Your laptop or desktop computer can get dirty very easily. Dust, sticky residue from stickers, juice splashes, and sweat might've collected on your components. Crumbs might've gotten into tight spaces. Dirty keyboards, mice, and dusty cases are inevitable. Thankfully, this guide will show you some tools to help take care of the issue.
These are all products that I personally used and liked very much. They helped make some of my components look like new.
Why detail your computer?
It probably looked beautiful brand new. You want it to stay beautiful a year later too, don't you? You probably spent a lot of money on all of your components after all. It probably doesn't make you look very good if visitors see a dirty computer.
Compared to compressed air cans, an electric air duster makes its money back over and over if you do frequent cleanings. In fact, I see it as an investment. You don't have to worry about dusting air in bursts, unlike compressed air cans which start to freeze. The air pressure is constant, unlike cans which drop in pressure over time. You don't have to worry about a limited amount of air to blow, unlike with compressed air cans.
The XPOWER A-2 Airrow Pro is hands down the best electric air duster for computers I've ever used. The high pressure mode is plenty strong and blows away my stuff if I'm not careful. It includes several different nozzles. A small radius nozzle for fine point pressure, a flat & wide nozzle for air sweeping, and a brush nozzle to clean off stuck dust.
Are dusters are advantageous to feather dusters in the sense that they have a bit more force behind it. Some dust might be tough to remove with a feather duster, so the pressure from compressed air dusters may help break loose dust and dirt.
Sometimes, opening a power supply unit, Xbox, or Playstation for a full cleaning are impossible without voiding warranty. If you don't know what you're doing, you might break damage something. That said, you might be limited to using a compressed air can to blow inside of vents.
Why choose choose compressed air over an electric air duster? Compressed air cans usually have a very small radius nozzle, so the air pressure can be much more finely focused. The small tube also allows it to fit into much tighter spaces such as grill-based exhausts. Such spaces would be inaccessible to a feather duster.
My go-to product for compressed air dusters is by Dust-Off. It is advertised to be safe for dusting electronics, but be sure to follow their instructions.
A dust cleaning putty/gel is great to remove dust from hard to reach spaces. Such as in between your deep keyboard keycaps and the crevice between your mouse buttons. This is way faster to use than cotton swabs. They often do a better job than cotton swabs because its malleable material can fit or move into much tighter spaces. Such as sinking under the keycaps.
When you've properly dusted your keyboard with an air duster or feather duster, a good cleaning gel can be an amazing finishing touch. For me, using a dust cleaning gel has made the difference between good and like new.
My preferred dust cleaning gel is by the Universal Dust Cleaner by ColorCoral. This cleaning gel is good for multiple uses. It doesn't have a strong, foul, chemical odor like most other gels and is in fact, lemon scented. It is safe to use for most keyboards.
This has some light moisture, so do not use it on sensitive or electrically exposed surfaces like on a motherboard. Do not start your dust cleaning job with a cleaning putty. The gel is not washable, so eventually it will collect too much dirt and be unusable. Use it for finishing touches and it should last you for many cleanings.
Liquids are used all the time when cleaning and I'm sure you've seen how effective they are. They absorb and transfer dirt very easily. Thing is, liquids are generally thought of as kryptonite for electronics. While that's mostly true, this doesn't mean that you can't clean with liquids. Liquids just shouldn't be on an actively running circuit. The problem is waiting for the electronic to completely dry in time and being sure there are no mineral spots.
Waiting days for your electronic to completely dry from water might not be ideal. This is where Isopropyl Alcohol(IPA) 99% comes in. IPA 99% is great to clean with because it evaporates relatively fast. This leaves a dry and spotless surface when used correctly.
Make sure you turn off your device before cleaning with IPA and leave the device to dry for at least 30 minutes. Also, do not use IPA in excess. Lightly misting a microfiber rag should do the job. When used correctly, IPA 99% should be safe to clean your motherboard, CPU cover, CPU cooler, keyboards, laptops, desktops, and much more. Be sure to watch a quick YouTube tutorial on cleaning electronics with IPA 99%.
My go-to product is by MG Chemicals.
There are many more useful tools for super cleaning your computers. To me, the most impactful tools for detailed cleaning jobs are an electric air duster, compressed air duster, cleaning gel, and Isopropyl Alcohol 99%. Using these tools, I've been able to make my keyboard, mouse, laptop, desktop, and other electronics look like new.