Question How best to clean motherboard and PC ?

nawabkhan_u

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Sep 24, 2014
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Can anyone help me to study the basics of PC cleaning?
I know there are different ways to clean pc. Using vaccum cleaner, blower, compressed air, isopropyl alcohol etc.
I have some questions.
Please answer me.

1. Can i use compressed air or iso propyl alcohol to clean motherboard?
Does moisture caused by iso propyl alcohol and compressed air damages motherboard components like mosfet, capacitors etc?

2. how to clean the ram and ram slots?
Ram contacts can clean by eraser.
How to clean the ram parts above contact?

3. can I use compressed air or isopropyl alcohol to clean the inside of ram slots?

4. should I open power supply to clean it?
 

nawabkhan_u

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Sep 24, 2014
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Isopropyl alcohol can be used for cleaning components, but for something like a motherboard it's probably best reserved to be used as a last resort, if something is too dirty to be cleaned by other methods. Isopropyl alcohol (ideally in the 90%+ range) evaporates quickly and typically shouldn't cause damage, and a motherboard could technically be submersed in a vat of it in the event of something being spilled on it, but you want to make sure things are completely dry and moisture isn't trapped under components on the board before running power through them. Usually alcohol is just used for things like cleaning thermal compound off of CPU heat spreaders though, and dousing things in it can potentially carry some risk of damage.

Compressed air can be used to clean dust off of components, though you want to make sure the can is held upright and not tilted too much to avoid spraying liquid onto things.

Using a soft brush is probably a safer option for just removing dust though. RAM contacts are typically not going to require cleaning. And generally a power supply should not be opened unless you know what you are doing, as capacitors inside can potentially contain a dangerous charge even after being powered down for some time (though I think that's more a problem for some cheap and/or defective units, as most modern PSUs should drain those fairly quickly once unplugged). For PSUs, it's probably better to just clean them with air from the outside. And of course, you should make sure whatever you are cleaning is powered down.

If one is refurbishing components for resale or cleaning up from a spill or something, more thorough methods might be desired, but you probably don't need to get too carried away if you are just performing regular maintenance on your system. There's more chance of damaging something the more you poke at things. : P
 

Wolfshadw

Titan
Moderator
In my 20+ years of system building and cleaning, the only thing I've used Isopropyl alcohol on was the heatsink of the CPU cooler and the CPU, itself. Everything else I could clean quite easily with a can of compressed air and, in my smoking days, where the dust seemed to stick a bit more, I'd use a soft-bristled toothbrush to loosen it and then blow it away with compressed air.

-Wolf sends
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
Ambassador
I agree with all the advice above. Just a couple additions.

Isopropyl alcohol will NOT add water to your system. Its advantage is that is does evaporate easily ("dry"). Further, even if there is a SMALL amount of water already on the system, the alcohol will mix with it and help to remove it mechanically as you wipe the board with a swab. What little water / alcohol mixture remains will all evaporate together, thus removing any prior small water deposits.

Many people have advised NOT to use a vacuum cleaner for computers. Sometimes the very fast air flow velocity this creates can cause a build-up of electrostatic charge on the board, and any subsequent contact to Ground will cause a significant current flow that might damage a solid-state electronic component. This can happen especially if the vacuum hose you are using touches the board. That is why they recommend a can of compressed air, which normally will not create a sustained high-velocity air flow to create the static charge.

If you use blasts of air for cleaning, no mater the source, do NOT allow them to make your FANS spin fast. In some cases that can run them so fast for too long that the bearings are damaged. Simply hold the fan blades still while blowing on them.
 

lga1156_ftw

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Feb 25, 2020
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+1 for isoprophyl alcohol, i used to have this stuff by the litres 98%+. When diagnosing dead motherboards i used to literally pour it on to see shorted components , where it evaporated more quickly that was the shorted component. also used to submerge motherboards into this and clean with toothbrush if there was liquid stains under chips
 

nawabkhan_u

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Sep 24, 2014
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Can I use isopropyl alcohol and compressed air to clean motherboard,ram,and ram slots?
In some said that 99 % alcohol dries very fast so there is no problem to clean it with.
Is this true?
Can I use it to clean the ram top part and contact part?
If I can't how to clean ram and ram slots?
 

jay32267

Illustrious
Yes you can.
When you use the air...just be careful not to get to close to the components so you don't damage them with the force of the air.
As far as the alcohol....that's fine. I usually use q-tips. Just make SURE it's COMPLETELY dry before you fire it up.
 

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