The motherboard is one of the most important parts of a computer. Even a small problem in the motherboard can affect the performance of the computer. Hence, it is a no-brainer that the motherboard needs to be well-maintained and looked after.
With time and usage, dirt and dust accumulate on the motherboard. If not cleaned regularly, the motherboard could overheat, malfunction, and maybe even stop working altogether due to a short circuit.
Now, let’s talk about cleaning it. Cleaning a motherboard can be tricky, as even the slightest damage or error could affect its performance. Don’t worry yet, though. We have solutions to help you out!
How to Clean Motherboard?
Here are the best ways to clean a motherboard:
- Using compressed air or a blower
- Using isopropyl alcohol
Side-note: While some might ask if it is okay to clean the motherboard using a vacuum cleaner or a cloth, these methods come with their own set of risks. A vacuum cleaner could cause static and damage the motherboard while a cloth can easily leave fibes behind and pressure might need to be applied for proper cleaning, which is not recommended.
How to clean motherboard using compressed air
For general cleaning of the motherboard, the easiest and safest method is using compressed air. You can buy a can of compressed air or use what is known as an “air blower,” which compresses air without heating it.
Once you have completely shut down the computer and dismantled it, use compressed air to get rid of the dirt and dust particles. Sometimes, you might notice that some dust particles are difficult to remove. For this, you can use a soft bristled brush to help in the process. Use the brush gently to loosen the dust particles and then use compressed air again to eliminate them completely.
How to clean motherboard using isopropyl alcohol
If you are dealing with sticky stains, compressed air may not help you. To get rid of these stubborn stains, use isopropyl alcohol to clean the motherboard.
Using a liquid on the motherboard is a delicate process and should be carefully done to ensure the best results are obtained. Keep in mind that the isopropyl alcohol you use for cleaning should be more than 90% pure, ideally 99%. This form of the liquid is non-conductive and dries really fast. Read on to clearly understand the cleaning process.
How to apply isopropyl alcohol to clean motherboard
There has always been debate over the best method to employ while cleaning a motherboard with alcohol. While some feel the liquid should be poured on the motherboard giving it an alcohol bath, some others recommend using a cotton swab to apply the liquid. The right process depends on the type of dirt/stains you are dealing with.
To remove any sticky materials or particles that are thick and difficult to remove, we recommend using a cotton swab to apply the Isopropyl Alcohol. This will ensure that the dust particles are eliminated. However, in extreme cases, some particles might still remain such as carbon or soldering junk. This is when you can choose to give the motherboard an alcohol bath. You can also apply this method when the motherboard is completely dead or not functioning properly as a result of a lot of dirt pile-up.
Steps to clean a motherboard
Step 1: Shut down the computer completely. This includes switching off the mains and unplugging all the wires.
Step 2: Disassemble the computer and remove the motherboard.
Step 3: Use compressed air or blower to remove the dirt and dust particles. Use a soft bristled brush if required.
Step 4: Use isopropyl alcohol to deep clean the motherboard with a cotton swab. This will remove the sticky and difficult particles which couldn’t be eliminated with compressed air.
Step 5: Pour isopropyl alcohol if the motherboard still needs further cleaning or if it is not functional.
Step 6: Allow the motherboard to dry completely before reinstalling or powering the computer on again.
Step 7: Assemble the computer back.
Few things to keep in mind
- Ensure to clean your motherboard at least once a year.
- If your computer is still in the warranty period, speak to the manufacturer before using any liquid on the motherboard. Seek their help for the cleaning process as the warranty could be void once you use isopropyl alcohol to clean yourself.
- Ensure the computer is completely shut down and powered off before the cleaning process.
- Ensure you use 99% isopropyl alcohol for cleaning the motherboard.
- Let the motherboard dry completely before powering the computer back on.
- If ever in doubt, seek professional help to clean a motherboard.
With a little patience and a lot of care, you should clean your motherboard regularly to ensure that it is in top shape. All the best!