How to Clean a Laptop Fan

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Mili asked: How do I clean an overheating laptop fan? I can’t find specific information as to how to clean the fans with compressed air. I need clear, basic, step-by-step instructions. Thank you for your time.

The laptop fan is an important component to keep well maintained. It prevents the computer from overheating, which can lead to damage. Cleaning the fan can be done at home with a few simple steps. There are professional services that will also complete the job for you, but why spend the cash when you can do it right at home.

You Will Need:

  • Screwdriver (check the types of screws under your computer to determine which type/size)
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Compressed air
  • Soft paintbrush
  • Plastic baggies
  • Marker
  • Owner’s manual (optional)

Steps to Clean the Fan:

Warning, this WILL void your warranty. The following instructions are generic. They will not work for all laptops as they are all different. You should first attempt to find a guide to disassembling your particular laptop before blindly following these steps as they may damage your computer. In other words, if you don’t know what you are doing, you’re better off paying a pro to do it for you.

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Unplug the power source and remove the battery.
  3. Begin by removing the RAM cover. This is often located near the battery and is held in place with screws. If you are unsure of where it is located on your computer, consult your owner’s manual.
  4. Remove the screws and place them in a plastic bag.
  5. Label the plastic bag with a marker so you will know which screws go where when it’s time to put everything back.
  6. Once all the screws are removed, carefully open the cover. Lift it gently. If it does not open, check for any missed screws. Do NOT force it open.
  7. Set the cover off to the side with the bag of screws.
  8. Next, remove the screws to the fan.
  9. Again, place them in a plastic bag and label it appropriately.
  10. Find your fan and use the cotton balls and cotton swabs to very carefully wipe any dirt, dust or debris from the fan blades. A clean, soft paintbrush also works well to wipe away dust and dirt build-up.
  11. Use compressed air to dislodge any fiber particles. Simply point the nozzle at the dust filled area and release the air.
  12. Turn the laptop over to allow any loose debris to fall out.
  13. Once all of the dirt and dust is removed, replace the screws in the fan.
  14. Return the RAM cover and replace all of the removed screws.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Some use a vacuum to remove dirt and dust from the computer. Most household vacuums and dustbusters have a suction that is too strong and may damage the delicate inner workings of the computer. However, there are special hand-held vacuums made specifically for cleaning computers and other electronic equipment. The suction is strong enough to remove the dirt without damaging the interior components.
  • If your computer continues to overheat after cleaning the fan, consider purchasing a cooling pad. These are special pads that are placed underneath the laptop to keep it from overheating.
  • Ensure the air path through the entire computer is clean. If the fan is clean, but the air has nowhere to go, it could still overheat.

Comments

  1. Megan says:

    I remember looking this up months ago and today I decided to clean my laptop fan. I carefully took out the battery, AC adapter, and USB mouse as I began to unscrew the backdoor case carefully and placed the screws on a table next to me. I carefully began to clean the dust bunnies out of the fan and other places using a lint cloth of two different kinds, a pointless needle to scoop out the dust bunnies in the fan vent and a little brush to clean it out. I was being careful each step of the way. Then I placed the case back on, screwed it on and voila-my laptop is much cleaner now. :D To be honest, it was the first time I ever did that-and the last, unless it needs to be cleaned again 2-4 years later. My laptop is four years old and I want her to stick around for a long time.

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