Over time, dust and dirt build up inside your laptop; thereby, restricting airflow, increasing heat, and putting a strain on your laptop’s fans. A hot laptop is not a happy laptop. In fact, most modern processors (CPUs) reduce their clock speed when temperatures get close to 80C (think of it as a “survival mode” for your CPU), which is generally accepted as the highest temperature you should let your CPU reach. The dirtier the airways in your laptop, the quicker your CPU’s temperature can jump to dangerous levels—especially when the airways are further restricted by a pillow, your jeans etc.
To help stop your laptop overheating, consider clearing the channels by which air is designed to flow through your hardware. This guide provides a few tips to help you keep your laptop’s airways free of dust and dirt.
I use 3M “Dust Remover” but any can of compressed air should work. Here are a few more I saw at a local store:
- I don’t recommend using an air compressor as many air compressors are too powerful and may do damage to your laptop’s internals.
- A small can of compressed air goes a long way. Spray a little, check the airway and spray a little more if necessary.
- Don’t spray too closely. Compressed air is cold air and cold air in contact with your laptop’s surface may lower the temperature enough for condensation to form (looks like white powder.) It’s quite possible you could go so far over the top that a small amount of condensation can reside until power up time and cause a short.
- Test the can before hand to ensure the air is clean and no dirt is stuck in the nozzle.
- Before using compressed air, your laptop should be off with no power source. Follow steps 1 & 2 below to be completely safe. You might not do any damage while your PC is running but is it really worth the risk?
- Resist the urge to permanently remove case panels from your laptop (not as easy to do as a desktop.) I’ve seen countless desktops with no case side. By removing panels, you disturb the convection system and impede airflow, which will probably make any heat problems worse.
Clean Your Laptop with Compressed Air
Please read the notes listed above before following the steps below. To clean your laptop with compressed air:
1. Shut down your laptop, remove the power cable, and remove the battery
2. Hold the power button for a few seconds to remove any residual power from your laptop’s components
3. Hold the can 10 cm (4 inches) from your laptop’s first vent and blast air through the vent
If you have two vents on the corners (like they are on my laptop in the screenshot), aim the spray through both vents (i.e. at a 45 degree angle to the laptop) to get the most dust out
4. Wipe away any dust trapped on the exit vents
That’s it. Your laptop will thank you for it and your hardware will last longer because it’s not overheating and your fans are not bearing any unnecessary load.