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How to clean a laptop fan without compressed air

Updated April 17, 2017

The fans in a laptop are integral to cooling its internal components. The fans work by drawing cooler air from the outside of the case and running it over the heated components such as the random access memory or central processor. Over time, dust builds up on the fan blades. This leads to degraded airflow. If you don't clean the fan periodically, the components will overheat. A popular method for cleaning fans is by using compressed air, however this method can blow dust into the laptop rather than sucking it out, leading to further overheating.

Power off the laptop and remove the battery.

Locate any vents on the outside of the laptop.

Stick a small wooden skewer through the vent to prevent the fan blades from spinning while you work on the fan.

Use tweezers to pry out any large particulates on the fan.

Use a hand vacuum cleaner, or a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove any dust particles from the fan.

Remove the wooden skewer from the vent and turn the laptop on. The rest of the dust should blow out of the vent once you start the laptop.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden skewer
  • Tweezers
  • Hand vacuum cleaner
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About the Author

Bryan Clark has been a freelance writer since 2002. His work has appeared in "The New York Times," "USA Today" and the U.K.'s biggest paper—"The Guardian," amongst other, smaller publications.