How To Clean PC Case Fans?


Everyone is well aware that fans inside the CPU run to prevent the unit from overheating.

Cleaning your CPU thoroughly? You may come across dusty case fans you have to clean next. Cleaning case fans is the easiest part of cleaning your PC as it doesn’t contain any delicate parts like the other components like PCIe slots, PCIe cards, etc.

Deep cleaning your PC involves cleaning PC case fans as well. Here are easy steps to clean your PC fans.

Step 1: Turn power off

Before touching your CPU, make sure everything is powered off, the computer is shut down and unplugged from the power source before you start undoing the CPU.

Step 2: Unbolt the computer case

Once it is ensured that the PC is not connected to any power source, open the computer case. Unbolt the bolts wherever necessary and do it with utmost ease.

Step 3: Use compressed air cans

Buy a compressed air can to clean the dust over the sides of the CPU. It is easily available online and in hardware stores.

A compressed air (source: amazon.com)

Alternatively, you can also use a rubber air blower that also works on blowing the dust from the internal parts of the CPU. However, make sure the dust is blown so that it just gets accumulated on other parts of the CPU. By blow-drying, you should keep it away from the motherboard, expansion card, memory, and processor.

It is feasible to use a cotton swab to clean the dust for minute spaces.

Step 4: Remove the case fans

You can either remove the case fans to clean them or clean them while they are attached. It depends on the amount of dust accumulated. If you are not detaching them from the CPU, you should first carefully use the compressed air cans/rubber air blower to blow off the dust on the blades.

After that, use dry cotton swabs to clean the remaining particles on the fans’ blades.

If you look to detach it before cleaning, it is very easy. Disconnect it from the motherboard or power supply by pulling out the three-pin connector it is used to stay connected to the motherboard.

Some PC case fans are attached with screws. Others may have flaps or clips that need to be pushed in to dislocate them. Before unscrewing them, hold the fan in your hand to prevent it from following on the case.

Once it is unattached, you can clean it thoroughly using compressed air cans or a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Combine both of these options to clean them.

Once they are cleaned completely, let them dry before attaching them back to the CPU case.

Step 5: Putting the case fan back

When putting the case fan back on the CPU, the blades of the fan should be directed in the right direction. Use the case fan diagram to ensure which way the air is pushed so that the dust is not directed back into the CPU.

How To Clean Your Computer From Dust Without Compressed Air With An Old Toothbrush. Watching this video

Q&A

Can you wash PC case fans?

You can rinse them just fine if you dry them out with an air compressor, same with almost any [modern] electronic device. But don’t actually wash it, like with soap. That’s more trouble than it’s worth. But really, the best option would be to just wipe down the blades with a wet rag.

How do I clean the dust out of my computer fans?

After disconnecting the fan from the computer, hold the fins of the fan in place using your fingers. Then, either blow the dust away using compressed air, suck up the dust with an electronic vacuum, or wipe away the dust with a damp cloth.

How do I clean my computer fan without opening it?

How do I clean my computer fan without opening it?

  1. Shut off the laptop.
  2. You may remove the bottom panel.
  3. Hold the Fan in Place.
  4. Clean the Fan with a Cloth.
  5. Clean the Vents.
  6. Gently Blow into the Fan.

Can I clean the case fans with water?

I would not recommend soaking the fan in any liquid. Water can short out contacts, cause rust/corrosion, and mess with bearings. Alcohol is flammable and could mess with any bearing lubricant. Use canned air or a vacuum to remove a great majority of the dust.

How often should you clean PC fans?

Heat is your computer’s worst enemy. Over time, dust buildup inside your computer could undermine its cooling efficiency, resulting in shorter life spans for your computer’s components. To help keep your computer running cool, clean the inside of your computer every 6 to 12 months.

Can you vacuum a PC fan?

Don’t use a vacuum cleaner. A vacuum can create static electricity that can damage computer components. A vacuum can also create enough suction to make your fans spin hard enough to damage them. Don’t use a feather duster or rag, either.

Can I use a hair dryer to clean my PC?

No, just no. Don’t do that. Go get some compressed air like a civilized person. Every other possible thing aside, the broad expanse of air that comes out of a hair dryer compared to a can of compressed air is just going to move stuff around a bit more than a fan would.

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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