How to clean the PCIe slot?

PCIe slots are part of the motherboard that can accumulate dust over time. You can clean them without much hassle. Here is a guide to the same.

What is a PCIe slot?

PCIe slots are slots found on the motherboard. These slots connect the PC’s peripheral components like graphics cards, RAID cards, SSDs, Wi-Fi cards etc.

They come in varied sizes and are recognized as PCIe x 1, PCIe x 4, PCIe x 8, and PCIe x 16. The PCIe x 16 can accommodate different cards in the same slot. You can use several RAID cards and video cards all in one PCIe slot. You can also add a graphic to PCIe x 16 slots.

However, even though the motherboard is closed, it is subject to dust. If a PCIe slot is empty, it can gather dust inside its lanes. This could hamper the performance of the cards that are put into them.

How do you clean a PCIe slot?

One can clean the PCIe slot very easily. Here are some of the things you will need,

  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Isopropyl alcohol (97% concentrated)
  • Silicon blower
  • Cotton swabs
  • Eraser

Cleaning a PCIe slot is not too complicated. Here is how you can clean it:

Step 1: Remove the power

Before proceeding forward, make sure everything is off the power. Before you go and open the CPU and access the motherboard, nothing should be plugged on.

Step 2: Open the CPU

Open the CPU and place it on a flat surface. Now, find the PCIe slots and remove the cards put on them.

Step 3: Take a toothbrush

Now, use an old toothbrush and dab some isopropyl alcohol over it. This concentrated alcohol can be found in grocery or medical shops.

Use the toothbrush gently to clean the insides of the PCIe slot. Move it over the slot repeatedly until you find the dust and other particles are veered off.

You can also clean the dust by blowing off the air through your mouth. However, this act should be avoided if there is too much dust as the dust can go inside your mouth when blowing.

Step 4: Use a silicon blower

To ensure that everything is cleaned well, you can use a silicon blower and blow it over the PCIe slots. This will ensure that the slots are thoroughly cleaned.

Furthermore, before you insert the cards into the PCIe slots back, make sure the golden fingers of the cards are also cleaned.

To clean them, you can use a soft rubber and soft brush.

First, use the soft brush to brush off the dust accumulated over the golden fingers. Use a brush in the downward direction to remove the dust.

Next, take a soft rubber (yes, an eraser) to clean the golden fingers from both sides. Further, you can also use cotton swabs and alcohol to clean the golden fingers.

Once you find them back to their original color without no dust, you can now insert them into the PCIe slots.

Reassemble the motherboard and CPU.


How do I clean my PCIe x16 slot?

  • Step 1: Power off the host PC and remove the PCI/ISA/PEX card from PCI/ISA/PCI Express slot.
  • Step 2: Prepare the following tools: soft brush, soft rubber, and silicone blower.
  • Step 3: Use a soft brush to clean the dust on the PCI/ISA/PEX board.

How do you clean PCIe pins?

If you can’t physically see anything on the pins then leave them alone, if you do see anything then use compressed gas to blast anything loose off the pins, failing that use a cotton earbud covered (but not dripping) with rubbing alcohol. Use a paper towel to LIGHTLY clean any excess liquid away.

Is my PCIe slot damaged?

What is this? Take one card and insert it into a PCIe slot. If the card does not work, then unplug it and plug in a second PCIe card into the same slot. If the problem persists and if the second PCIe card ALSO does not work, then there are high chances that the fault lies with the PCIe slot.

Can I clean my GPU with alcohol?

When cleaning the graphics card, compressed air in a can or an air compressor will be your primary cleaning tool. If there is caked-on dust and dirt, you can use a Q-tip with isopropyl alcohol to rub them away.

Does dust affect GPU performance?

The build-up of dust can negatively impact your computer’s performance in 2 main ways: it causes the components of your computer to retain heat and it makes it more difficult for the internal fans to dissipate heat from the system, thereby decreasing the efficiency of the entire system.

How do I clean my GPU interface?

How to CORRECTLY Deep-Clean a Graphics Card

How do I open PCI Express slot?

Push up on the back metal to loosen the back of the card. On the front of the PCI Express slot, there’s usually a tab holds the front of the card in place. Gently press this tab and hold it in place while you are removing the card. Grab the top edge of the expansion card and pull up.

Can you replace a PCI Express slot?

It’s not worth the risk to fix a PCIe slot. If it’s the primary slot, simply use the other PCIe x16 slot. The motherboard should work fine as long as the pins don’t touch each other. You can also get the slot replaced by an expert or buy a new motherboard, depending on the cost.

How do you reseat a PCIe?

Remove and Replace the PCIe Graphics Card | HP

How do you reset a PCI Express slot?

Remove the device and rescan the PCIe bus

Removing the PCIe device via the remove function in its directory and reloading it via the PCIe bus’ rescan function causes the kernel to power-cycle the PCIe device without rebooting your computer.

Can I use 70 isopropyl alcohol to clean GPU?

The 90% isopropyl alcohol is better suited because of its evaporation qualities. That said, if you have to use the 70% one, it will do the job, just be extra cautious to shake of any excess liquid, and allow to dry a full day, or lightly dry it with a hair dryer. You must log in or register to reply here.

How can I clean my graphics card without compressed air?

I use toothpicks and cotton swabs/q-tips dipped in rubbing alcohol. Toothpick for loosening and swabs for dust removal.

How often should I clean my GPU?

How often should you clean your GPU and CPU? In total, how often you should clean your GPU and CPU depends on their dirtiness, which can be noticed with bigger temperatures. One smaller cleaning should be pretty much every 6 months. Bigger cleaning, with thermal paste replacing should be done at least once every year.

Should you clean GPU fans?

If you notice a dense layer of dust build-up at the bottom of your PC’s interior, it’s a sign to make cleaning a ritual. Frequent cleaning of your device, especially the integral components such as the GPU fans, will not only increase its longevity but majorly benefit you in the long run.

Why is my GPU not detected?

Sometimes the ‘Graphics card not detected’ error will occur upon the installation of new drivers if something goes wrong. This could be a faulty driver or the new drivers’ incompatibility with another component inside the PC; the options are too numerous to list.

Why is my GPU not working?

There can be a lot of reasons for this problem. The problem might be because of the faulty drivers or incorrect BIOS settings or hardware issues or GPU slot issues. The problem can also be caused by a faulty graphics card as well. Another reason for this problem can be the power supply issue.

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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