How to Clean Electronic Components

By LarryP

Knowing how to clean electronic components is vital to their upkeep. If they get bogged down with dirt and dust they will overheat, causing major problems. Problems could range from slow operation to burning out altogether. A burned out circuit board cannot be repaired. Many precautions can prevent this from happening. One of the most vital steps is to clean your electronics on a regular basis. Each device will have a different interval at which it needs to be cleaned, based upon usage and exposure to impurities.

Things You'll Need

  • Static free cloth
  • 99% or more isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Appropriate tools to disassemble your device

Step 1

De-energize the equipment you wish to clean. This means unplugging it, removing the battery or both. This will protect you and the equipment from harm.

Step 2

Disassemble the equipment you wish to clean. Do this to the manufacturer's's specifications to prevent damaging the equipment.

Step 3

Use compressed air to blow the bulk of dust and debris from the circuitry. Keep the can of air upright, because if it is tilted it potentially can expel liquid and that could damage the circuit board.

Step 4

Dip a cotton swab in the isopropyl alcohol. Just a quick dip will do. Don't soak it.

Step 5

Run the cotton swab over the circuit board, being careful not to get any cotton from the swab stuck on any of the wiring. Do this until you've gone around the entire circuit board.

Step 6

Wipe screens of the device with a non-static cloth. If needed you can dab a little alcohol onto the cloth as well, but keep it minimal. The non-static properties of the cloth will prevent a static charge from short circuiting your computer.

Step 7

Wait until your entire system has dried before re-energizing it. This should take less than five minutes. The higher percentage of isopropyl alcohol you used, the quicker it will dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take your time when cleaning your circuitry. You do not want to risk losing your data due to impatience.
  • Try to find the highest percentage alcohol that you can. The lower the percentage, the higher the chances of impurities being introduced to your system.
  • There are warnings throughout the article. Pay special attention to them, because each could save your device, and prevent you from getting shocked.