ESD safe way to clean cpu

Discussion in 'Computing and Networks' started by Taylor Moffitt, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. Taylor Moffitt

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 19, 2015
    I need to clean my CPU. Wouldn't a coffee filter cause static? What can I use that won't damage my CPU?

    And don't just say "I've been working on then for years and have never damaged anything", because we all know that's BS and you don't know that. Thanks!
  2. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    How exactly do you plan to use a coffee filter to clean a CPU? Are we talking a single chip or are we talking a motherboard? Are you OK with using chemicals that will damage your liver, kidneys, and endocrine system?
  3. OBW0549

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    I've had good result with Pledge Anti-Static Electronic Cleaning Spray.
  4. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 30, 2015
    What are you trying to remove? Dust, thermal paste, sticker residue, ??
  5. BR-549

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 22, 2013
    Exactly what are you calling a cpu?
  6. shteii01

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2010
    I just touch exposed metal of the case before I touch anything inside the case.
  7. BReeves


    Nov 24, 2012
    I leave the power cord plugged in so the case is grounded and keep one hand on the case when I am doing anything on or close to a component.

    To clean the dust out I use my air compressor and a blow gun. Use a pencil to prevent the fans turning.

    Paper towel works fine for cleaning the grease off the CPU.
  8. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    Wait for a day with greater than 50% humidity. Damn near impossible for static to build up in high humidity environments
  9. tom_s


    Jun 27, 2014
    been doing that for decades. only way to get rid of the accumulation (dust)
  10. Natakel

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 11, 2008
    Do you mean cleaning old thermal paste off the top of a CPU? Or cleaning a PC case of dust?

    If thermal paste, a paper towel damp with some isopropyl alcohol (I use 85%) works a treat . . . that will also remove any fingerprint grease which can interfere with heat transfer. Just make sure the towel is just damp, not soaked.

    As mentioned above, compressed air works well for blowing the dust out of a case, and as mentioned use something to keep the fan blades from turning or the compressed air will send them spinning faster than their design specifications and you will destroy them or drastically reduce their operational life. I do this outside, of course. If your PC was in a cigarette environment you may find the leading edges of the fan blades have a dust and tar like mixture which can interfere with air flow. Cotton swabs dampened with isopropyl alcohol work well for this also.

    As always, touch the computer case frame before mucking about inside a computer . . . static electricity can kill components. I saw someone say they leave the computer plugged in so it's grounded. I personally do not recommend this, as even when a computer is turned off the board still has powered circuits. Unplug the computer, and then hold the ON switch down for a few seconds, or until the motherboard LED goes out (if equipped). Then touch the metal frame of the PC before manipulating anything in the case. Try not to move your feet, and if you need to walk away, remember to ground yourself again.
  11. shteii01

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2010
    To be fair, they might have On/Off switch on the power supply. So they turn power supply off, there is no power to motherboard, and leave the power cord plugged in to provide connection to ground. Also very often these days the mobo has standby light so you can see that mobo gets power.

    I have had both kinds of power supply, some with switch and some without.
    Natakel likes this.
  12. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
    Ground yourself to the same as the CPU is grounded to before handling it, you can breathe on it just as you would for cleaning spectacles - some of the moisture in your breath condenses on the package and dissipates static.

    PCBs have been assembled with water soluble flux since the solvents were banned to save the ozone layer - they're washed in water, and there's no reason you can't use the same method. Dishwash detergent is very useful as long as you completely rinse it off after - the thickening agent is salt.

    If its really dirty - there could be enough leakage between pins to protect it. The real danger is drying it and handling it when its completely clean.