Clean Your PC to Avoid a PC Case of Horrors

February 18, 2022

Computers pretty much run our lives at this point, PC gaming, work, and whatever else. It is probably long past time for many of us to give our computers a good spa day. We all know how grimey our homes get after the winter. Every part of our home needs to be cleaned, so why should you clean your PC?

Do you know what happens to the tech we live our lives on? What happens when you incorrectly store and neglect the tech you have at home? That graphics card or power supply you fought tooth and nail to get might need some fresh air.

What can live in your PC

Do you remember the episode of MythBusters where they tested where the best place to store your toothbrush to avoid fecal matter was? Well, hold onto your butts because that is an issue for your peripherals as well. 

Several universities, including the University of Arizona, have tested this topic at length. The University of Arizona found that, on average, a desktop has over 400 times the bacteria on it than your middle toilet seat. Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital discovered two deadly drug-resistant bacteria that can survive up to 24 hours on your desk accessories.

These stats are not just applicable to hospital computers. Your very own home computer could constantly be hiding germs and bacteria. 

Germs and bacteria are easy to deal with, though there are some critical steps to avoid getting poop and other nasties on your keyboard. 

Dangers Around Your PC

Step One: Don’t eat at your desk.

Step Two: Wash your hands regularly.

Step Three: Clean your desk frequently.

Germs are not your only enemy when it comes to your PC. Dust is by far the greater enemy. Dust can cause slow-downs, overheating, and create fire hazards. GPUs and CPUs generate a ton of heat and need airflow. Dust is the number one thing preventing airflow from getting to them. Dust is made of many things; skin flakes, hair (pet and human alike), food debris, and insects are some of your usual culprits. This delicious cocktail can destroy your precious components and put you at physical risk. 

Do not use an air compressor to clean your PC. The risk here is that the air still has the moisture from the atmosphere, meaning using an air compressor is the equivalent of blowing the dust out of the machine. 

In addition, another danger to your PC is smoking. While both vaping and smoking around your PC can be bad in the long run, the bigger problem is cigarette tar. This can build up in your PC over time, and it is conductive. This makes it possible for an electrical fire to start inside your PC. While vaping only becomes an issue if you are directly blowing into your PC frequently. 

According to the NFPA, between 2007-2011, there were an estimated 730 reported U.S. home structure fires involving office equipment per year. In addition, outside of the home, there were an estimated 630 reported U.S. non-confined non-home structure fires involving office equipment per year.

Home Fires         

              11 civilian deaths per year

              51 civilian injuries per year

             $28 million in direct property damage per year                              

Non-Home Fires

              no civilian deaths

              11 civilian injuries per year

            $42 million in direct property damage per year


With this in mind, disinfecting and avoiding food at your desk will go a long way. Yet deep cleaning is something you should do now and again. To avoid this:

Photo of a filthy PC

Cleaning Your PC

You may wonder how to perform a basic cleanout. Here are the steps:


  • Grab a dust mask; try for one with a dust filter. 
  • Turn off your PC, unplug it and move it into an open space. 
  • Crack a door or window if possible.
  • Remove the side panels.
  • Grab a can of compressed air and a microfiber cloth. Clean out the dust from the machinery. 
    • Pro Tip: Do not blow yourself; saliva and computer parts are not friends. 
  • Once the dust is loose, use a vacuum hose CAREFULLY to clean up the dust from the area.
    • For more in-depth cleaning, consult with an Expert, or PCGamer has an excellent guide for a complete component cleanout.


I like to use 10 minutes every Friday to clean up desk surfaces and disinfect things. Don’t go dipping your electronics in a cleaning solution. There are many highly rated computer cleaning products, and we all have experience at this point with a variety of disinfectant methods (thank you, panorama).


There are a few easy things to keep you and your computer safe during the cleaning process. To start, unplug any power sources, and when cleaning peripherals, unplug them from the computer. Q-tips or clean paint brushes are handy tools. 

Tools for the Job

I have a couple of fabulous finds from Amazon that help me keep my set up clean, cleaning gel (cleaning goo), a cleaning brush, and a USB desktop vacuum. TIn addition, there are hundreds of fun gadgets to help you up to your cleaning game in your office. 


Inspect for damage and loose cables. In addition, make sure to there make sure to replace damaged pieces to avoid issues in the future, and it is never a bad idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your office. In fact, it is recommended by the U.S Fire Administration; here is a link for choosing and using fire extinguishers.


If this post was too late and your PC combusts, call 911. Do not try to care for it yourself. 

In the End

It’s crucial for a gamer, worker, or casual PC user to clean up their space. We don’t need any fires or E. Coli. G. So go add cleaning the PC to your spring cleaning schedule, and take the snack to the couch or table. Your PC will thank you for it, and maybe you will lag less!


Game On!

Beautiful gaming set up photo

Written By Cara Murchie

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