We also have another guide about cleaning up your case here.
There is nothing wrong with leaving spills, dirt, and stains on your computer case. After all isn’t that what the case is for, to protect the electronic components inside from spills and dirt? This is true, but there are still parts of the case that need to be cleaned and checked if you want your computer to live a long and prosperous life.
Unless you like looking at dirt everytime you look at your computer, you should go ahead and clean those spills, stains, and dust off of the case. You can do this with just about any cloth and cleaner. Do not use highly abrasive cleaners that might ruin or mar the surface and do not use solvents on plastic. A wet sponge will even work. Just make sure that the cleaner or any liquid does not seep into the inside through cracks and vents. If there is any possibility that you are going to get that messy, turn off and unplug the computer first and wait to turn it back on until any liquid has had a chance to fully dry.
After you have wiped off the outside, it is time for a little inspection. Look at the blades of the fan in the back of the computer. Also look at any vents. Is there dust there? Is there a lot of dust and grime caked on to it? If so, that is an indicator that the inside also needs to be cleaned (I will tell you how to do that in next week’s article – How to Clean your Motherboard).
Some clean environments never have to have the inside cleaned. Some need it cleaned monthly. When I lived in Russia, even though I didn’t notice it, the air was not clean. The fan on the computer would cake up with dirt and grime after about a month of use. And so I would have to clean the fan, vents, and inside monthly. If I had let it go for several months without cleaning, the fan would have stopped working and the computer would have overheated. Where I now live in the US, the air is clean and I have gone years without having to clean it. Again, the indicator of this is the blades of the fan and the vents. If they are dirty, they need to be cleaned.
You can do some of the cleaning from the outside. First, turn off the computer. Then get out the vacuum sweeper and using the hose, vacuum out the vents and the fan(s). If you have compressed air (you can purchase compressed air from your computer store), you may want to blow air in through the vents (or intake fan if you have one) to loosen the dust and suck it out using the vacuum. If there is still dust or dirt in the vents or on the blades of the fan, you can use a Q-tip to clean them.
If you do not have a vaccum, you can use compressed air alone. Always use short bursts to avoid moisture buildup. Start with the computer off and blow into every hole and vent. Then turn the computer on and blow everything except for the exhaust fan once again.
With the case clean, your computer will look nicer and with the fan and vents cleaned out it will breathe easier and run cooler.