How to Clean a Computer Fan

By Techwalla Computers Editor

If you want to know about a computer user's habits, check their CPU. Unless they use their computer sparingly, the fan will collect more dust, dirt, hair and other nasty debris than other part of the system. To prevent problems with your fan and other parts of your CPU, clean the fan on a regular basis.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swabs
  • Dust cloth
  • Tweezers
  • Compressed air

Step 1

Unplug the computer. Move the CPU to a safe place with plenty of room to work. Vacuum dust from the air vents and CD players. You can purchase a mini-vacuum online (see Resources below) or at any good computer supply store. Then remove the back part of the case and vacuum inside, being careful to avoid small connectors and jumpers.

Step 2

Spray compressed air to disperse dust on the CPU fan and power supply fan. You'll need to eliminate dust from the heat sink under the fan, too. Spray compressed air (sometimes called dust and lint remover) to get dust out of the grills. Use a pencil to keep fan blades still before spraying compressed air.

Step 3

Improve the performance of your computer fan by moving it to a cooler area of your house or desk. An overheated fan compounds the problems of dust, dirt and hair in the grills.

Step 4

Eliminate dust, hair and other debris from the rest of the computer. Vacuum around the mouse, cables, and speakers to keep the computer running smoothly and prevent problems with your fan.

Step 5

Inspect the fan and surrounding area after your initial cleaning. Wipe with a dust cloth or cotton swabs to get stray bits of dust off the blades. You may need to use a pair of tweezers to remove a long piece of hair or other debris. Double-check that the computer is off before you do this.

Tips & Warnings

  • To clean a laptop computer fan, slide off the back casing and spray the fan with compressed air.