Skip to Content


How to clean a PC fan

man cleaning the fan of his laptop

Sign-up now to take advantage of member exclusives!

As a member of Ask Team Clean, you get access to exclusive offers and the best cleaning tips.

Our home computers are so important in today’s work-at-home environment, helping the kids with schoolwork, communicating with family and friends, and having useful information at our fingertips. Computer fan cleaning will certainly become part of your home technology maintenance routine.

Make sure to first check your particular computer’s product manual to make sure it is safe to clean the fan on your own.

Why should I clean my PC fan?

When you let dust build up on your PC, it can affect your computer's performance. The first problem is that it causes your computer to remain heated. The second is that it makes it harder for the internal fans to remove heat from the system. If your PC has been on your desk and away from the dusty floor and/or pet hair, it stands to reason that an easy PC fan cleaning every 6 to 12 months would be a great way to help keep your computer in good shape.

Different types of PC fans

All computer fans are not created equal; there are case fans to keep the computer case cool, CPU fans to blow hotter air off the processer, a power supply fan, and a video card fan to keep powerful video game cards from overheating. Any or all of these may require cleaning. You may also have noticed a loud fan noise…this may be your computer telling you that it is time for a complete computer fan cleaning!

Important PC fan cleaning safety tips

You can do this, even if you are not a computer techie. Here are some important tips on how to clean a PC fan like a pro.

Safety Tips!

  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer to clean your PC fan. This may create static buildup and discharge into the sensitive electronics inside the computer case.
  • Never take apart the hard drive or the power supply, as you might void their respective warranties and potentially create serious harm to the component or (in the power supply’s case) to yourself.
  • Turn the computer all the way off and unplug it from the power source. This is very important!

Getting ready

  • Have on hand a can of compressed air (you can purchase this from an electronics store), a handful of cotton swabs, a few cosmetic pads, a clean microfiber cloth, a small screwdriver to open the computer case, and a small amount of isopropyl alcohol.
  • Focus on the PC fan cleaning to make sure you cover all the bases with the fan and surrounding areas.

How to clean a PC fan properly and thoroughly

OK, now you are ready!

Step One:

Have all of your tools set out in advance. Gently open the computer case and familiarize yourself with the location of the fan you wish to clean. You will be able to see if the fan is particularly gunked up, so you want to start there to clean the blades. Take the cotton swab and add a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to it and wipe the blades clean. Spin the fan to make sure the blades rotate easily after cleaning them.

Step Two:

Use your compressed air can to blow out any loose dust particles from the fan area and then use a clean cotton swab with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on it to swab around all of the parts of the fan mechanism. Just make sure that if you’re cleaning a case fan, you open up the case so that you can blow the dust out into the environment and not back into the computer. Also put a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on a cosmetic pad to dab the outer areas of the fan to clean the surrounding parts.

Step Three:

Be sure to locate and clean the other fans you have access to inside your computer. After cleaning all of the fans inside the computer, go ahead and give the entire computer a quick clean with the compressed air to eliminate dust buildup. After the cleaning, put the case back on the computer, and turn the computer back on to make sure you have sealed it all back up and you are ready to go.

Step Four:

As with any cleaning and maintenance routine, keeping the fans working properly inside the PC can get monotonous, especially if you have a busy schedule already. If you keep your computer off the floor, away from smoke and pet hair, and keep it away from a window if you live in a dusty climate, you will want to clean the PC fan every 6 to 12 months. If you have dust or pets around the computer, plan on every 2 to 3 months.

We hope our tips on how to clean a PC fan have enlightened you—and don’t forget to check out our other PC-related tips such as how to clean a computer keyboard properly or how to clean a flat-screen TV. Make sure you register with Ask Team Clean to get more advice and rewards sent to you!