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View Full Version : Dusty and dirty computers/laptops


goldmercury
11-10-2010, 08:29 AM
What do you guys use to clean laptops and desktops? I've had a couple in over the last weeek that are in a real state.

I'm thinking not to clean the computer as that's not why the customer brought it to me however if I don't I know they'll be back with a hardware failure eventually due to the dusty conditions of there system.

Thoughts? Maybe I should tell the customer about the state of their machine and charge them extra for a cleaning service. What to use a vacum or compressed air? Things about compressed air is it really just moves the dust around.

TLE
11-10-2010, 10:23 AM
If I bring a laptop or desktop home, it is always given a clean inside and out as a courtesy. The cases are blown our with an air compressor, the case and keyboards are cleaned with Antibacterial wipes, and then polished with MrSheen wipes. Lastly the screen is cleaned.

It's just a nice personal touch which doesn't take long, and for the most part, they usually notice the difference and comment on it.:D

hext
11-10-2010, 10:34 AM
If I bring a laptop or desktop home, it is always given a clean inside and out as a courtesy. The cases are blown our with an air compressor, the case and keyboards are cleaned with Antibacterial wipes, and then polished with MrSheen wipes. Lastly the screen is cleaned.

It's just a nice personal touch which doesn't take long, and for the most part, they usually notice the difference and comment on it.:D

I'm one for doing this, also (selfishly) I prefer working on a clean system be before I start any work.

PRobbo
11-10-2010, 12:22 PM
I bought an Earlex CombiVac. It's a regular cylinder vacuum, but as well as vacuuming (sucking!) in the usual way, by switching the hose to the "hole" on the opposite side of the motor housing, it blows! Great for cleaning those really dusty old machines that have spent 5 years or more in the same place.

I even bought some attachments specifically designed to be used with computers, but to be honest, they dampen the "violence" of the airflow so much (sucking and blowing!) that I never use them - just point the main hose and fire (preferably through an open door or window).

iisjman07
11-10-2010, 02:54 PM
Paintbrush, compressed air

jj2000
11-10-2010, 03:44 PM
I'm one for doing this, also (selfishly) I prefer working on a clean system before I start any work.

I also use the paintbrush and compressed air for desktops,I have also been known to use our shop vac for really dirty machines,however not every machine gets this treatment and it is not for the fainthearted :D:D

MM PC Solutions
11-10-2010, 04:50 PM
Laptops - disinfectant wipes, who knows what the hell has been on the owners fingers!

MLCS
11-10-2010, 05:02 PM
What happened to the old school posters? This has been covered many times before. Honestly I read about it on here and I still use this method to this day.

Small leaf blower (pickup from your local Home Depot for about $30) it's not too powerful to harm anything, but definitely powerful enough to clean the hell out of the machine.

Canned air is expensive and slow.

Vacuums don't do a very good job aside from getting the large clumps.

Compressors require a moisture filter on your line to catch any condensation in the line and even then it's risky. Plus they're usually high powered air in a focused location that can damage the machine.

I have a little patio out back I will take the machine before I work on it at all and blow it out with the leaf blower. If there's any little crevaces the blower happened to miss I'll hit it with a couple shots of canned air. It's a wonderful tool!

**Edit - I also include the cleaning free of charge along with the service. I don't want to be working in that mess to begin with. But it's quick and easy and the customers really appreciate getting their machine back clean. Especially clean the monitor of the laptop. It gives them the whole "new computer" feel when they get it back and it's all clean**

16k_zx81
11-10-2010, 07:13 PM
Leaf blower (big or high pressure jobs)
paint brush (pure bristle - nothing synthetic)
compressed air (small / inside jobs)
window cleaner + chux (pretty much everything inc LCD screens)
and cyber clean (http://www.cyberclean.tv) for 'hard to get to' delights (like laptop keyboards)

TampaBayTech
11-11-2010, 01:51 AM
and cyber clean (http://www.cyberclean.tv) for 'hard to get to' delights (like laptop keyboards)

Haha, never seen that before. Doesn't it get full of junk from the keyboards really fast though? Or is there a way to clean the cyberclean? :p

SpeedTechPC
11-11-2010, 02:16 AM
I use an air compressor with a moisture filter. If it's a desktop, I will also use a painters brush once I open it up and if its a laptop and its required for me to open it up then I will use the brush as well. I will then wipe down the screens, keys, and/or case

16k_zx81
11-11-2010, 04:14 AM
Haha, never seen that before. Doesn't it get full of junk from the keyboards really fast though? Or is there a way to clean the cyberclean? :p

Apparently its re-useable, but I just take a 1" ball of it, clean off the crap from between the keys then throw it out. Its relatively inexpensive and does a better job than cloth because it gets in between the cracks. They sell it in most computer parts places here in Australia. At first I thought it was just a gimmick, but its actually quite useful for this specific purpose and saves me time :)

Steve202
11-11-2010, 10:12 AM
Can of compressed air and bang the dirt is gone :D

I've use some compressed air to blow away the dusty. If the case is extremely dirty I use some antibacterial wipes and then possible some household polish to give it a shine.

Laptops normally have the same treatment. Keyboard wiped clean using antibacterial wipes before I do anything to it though. To clean the screen, I use Chemical Guys Synthetic Quick Detailer which is used on car paintwork, but it works brilliant on laptop screens. A few little squirts and then wiped using a lint free cloth. Gives the screen a nice shine and it also smells nice too.

TLE
11-11-2010, 12:07 PM
Compressors require a moisture filter on your line to catch any condensation in the line and even then it's risky. Plus they're usually high powered air in a focused location that can damage the machine.


Personally I have never had any issues with my compressor, I do have a water trap attached just to be on the safe side. I don't think your any more likely to damage a machine using a compressor than you are using a leaf blower, it's the focused high powered air which makes it ideal for the job as you can get into all the knucks and crannies which a blower won't. It all comes down to common sense.

I have a small 6ltr compressor which I put in the car with me, far cheaper than carrying cans. I also have an Engineers vacuum made by Convac which I use for the big debris first.

piloteer
11-11-2010, 12:10 PM
I use an old Sears vacuum with good suction and an assortment of paint brushes. There are times there's so much crut in the case I even open the power supply to clean it out. The pwr sup looks like a fur coat on the inside.:eek:
I advise customers not to keep their desktops on the floor specially so if its carpeted. They appreciate the advice.:D

commodore64
11-11-2010, 07:09 PM
We use the metro datavac's. About 50 bucks, small, kinda loud though, but effecient. Their website is here (http://www.metrovacworld.com/Shopping/product.asp?catalog_name=metrovac&category_name=&product_id=DataVacED) Comes with some nice attachments and a built in filter. Gotta be careful with the power of this or other blowers though, can damage fans in power supplys and other areas by spinning the fan up too fast with the blower. Use a pen or something to hold the fan blade while you clean that area out. ;)

oldtech
11-11-2010, 08:25 PM
We do the following on every machine that comes through the door:

For desktops we use a compressor in the shop @ 70 psi. We do not let the fans spin freely since the rpm's will quickly fry the bearing or bushing.

We also enforce wearing a simple face mask for the techs like you would in a paint booth.

The outsides of the cases are blown off as well then wiped down with microfiber cloths and also a cleanser if needed for scuffs and such.

Laptops get antibacterial wipes 1st and then a good wipedown with the microfiber cloths before returning to customers. If there is dust evident in the vent/heatsink we remove the cover and blow them out.

In the field we have small portable air tanks in the vehicles and take the PC's out to the van for cleaning.

We tried vacuums of many manufacturers but nothing works as well as the current process.

We need to start a thread with photos of the inside of cases - we have seen some real strange stuff come out of them.:eek:

layoric
11-12-2010, 01:52 AM
I usually use a shop vac with the micro attachments. Does well enough for me, but I'd like to get a cheap compressor and blow it out outside, especially on the wake of all the possible bugs in there... One monitor I got once had some spiders - gross!

In any event, I used to charge for it, but now I clean them N.C. For businesses I go to though, it's a separate flat fee to clean them out. Need more good wipes for antibacterial though, especially for the laptops.

Puff
11-12-2010, 05:50 PM
I use a Metrovac electric duster and always ALWAYS were a dust mask because I don't want to breath in peoples butt dander and dried up "whatever that is".

http://www.metrovacworld.com/Shopping/product.asp?catalog_name=metrovac&category_name=&product_id=DataVacED

goldmercury
11-15-2010, 02:34 PM
I bought an Earlex CombiVac. It's a regular cylinder vacuum, but as well as vacuuming (sucking!) in the usual way, by switching the hose to the "hole" on the opposite side of the motor housing, it blows! Great for cleaning those really dusty old machines that have spent 5 years or more in the same place.

I even bought some attachments specifically designed to be used with computers, but to be honest, they dampen the "violence" of the airflow so much (sucking and blowing!) that I never use them - just point the main hose and fire (preferably through an open door or window).

just got a earlex - powerful vacum! Only problem is I had a dusty PC so I used the blower and this created a small mushroom cloud of dust in my workshop - everything now has a thin layer of dust on it - do you use the blower outside? or use some form of ventilation?

PRobbo
11-15-2010, 02:51 PM
just got a earlex - powerful vacum! Only problem is I had a dusty PC so I used the blower and this created a small mushroom cloud of dust in my workshop - everything now has a thin layer of dust on it - do you use the blower outside? or use some form of ventilation?

I try to point it out of my back door - but the wind is nearly always blowing in the wrong direction! It's also a bit dicey if it's raining, but you can't really blow in an enclosed space - as you found out!

bytes
11-15-2010, 03:53 PM
i have used an air compressor to clean out computers for years. It has well paid for itself. I don't miss buying ridiculously over priced air in a can. My compressor has done right by me.

Puff
11-15-2010, 04:03 PM
just got a earlex - powerful vacum! Only problem is I had a dusty PC so I used the blower and this created a small mushroom cloud of dust in my workshop - everything now has a thin layer of dust on it - do you use the blower outside? or use some form of ventilation?

I ALWAYS take mine outside. Why anyone would blow out a computer inside their own shop is beyond me....that's just nasty when you think about what's all up inside peoples computers. Pet dander, skin flakes, dried up sneezes...etc.

Montrose Computers
11-23-2010, 11:21 PM
I use a Metro Data Vacuum ED500 Datavac Electric Duster. $45 on Amazon and works perfectly.
http://www.amazon.com/Metro-Vacuum-ED500-500-Watt-Electric/dp/B001J4ZOAW

http://images.highspeedbackbone.net/skuimages/large/M163-1040-main-sp.jpg

Montrose Computer Services
www.montrosecomputerservices.com

Wheelie
11-24-2010, 12:33 PM
We do the following on every machine that comes through the door:

For desktops we use a compressor in the shop @ 70 psi. We do not let the fans spin freely since the rpm's will quickly fry the bearing or bushing.

We also enforce wearing a simple face mask for the techs like you would in a paint booth.

The outsides of the cases are blown off as well then wiped down with microfiber cloths and also a cleanser if needed for scuffs and such.

Laptops get antibacterial wipes 1st and then a good wipedown with the microfiber cloths before returning to customers. If there is dust evident in the vent/heatsink we remove the cover and blow them out.

In the field we have small portable air tanks in the vehicles and take the PC's out to the van for cleaning.

We tried vacuums of many manufacturers but nothing works as well as the current process.

We need to start a thread with photos of the inside of cases - we have seen some real strange stuff come out of them.:eek:

Ditto. Every PC or laptop that comes in the door goes right out the back and gets blown out with a 6 HP Craftsman Shop Vac using a reducing nozzle for high velocity. If it is that really "sticky dust" it gets hit with 80 psi compressed air. We take a small shop vac (3 HP) on site and most PC's get taken outside the customer's facility or home and blown out in their driveway.

As mentioned above: do not allow fans to spin very fast for very long! Plastic sleeve bearings melt quickly!

Cambridge PC Support
11-24-2010, 01:06 PM
I use a Metro Data Vacuum ED500 Datavac Electric Duster. $45 on Amazon and works perfectly.
http://www.amazon.com/Metro-Vacuum-ED500-500-Watt-Electric/dp/B001J4ZOAW

http://images.highspeedbackbone.net/skuimages/large/M163-1040-main-sp.jpg

Montrose Computer Services
www.montrosecomputerservices.com

I've got one of these too, and they are fantastic!!!

about 70-odd in the UK

Wheelie
11-24-2010, 01:43 PM
I use a Metro Data Vacuum ED500 Datavac Electric Duster. $45 on Amazon and works perfectly.
http://www.amazon.com/Metro-Vacuum-E.../dp/B001J4ZOAW

I've got one of these too, and they are fantastic!!!

about 70-odd in the UK
Looks like a great product for on site work.

Cambridge PC Support
11-24-2010, 01:46 PM
Looks like a great product for on site work.

it is, but definitely an outside activity!

Also, remember to clean the filter sponge underneath each time you use it

and don't let the fans spin as they'll wear out!

pceinc
11-24-2010, 02:57 PM
Air compressor from Home Depot cost us about $79. Portable enough to take on-site too.

parker.casey
11-24-2010, 11:06 PM
I always, Always clean the computer inside and out, in detail. When a client takes it home, it looks like it did from the store - I'll usually even replace any small broken parts, and sometimes toss in some free RAM that they may or may not ever notice. I use an air compressor for the cleanup - it's a bigger up-front investment, and it saves big in the long run.

gazza
11-25-2010, 02:22 AM
I use a washing machine, just kidding.

I use a balloon pump and a paintbrush for dust removal and alcohol wipes for keyboards.

fixitdaz
11-25-2010, 09:26 AM
I always clean them up, a bit of spit and polish it looks good on you if a pc came in looking like sh*@t and leaves looking new or all most new.