behind. But you can use a blower or a vacuum cleaner to do the same. Cleaning all the components inside the PC is divided into five parts. This isn’t a step-by-step process; you can clean each piece in any order you want.  


When deep cleaning your PC, you should remove and clean the CPU cooler separately. Cleaning the CPU cooler is crucial so it can keep your CPU cool.

The CPU cooler wouldn’t perform as well as it should with gathered dust because the dust particles would block the airflow. If you have a stock CPU cooler, remove it by rotating and pulling out the support pegs and unscrewing any remaining support using the screwdriver. 

Once you have the CPU cooler removed from the case, it’s time to clean it. Use a blower or vacuum cleaner to clean the fins of the cooler’s heatsink. This will remove some dirt, but a lot of it will remain. You can use a toothbrush to remove any residue. You can also do the same to clean the fan of the cooler.    

For now, the only cleaning the actual CPU requires is thermal paste removal. Clean the dried-out thermal paste off the CPU using alcohol wipes and cotton.

Before applying the new thermal paste, wait for the alcohol to dry because any moisture can damage your PC completely. Also, it is recommended to use 99% pure IPA alcohol as it generally works better than 70% IPA.  

You can now install the CPU cooler on top of the CPU itself. This should improve your CPU temperatures a lot.  

Graphics Card

Graphics Card
Disassemble your Graphics Card like this, and clean it. Picture: Tech4Gamers.

To clean the graphics card, remove the power cable which connects it to the power supply and take out the screws that are keeping it in place. Now press down on the clip holding it up, and you should hear a clicking sound. Gently pull the graphics card out of the PCIe slot. 

Once you remove the graphics card, wipe out the dust of the funs using a cloth and alcohol. Next, use a blower or vacuum cleaner if you don’t have compressed air to blow away the dust stuck in the graphics card fans.

It is crucial that you keep the fans held down so they don’t move from the air pressure. If they move too fast, their coil could have a problem, or they might stop functioning entirely. With that out of the way, you’re done with cleaning your graphics card.  

You can put the graphics card back in now or clean other components before putting it back in. Just use the steps it took to take it out of the motherboard.      

Also Read: How To Change CyberpowerPC Keyboard Color

Power Supply 

Technically, you can clean your PC’s power supply without taking it out of the case. But that wouldn’t be thorough enough to clean out all the dust. First, take out the power supply from your PC’s cables attached to it. Remove the connectors which are keeping it in place carefully.

Once they’re taken out, pull the power supply carefully out of its hatchet and clean it with alcohol wipes. To clean the fan of the power supply, use a toothbrush. You can also use any blower but keep the fans from moving. In the same way, you can plug the power supply back in after you’re cleaned it thoroughly.   


The last step in cleaning your PC is to clean the motherboard. Due to it being placed vertically, the motherboard doesn’t gather much dust. But you can use a blower to clean out any dust that might have gathered on the motherboard.

Motherboard – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
After that, you can also clean the RAM using a cloth and the heatsink, which might have supposed a bit of dust. Storage devices don’t need cleaning, but If you want, you can wipe any accumulated dust off of them using a piece of cloth.  

And with that done, you can reassemble your PC and all the components you might’ve taken out. This ends the cleaning process, and you can finally say that your PC is clean and dust-free.   

How Frequently Should You Clean Your PC? 

Now that you know how to clean your PC without compressed air, it is important that you clean it often. PC components gather a lot of dust but don’t need thorough cleaning too often. A general rule of thumb is to clean your PC if you notice the temperatures being very high compared to when you first built your PC.

Clean it once every three months if you want to keep it tidy. Expert advice is to clean it once every six months. Some go as far as never cleaning their PC after building it, but that’s not good advice. Thorough cleaning could improve your PC temperatures and keep it more relaxed as if it was new.  

Can You Damage Your PC If You Clean It Without Compressed Air?

You can damage your PC if you attempt to clean it without compressed air, but it depends on how you go about it. Compressed air is typically the best tool for cleaning a PC. Compressed air can reach into small spaces and blow away dust and debris clogging up your computer’s fans or heatsinks. 

If your PC components become clogged, they can’t function as efficiently, and your computer may overheat. Your CPU, GPU, or other components may eventually suffer harm.

PC Build
A PC Build With All Components – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
You may be tempted to use other methods to clean your PC, such as a vacuum or a brush. While these tools can be effective for removing surface-level dust, they also have the potential to cause damage if not used properly. For example, if you use a vacuum to clean your PC, you risk generating static electricity, which can damage sensitive components like your motherboard or RAM. Similarly, a too-stiff brush could scratch your details or dislodge small parts.

Another potential issue with cleaning your PC by not using compressed air is that you may need to be able to reach all the nooks and crannies where dust and debris can accumulate. For example, some computer cases have small crevices or tight spaces that can be difficult to clean with a brush or other tool. This could result in a buildup of dust and debris that could eventually cause your components to overheat and fail.

Pros And Cons Of Cleaning PC Without Compressed Air

While compressed air is a popular choice for cleaning PCs, it is not the only option. The pros and cons are covered in this section.


  • Cost-Effective: It can be a cost-effective alternative. You don’t have to spend money on a can of compressed air, which can add up over time, especially if you clean your PC frequently.
  • Eco-Friendly: Compressed air cans are not environmentally friendly. They contain harmful chemicals and gases that can harm the ozone layer. Cleaning your PC without using compressed air can benefit the environment.
  • Better Results: Compressed air may blow dust and debris around your PC, making it harder to clean. When you manually clean your PC, you can see the results of your work right away.

Also Read: How To Shut Down PC With A Keyboard 


  • Time-Consuming: The process can be time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of nooks and crannies to clean. You may have to spend more time cleaning each component to ensure that all the dust and debris are removed.
  • Risk of Damage: When you clean your PC manually, there is a risk of damaging the delicate components inside. Using the wrong cleaning tool or technique can cause scratches, static damage, or other damage that can affect your PC’s performance.
  • Limited Reach: Hard-to-reach places can be reached by compressed air. If you do not have the right tools or techniques, you may be unable to clean some components properly.
  • Incomplete Cleaning: By not using compressed air, you may be unable to remove all the dust and debris. Some components may require compressed air to remove stubborn dust and debris that are hard to reach manually.

Alternatives To Compressed Air

Now that you have learned about how to clean your PC without compressed air, there are a few alternatives you can opt for as well. Blowing air into your system to clean it isn’t usually a bad idea. If you decide to not use compressed air in your cleaning process, you can still use some alternatives in your cleaning process. 

We’ll help you in making the decision on which alternative is best for you in the discussion below:

Vacuum Cleaners


Here are the advantages of using a vacuum cleaner instead of compressed air in your PC cleaning process:

  • You probably have a vacuum cleaner in your home, so there isn’t any added cost.
  • Unlike compressed air, you don’t need a new vacuum cleaner every other time you clean your PC.
  • The sucking action of a vacuum cleaner is of much higher power than the air coming out of a can, so you might find that it cleans your PC better.


Here we list the disadvantages of using a vacuum cleaner instead of a can of compressed air in your system cleaning.

  • Static electricity can easily cause a shortage in your PC’s circuitry if not dealt with properly. 
  • The head of your vacuum cleaner is not as dainty as a can of air, so you might find it doesn’t do the best job while dealing with nooks and crannies.
  • Sucking the air out of PCs might cause your fans to act as generators in older PCs, causing a surplus of voltage in your system if it is on, which can lead to catastrophic failure.

Dust And Electric Blower


Here are the advantages of using a blower in your PC cleaning process.

  • The blowing action of the blower is sure to make your PC squeaky clean by the time you’re done with your cleaning.
  • Blowers are reusable whenever you wish to dust off your computer.
  • They are not as nimble again, but the sheer power allows you to be much less precise with where you’re aiming your blower.
  • They are designed to eliminate static electricity from sitting on top of them.


Here are the disadvantages of using blowers in your system.

  • Most people don’t have a blower lying around.
  • They take up a lot of space for a piece of equipment used very rarely.
  • They can sometimes blow out very hot air that can be damaging to your components.

Silicon Hand Blowers


Here are the pros of silicon hand blowers in while cleaning your PC.

  • These are the most similar to compressed air, so you don’t have to be worried about missing out on anything.
  • They are reusable, you can buy one and use it for the rest of your life.
  • They are very easy to use, and you don’t have to be worried about high-speed winds tearing apart your system.
  • These blowers are as nimble as compressed air cans, allowing you to reach into hard to get to spots for the most thorough cleaning.


  •  Very low wind speeds might cause you to be blowing in the same spot for longer than you want.


In this article, we covered the question of how to clean a PC without compressed air and talked about alternatives that can be used when cleaning your PC. Cleaning a PC is a long and thorough process, so you shouldn’t rush it. A thoroughly cleaned PC will improve your temperatures and reduce noise.  


Can you clean your PC without compressed air?

Yes, you can clean your PC without compressed air by using tools such as brushes, cotton swabs, and more.

Can you damage the PC by cleaning it without compressed air?

If you’re not careful enough with the parts, you will damage the components while cleaning them.

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Abde Manaf
Abde Manaf
Abdemanaf has been a creative writer since 2011. He first dwelled in the tech world in early 2015 and has since compared many product offerings by different companies. Abdemanaf started working for Tech4Gamers in February 2022 as a blog and comparison writer.


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