Laptop fans keep overheating at bay and keeps your laptop cool. Sometimes, when the laptop fans get dirty, they don’t work properly and the machine gets hot. Even if your laptop isn’t heating up, you should clean the fans sometimes. Cleaning will ensure your computer’s cooling system is working properly.
How often you need to clean it will depend on your usage and environment. If you come from a dusty area, you may need to do it more often.
Alright, now let’s get you up to speed and help clean your laptop fan. Shall we?
How to clean a laptop fan
Laptop computers have cooling fans embedded into the system. There are vents to expel the hot air from the inside to maintain a proper temperature.
Excessive dust can block these vents and the warm air will stay inside. This can create some serious problems- slow loading, memory crashes, burning out the internals of the machine and many more.
Depending on the brand and model, the position of the vents differs. Some laptops have vents on the sides, some on the rear, some around the hinge and so on.
How to clean the laptop fan without compressed air (Step-by-step guide)
Cleaning a laptop fan with compressed air is a great choice. You need to pick the right one though. We would recommend YouTube stay away from cheap compressed. But cleaning with compressed air has its cons too.
You can’t control the air pressure. So, if you want to clean your laptop’s cooling fan without using compressed air, this guide is for you.
Important: If you want to clean your laptop fan without compressed air, you’ll need to be patient. Because it will take time and labor. Keep that in mind before putting your cleaning hat on.
Step 1: Turn off and unplug your laptop
First of all, you need to turn off your machine and unplug it from the power source to prevent electrocution while cleaning. If you’re careless, any moisture inside your system can fry up your machine and burn everything! So, don’t forget to pay attention.
Step 2: Disassemble the machine
After you have made sure your computer is turned off and unplugged, you can start disassembling it. Remove the bottom panel. You will probably need a screwdriver. Each laptop may open differently. The manufacturers may use different types of enclosure. Check and pick a suitable screwdriver for opening your machine.
Please go through the user manual or watch videos on it. If you still don’t understand, communicate with the manufacturers. They will guide you through it.
Step 3: Remove the fan and take it away
You need to remove the fan first. Again, if you’re a newbie, watch loads of videos and follow instruction manuals before attempting it.
Once you have detached the fan, take it away. Now you can start cleaning it properly. This way, you don’t have to worry about damaging other parts of your machine while cleaning. Gently tap on the backside of the fan to remove all the dust particles.
Step 4: Place the fan on an anti-static mat
If the cooling fan slips while you’re cleaning, you may damage the fan or hurt yourself. Even if you don’t, it can get annoying. So place the fan on an anti-static mat to prevent slipping.
Step 5: Gently blow into the fan
Now blow into the fan gently. This will allow you to dislodge the newly formed dust in and around the cooling fan. Just blow into the fan. The dust will fall out.
Step 6: Clean the vent
Your laptop fan is cleaned but your system is still getting hot. Have you checked your vents? Maybe dust has blocked the air vent and is preventing the hot air from flowing outside. Take a cloth and carefully clean the vent.
Step 7: Use a manual air blower to clean the fan
A manual air blower can be used just like compressed air. It’s way cheaper. You can get one if you haven’t already for less than 10 bucks. Just like compressed air, you can use it to clean the dust off of your laptop fan.
You need to make sure you’re in an open space. If you choose to do it in your room, just leave the doors and windows open. The blower is easy to use. Just press down the rubber air container. The released pressure will get the dust off the fan.
Important: Do as we tell you or you’ll mess things up.
Step 7 (Alternative method): Use a hair dryer
A silicon air blower will get the job done. But it takes time and effort. If you’re looking for a more efficient option, consider using a hairdryer. You can use a regular hair dryer that you have at your home.
Warning: If you choose a hairdryer to clean your laptop fan, make sure it has adjustable speed and heat control. If you cannot control the air pressure, skip it. It’s not ideal for cleaning any of your laptop parts.
You should start by putting a toothpick or anything similar between 2 of the fan blades. It will prevent the fan from pinwheeling. Allowing the fan to spin beyond its range could destroy the bearings.
Another warning, don’t touch the laptop with your hairdryer while cleaning. It may build up static electricity and wreck your laptop. Bottom line, whether you clean using a hairdryer or a silicon air blower, you need to be careful. You need to be extra careful if you choose to go with a hairdryer.
Step 8: Use a thin-haired brush or a rag to clean the deep-seated dirt
If your laptop hasn’t been cleaned in a while, there will be lots of dust and deep-seated dirt. You will need to lose the dust first. Just get a thin brush and clean the fan.
But remember to be gentle. If you apply too much force, you may defame or break the fan. So, while cleaning the laptop fan, you may end up doing more damage than good.
That’s it. There are several options if you don’t want to clean your laptop with compressed air for whatever reason. You can get the job done by following any of the recommended ways. But, be careful and follow our instructions.
Clean laptop fan with compressed air (step-by-step guide)
Compressed air is the best solution in our opinion to clean your laptop fan. It has the right amount of pressure and gets rid of the dust easily. But you need to be cautious while doing it. The compressed air method is also the most popular one for cleaning your laptop fan. Read our guide to learn how you should clean your laptop fan step-by-step.
Before you start cleaning up any of your laptop components, make sure you keep the windows and doors shut. Turn off ceiling fans if you have them. If you leave the windows open, more dust may build up on your laptop internals.
Step 1: Unplug and power off your machine
Whenever you’re cleaning your laptop, you should turn it off first and unplug from any power source. If you start cleaning your laptop fan while it’s connected to a power source, you may shock yourself or damage the internal parts. Then, place the laptop bottoms up on an anti-static mat. It prevents the parts from slipping during cleaning so you can do your work properly.
Step 2: Open the back panel of the laptop and expose the internals
Close the hinge and flip the laptop. Start disassembling the machine. As I’ve mentioned before, every laptop may have different types of enclosures. Take a screwdriver to open the back part of your laptop. Follow videos and the service manual that came with your computer model to open the back panel and expose the internal components of your computer. If you have never done it before and have no knowledge about it, don’t do it yourself.
Step 3: Dislodge the cooling fan and put it away
I recommend you detach the cooling fan and take it away for cleaning properly. It will help you clean the fan and dry it properly while not worrying about other parts of the laptop. Oh and remember to keep your windows closed. You don’t want more dust developing on your laptop fan.
Step 4: Place the spray can at least 3 inches away from the components
First of all, get an air compressor. These are not very expensive. Don’t take the compressed air can too close to the laptop fan or any other parts. While you are cleaning the fan, it’s good to clean the vents as well. If the vents are blocked, your computer will heat up no matter what. Place the can at least 3 inches away from the parts and start blowing compressed air.
Step 5: Spray quick bursts of compressed air
Dust can cover your laptop fan, motherboard and chips. It downgrades performance. Clean those areas too. You don’t have to take them apart though. Make sure you use quick/short bursts of compressed air to clean the parts. Don’t spray for more than 15 seconds and don’t spray compressed air from very close distance.
You can hold down the fan with your hand so it doesn’t spin too much or your laptop fan will be wrecked. But be cautious and apply gentle pressure to avoid deforming or breaking of the fan.
Spraying for too long may do more harm than good. Your laptop parts might be damaged permanently. So, keep that in mind.
Step 6: Clean up the dirt
After you have blasted the dirt away with compressed air, take a damp cloth to wipe it away. It will remove dust that’s left on the internals.
Step 7: Leave the fan to dry
So, well done! You have cleaned the laptop fan now. Leave it outside for a few minutes to dry up totally. It will reduce the chances of short-circuiting. Once it does, restore it to where it was.
Cleaning any laptop parts with compressed air is easy. Most of the professionals will advise the same. You can get a can of compressed air for a reasonable price. It’s easily available and affordable. Compressed air cleaning reduces hassle too.
How to clean laptop fan with a vacuum cleaner
If you have a vacuum cleaner at your home, you can use it to clean your laptop fan. But if you don’t have one, we don’t recommend buying it because a good vacuum cleaner can get expensive.
If you wanna buy it for other purposes too, you can. But it’s not worth getting a vacuum cleaner just to clean your laptop fan. There are cheaper alternatives as I’ve discussed before.
If you want to clean a laptop fan with a vacuum cleaner, here’s a guide for you. However, you must make sure the cleaner has a low-pressure setting or you can blast off your internals with it! Also, the vacuum cleaner needs to be earthed to prevent any static electricity from developing.
First, turn off your laptop computer. Unplug it from any power source. Now follow the user manual and remove the back cover of your laptop to expose the internal components.
Then, place a non-metallic piece between the blades so they don’t spin. A piece of wood will do. You can suck the dirt away with the cleaner or blow air into the dirty area.
Start off the vacuum cleaner with a low-pressure setting. Keep the cleaner at least 2-3 inches away. Don’t bring the vacuum cleaner directly over the fan. You can place it to the vents at a good angle.
Just like with compressed air, use the cleaner for short periods. Then, you have to keep repeating the process all around the vents. Avoid direct contact with the vents while using the vacuum cleaner.
If you use the cleaner in a high-pressure setting, you have cooked up a recipe for disaster. The air pressure of a handheld vacuum cleaner in the low-setting will not be as strong as a compressed air burst but it will get the job done. It will clean your laptop fan with steady airflow.
Cleaning the laptop fan is an essential thing but not many people know how to do it properly. If you don’t clean the laptop fan, the system can become really hot. It will damage the internals of your computer- the laptop battery, motherboard, processor and many more. However, you need to be careful. Do as we tell you. If you find this intimidating, get it done by a professional.