How To Clean Your Motherboard

By | January 28, 2023

If you have a computer, then cleaning the motherboard should be one of your maintenance routines. To be able to clean your motherboard without spoiling anything requires some kind of technical knowledge and that is exactly what I am here to give.

The motherboard is a very important component in every gadget. It is what every other component of the device relies on to function. I have written a previous article about How motherboards are made so you can check it out.

Since the motherboard is the major component in the system unit, regular maintenance is required to keep it working for a long time.

Why should you clean it?

Dirt or dust is one of the common things that can cause damage to whatever they settle on. No matter what dust settles on, it doesn’t do any good.

When the dust settles on your motherboard for too long there is a probability that it could bridge some of the components on the motherboard.

There are connection ports on the board that will also become unusable because of dirt if it is not cleaned often. So it is very important to clean your board regularly to avoid running into such problems.

How to clean your motherboard

Cleaning your motherboard is quite risky since you could easily break something that might not be fixable. Pay close attention and follow the procedure carefully to ensure you do not break your computer in the name of maintenance. Do not be scared. Follow the procedure carefully and everything should be fine.

There are a couple of items you must make available before you start the process.

  • Screwdriver
  • Small dusting brush
  • Compressed air blower for computers or handheld vacuum. If you have a regular vacuum cleaner with a smaller nozzle, that is also fine.
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swab (10 pieces should be enough)

If you have all these items ready, then you can move to the next procedure.

Remove the motherboard and components

I will show you the same procedure I have used over the years that has also worked for me. If you follow the procedure carefully, you should be able to clean your board successfully.

1. Turn off your system unit and disconnect all of your cables. Press the power button one more time to ensure all the power stored in the capacitors is completely drained.

2. Take the compressed air blower or vacuum cleaner and clean all the dust from the system. Do not use the brush or any other tool yet.

3. Disconnect all cables connecting to the motherboard. You should also remove all removable components (RAM, Graphic Adaptor, and other PCI adapters that might be connected). But do not remove the heatsink if possible as well as the Central Processing Unit (CPU).

3. Use your screwdriver to unscrew all the screws and carefully lift the motherboard from the system.

4. If you could remove the board without removing the processor heatsink, then remove the heatsink but do not remove the processor.

5. Make sure all the other removable components are removed from the motherboard except the CPU.

If you are done with these steps, then you are halfway through.

Clean your motherboard and fix it back

1. Take the dusting brush and dust off the excess dust from the motherboard if there is any.

2. If there is sticky dirt on the board, then take your cotton swab, dip it in the rubbing alcohol and clean the dirt. You should also clean all necessary ports that are on the board with rubbing alcohol.

3. Dust off the heatsink, inside of the system unit, and everything that is inside and blow or vacuum.

4. If the thermal paste on the CPU is not quite good, make sure you apply a new one. I have a full tutorial on how to apply thermal paste.

5. Fix everything back into the system. Make sure you do it exactly as it was before you removed it.

6. Check and makes sure everything is connected inside, fix all the cables to the system, and turn it on.

That is it. You have successfully cleaned your motherboard. Repeat the process at least twice every year.


Can you wash a motherboard?

Washing a motherboard with soap and water is never a good idea. Electronics and water do not mix so you will end up damaging the motherboard. The only substance you should use to do this should be rubbing alcohol.

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