[SOLVED] Can I clean my pc with Isopropyl alchohol?

Nonkii

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Jul 27, 2019
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Hello! My pc has been pretty dusty for over 2 weeks now. I've been pretty busy and I haven't gotten time to clean it. Today I check what components are really dusty and it was mostly my fans. I know that I could just clean it with canned air but it has some dust that it just seems impossible to take off with canned air. What should I use? Is isopropyl alcohol a good option?
 

Karadjgne

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Electronic Contact cleaner like CRC brand is pure isopropyl alcohol in a spray can, and can be sprayed directly into a cpu socket if so desired (actually recommended for cleaning up paste stupidity), so is absolutely safe to clean Anything inside a pc.

Just make sure to not only unplug the psu, but push the power button after to help drain any residual power. Most times you'll hear an audible 'click' from the psu and all the various lights/leds will shut down.

The reason for the spray cans is simple. They don't contain enough kinetic energy to manipulate sensitive solder joints. Rags and fingers do, and the chances of bending a transistor or cap and breaking its seal is multiplied exponentially on a motherboard.

If the dirt is that bad, in your opinion or not, breakdown the entire pc, clean as required by rag or spray, let it dry, then rebuild.

Maintaining a decent cleaning schedule means a deep clean by full breakdown may or may not be necessary for a year or more. Much depending on the schedule, thoroughness of the scheduled cleanings, attention to details, environment.
 
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any plain plastic or metallic surface can be cleaned with just a slightly damp cloth.
avoid getting near any circuits, transistors, etc.
for any more stubborn buildups of dust or any type of grime, substituting water with isopropyl alcohol or most surface cleaners will work fine.
 
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Karadjgne

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Ambassador
Electronic Contact cleaner like CRC brand is pure isopropyl alcohol in a spray can, and can be sprayed directly into a cpu socket if so desired (actually recommended for cleaning up paste stupidity), so is absolutely safe to clean Anything inside a pc.

Just make sure to not only unplug the psu, but push the power button after to help drain any residual power. Most times you'll hear an audible 'click' from the psu and all the various lights/leds will shut down.

The reason for the spray cans is simple. They don't contain enough kinetic energy to manipulate sensitive solder joints. Rags and fingers do, and the chances of bending a transistor or cap and breaking its seal is multiplied exponentially on a motherboard.

If the dirt is that bad, in your opinion or not, breakdown the entire pc, clean as required by rag or spray, let it dry, then rebuild.

Maintaining a decent cleaning schedule means a deep clean by full breakdown may or may not be necessary for a year or more. Much depending on the schedule, thoroughness of the scheduled cleanings, attention to details, environment.
 
Reactions: Nonkii

Nonkii

Notable
Jul 27, 2019
608
15
885
0
Electronic Contact cleaner like CRC brand is pure isopropyl alcohol in a spray can, and can be sprayed directly into a cpu socket if so desired (actually recommended for cleaning up paste stupidity), so is absolutely safe to clean Anything inside a pc.

Just make sure to not only unplug the psu, but push the power button after to help drain any residual power. Most times you'll hear an audible 'click' from the psu and all the various lights/leds will shut down.

The reason for the spray cans is simple. They don't contain enough kinetic energy to manipulate sensitive solder joints. Rags and fingers do, and the chances of bending a transistor or cap and breaking its seal is multiplied exponentially on a motherboard.

If the dirt is that bad, in your opinion or not, breakdown the entire pc, clean as required by rag or spray, let it dry, then rebuild.

Maintaining a decent cleaning schedule means a deep clean by full breakdown may or may not be necessary for a year or more. Much depending on the schedule, thoroughness of the scheduled cleanings, attention to details, environment.
Thank you! The dirt is only pretty bad on the fans. The other things can be cleaned with canned air.
 

Karadjgne

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Be careful with cleaning fans, some are built a lot better than others, so try not to get excited and see if you can spin them with canned air or CRC. That's a good way to wear bearings or break a blade (really easy on a gpu)

Also try not to spray directly into the motor housing or soak the area where the housing meets the hub. Most fans use some sort of lubricant and that's the one part of a pc that's not alcohol friendly.

Personally, I'll pull all fans out for easy access then use a ½" artists flat boar brush (real hair, not the nylon kind) on a blade by blade basis, just scrubbing it dry, can do everything with that brush. Then canned air has no issues.
 
Reactions: Nonkii

Nonkii

Notable
Jul 27, 2019
608
15
885
0
Be careful with cleaning fans, some are built a lot better than others, so try not to get excited and see if you can spin them with canned air or CRC. That's a good way to wear bearings or break a blade (really easy on a gpu)

Also try not to spray directly into the motor housing or soak the area where the housing meets the hub. Most fans use some sort of lubricant and that's the one part of a pc that's not alcohol friendly.

Personally, I'll pull all fans out for easy access then use a ½" artists flat boar brush (real hair, not the nylon kind) on a blade by blade basis, just scrubbing it dry, can do everything with that brush. Then canned air has no issues.
I see. Do you also do it for your cpu cooler? Mines seems to be dusty too but I need to buy thermal paste if I want to remove it. Will 50% isopropyl alcohol do the job? That one is the only one I got. It's not a spray but I have some micro fiber cloth and some q tips which I assume it's fine to use.
 
Do you also do it for your cpu cooler? Mines seems to be dusty too
for CPU cooler fins and radiators i've always just used a vacuum attachment and\or compressed air.
if the fins are spaced enough that you can easily fit a q-tip between them it would work, but you'd want to be very certain that you fully removed any lint\fibers left behind.
Will 50% isopropyl alcohol do the job?
your average generic isopropyl alcohol is 70%.
but 50% would be very similar and will work, it just may not evaporate at the exact same speed.
 
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Nonkii

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Jul 27, 2019
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for CPU cooler fins and radiators i've always just used a vacuum attachment and\or compressed air.
if the fins are spaced enough that you can easily fit a q-tip between them it would work, but you'd want to be very certain that you fully removed any lint\fibers left behind.

your average generic isopropyl alcohol is 70%.
but 50% would be very similar and will work, it just may not evaporate at the exact same speed.
Thanks a lot! What do the numbers mean in the alcohols? How fast they evaporate?
 

Karadjgne

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50% means it's 50% isopropyl and 50% mixture of other stuff including distilled water and or other alcohol or ethanol derived compounds. Part of the reason why 90% or better is suggested.

CRC contact cleaner can be found in most automotive stores, generally right on the same shelf as carburetor cleaner.

How to clean a heatsink. Consider what a heatsink is. A giant chunk of aluminium. That's it. Pull off the fan, remove the heatsink, wipe the bottom with a rag and throw it in the sink in hot water with a drop of dish detergent. Shake it back and forth a little, rinse with clean hot water, let dry. That's all there is too it. I've seen ppl throw them in the dishwasher, but I don't recommend that as it discolors the aluminium and the temps dishwashers hit aren't good for the vapor chambers.

You can wash a motherboard in the sink. As long as you are prepared to wait several days for it to dry out fully, and take a blow-dryer to any ports.

Most ppl are scared about cleaning, but with proper precautions, like disassembly, removal of power and using the right tools for the application (only a case could ever use a scrub brush cleaning) etc, cleaning a pc is quite simple and not difficult. Just requires patience and a light touch.
 
Reactions: Nonkii

Nonkii

Notable
Jul 27, 2019
608
15
885
0
50% means it's 50% isopropyl and 50% mixture of other stuff including distilled water and or other alcohol or ethanol derived compounds. Part of the reason why 90% or better is suggested.

CRC contact cleaner can be found in most automotive stores, generally right on the same shelf as carburetor cleaner.

How to clean a heatsink. Consider what a heatsink is. A giant chunk of aluminium. That's it. Pull off the fan, remove the heatsink, wipe the bottom with a rag and throw it in the sink in hot water with a drop of dish detergent. Shake it back and forth a little, rinse with clean hot water, let dry. That's all there is too it. I've seen ppl throw them in the dishwasher, but I don't recommend that as it discolors the aluminium and the temps dishwashers hit aren't good for the vapor chambers.

You can wash a motherboard in the sink. As long as you are prepared to wait several days for it to dry out fully, and take a blow-dryer to any ports.

Most ppl are scared about cleaning, but with proper precautions, like disassembly, removal of power and using the right tools for the application (only a case could ever use a scrub brush cleaning) etc, cleaning a pc is quite simple and not difficult. Just requires patience and a light touch.
Yup! Cleaned it yesterday with 50% alcohol though since that was the only thing I had. It cleaned the dirt perfectly. No idea if I did a mistake by using a 50% alcohol. Anyways, thanks a lot for taking your time!
 

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