PC ComponentsCooling

How To Clean PC Fans

Pc Fan Cleaning

Desktop computers tend to collect a lot of dust in a very short amount of time. Fans, especially, accumulate the most dust because they regulate the airflow inside the computer. Since dust travels through the air, they get dirty quickly and start to perform poorly.

Quick Answer

You can easily clean PC fans by removing the fan from the PC and cleaning each side and blade using isopropyl alcohol. Cleaning the fans will improve fan performance and help cool your computer better.

When dust covers your PC fans, you can visibly see the changes in the performance of your computer. It is so because dust slows the fan’s speed and sometimes stops it from working resulting in your computer overheating more often, which slows down its processing power due to the CPU underclocking itself.

Read on to find out how to properly clean your PC fans so your PC can perform better!

Cleaning Your PC Fans

PC fans are a very integral part of your system. Usually, the heat sync above the CPU helps to cool down the temperature of the processor, but due to components such as a graphics card, the overall temperature of the system is still high. PC fans regulate the air inside, throwing the hot air out of the casing and decreasing the overall temperature.

The problem with an overheating PC is that the high temperatures damage the internal circuitry inside the computer, resulting in components breaking down and costing the user a lot of money in repairs.

That is why keeping your fans in the best condition possible to protect your computer’s components is essential!

Here are some of the items you need to prepare.

  1. Can of compressed air or a small vacuum cleaner.
  2. Q-tips.
  3. Isopropyl alcohol (preferably 90% or more).
  4. Paper towels (or any other lint-free cleaning material).

Below are the steps to help you clean your PC fans.

Step #1: Removing Excess Dust

Your fans will have a lot of dust loosely attached to the fan. This dust will prevent you from cleaning your fan properly, so it’s essential to remove it first.

You can remove this excess dust using either a can of compressed air or a small vacuum cleaner. Be mindful that when using a can of compressed air or even a small blower, the dust will fly all around you, so it’s better to take it outside and then blow on it. Since the dust will fly around, it’s also better to wear a mask.

You must hold down the fans’ blades while blowing on the fan. The reason is that when you use a compressed air can or a blower, if you don’t hold them down, the blades start to rotate much faster than the intended RPM the blades are supposed to rotate. Such fast rotations damage the internal motor of the fan.

There is an area between the motor and the fan blades where there is a slight gap. Unfortunately, dust often accumulates there, so you must blow on that area horizontally to get the dust out.

Step #2: Cleaning the Interior

Since most excess dust has been removed, you’ll see your fan starts to look clean. But, if you notice, some dust will be stuck on the inside and hard-to-reach parts of the fan. To remove this, you’ll be required to clean precisely.

Firstly, you should wear latex or plastic gloves that protect your hands as you will now be cleaning using isopropyl alcohol, which is considered a hazardous substance.

Now, take a small container and pour some of the alcohol into it. Dip the Q-tips inside the alcohol and slightly rub them against the internal surface of the fan. Try and go a single time around the fan because if you continue to use the same end of the Q-tip, the dirt the Q-tip is collecting will stick to the surface again.

With one end of the Q-tip dirty, rotate and use the other end to repeat the same process.

Quick Tip

You will notice some marks appearing on the areas you clean using alcohol. Those marks are just because of the alcohol evaporating. Using a paper towel or any other lint-free cleaning material, lightly scrub those marks, and you’ll notice that they’ll disappear.

After cleaning the internal surface of the fan, now use a new Q-tip to clean the fan blades. You should clean the fan blades starting from the edges and work your way to the blade’s center. You should be extra careful while cleaning the fan blades as you should not be applying too much pressure on them as they’ll break or rotate unevenly.

After cleaning the back side of the blades, you should now move to the front of the fan to repeat the process. Go through each blade exactly like you did the backside of the fan. 

After this, proceed to clean the center of the fan. Use a new Q-tip again and clean it similarly as you cleaned the blades. Once again, you mustn’t apply much pressure while cleaning these parts as they are delicate.

Cleaning all these parts, you’ll notice that they have some marks due to the alcohol evaporating. To tackle this, take a dry Q-tip and start to scrub those areas lightly. A dry Q-tip will erase those marks, and your fan will start to look completely new.

Step #3: Final Cleanup

Your fan is now completely clean. You can use your can of compressed air or a small blower to blow the fan so that any small particles which got stuck due to the Q-tips get removed and do not interfere with the fan operation.


Using the steps described above, you can easily clean your PC fans without disassembling the fan or taking it to a technician. Your PC fans can be cleaned in no time, leaving you with a computer with no overheating problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is compressed air safe for cleaning PC components? 

Yes! Using compressed air to clean your PC components is completely safe and will do no damage to any component in your PC.

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