How To Clean A Motherboard – Steps to Follow

Are you facing a thermal throttling issue on your desktop? Dust and grime are some of the main reasons behind it! If you don’t clean your motherboard at a proper time interval, then it might become a serious issue, and it can even damage the components, also. So, are you thinking of how to clean your motherboard? Don’t worry; we will guide you. Today, in this tutorial, we will discuss how to clean a motherboard.

When you go without cleaning your system for over a year, and your case or cabinet does not have great dust prevention measures, maybe the dust filter is not in place, then the motherboard or other components are covered in dust. Dust also covers the VRM heatsinks, chipset heatsink. Even, you will get dust on top of your PCI-Express slot; it gets fairly excessive. If you find something like this or maybe even dirtier, you might want to consider cleaning, and that is what this blog is for. No matter whether it is a cheap motherboard or a high end one it requires cleaning.

 So, you should start first with the VRM heatsinks and the Chipset heatsinks. You might have more than one VRM heatsink because if the heatsinks remain covered with dust, then it will be unable to dissipate the internal heat. If you have any plastic cover over the rear I/O ports, you should also remove that because this can get very grimy. But now the question is that how do you clean these things? What do you use? Well, we have discussed this in detail below.

Step By Step Procedure On How To Clean A Motherboard

  • Go to your desktop and shut it down, and unplug the power supply.
  • Open the cabinet and remove the motherboard from it and disassemble all the parts like CPU, GPU, RAM, etc.
  • Clean the whole motherboard and the other components like RAM sticks, GPU (if you have), heat sinks, and the rest of the parts by using compressed air spray.
  • Clean the CPU, PCIe slot, rear I/O slots, and the other parts which cannot be removed with compressed air spray with the isopropyl alcohol.
  • Clean the internal layer of the cabinet with a paper towel or soft brush or soft cloth.
  • Let the board and other components dry properly.
  • Reassemble all the parts and plug them into the power supply to check if it is working properly or not.

Detailed Steps On How To Clean The Motherboard After Removing It From Cabinet

1(I). Clean Using Compressed Air

For very basic cleaning purposes, air spray or air blower or the usage of compressed air is effective because it can clean most of the dry dust from any surface easily without damaging or affecting any of the components.

Now, you have to disassemble the parts that include removing the CPU and RAM; these are the two easiest things to remove on motherboards. After removing the CPU from the socket, you should reuse the socket cover if you have it because it will keep your socket clean. The next thing to remove will be the PCH heatsink. In your board, if there are any more heatsinks, then you can remove that also to deep clean, or if you are unable to dismantle the heatsinks from the board itself, then you can leave it as it is.

  • Now in every corner of the heatsink, you need to clean the dust particles with this compressed air spray.
  • After that comes the RAM sticks. These are also a very important part of your desktop. But generally, there is no hidden curve in the body of the sticks, so you can just clean the dust particles by using the air blower.
  • Now, you need to clean the whole motherboard, especially the DIMM socket, all of the PCIe sockets, every power connector, and all the capacitors’ dust particles by using the compressed air spray.

1(II). Clean using isopropyl alcohol

Well, you should start with some isopropyl alcohol. This stuff will be your friend for the entire process. It is not going to damage any of the components because there is no water. This alcohol evaporates very fast, and it is not conducive.

  • The air blower or the compressed air spray didn’t get rid of all of the dust and grime of the heat sink’s surface. To clean, inside the small little crevices of the heatsink’s, you have to use the narrow cotton swabs to apply the isopropyl alcohol.
  • Now, come to the CPU. Generally, there is a layer of old used thermal paste; you need to remove this first with a paper towel, then use the isopropyl alcohol with the narrow cotton swab to clean the upper surface properly.
  • Once you are done with the air spray to clean the whole motherboard that brings out the isopropyl alcohol and the narrow cotton swab and start scrubbing the areas that need it the most, like the PCIe slot, and then move on to the rear I/O panel, you not only want to clean the exteriors of each of the housings but also need to clean inside each of the ports with the isopropyl alcohol. It is not going to harm anything inside, but dust will get stuck in between the connection interfaces, and you should make sure that your board is thoroughly cleaned; of course, that includes these connections.

1(III). Cleaning larger surface with a paper towel

For cleaning larger surfaces or the internal layer of the cabinet, you can use paper towels or soft cloth. Sometimes, even toilet paper can be used for cleaning those things.  

Precautions While Cleaning The Motherboard

To deep clean your desktop, you need to keep in mind a few things. These are:

  • If your computer does have a service warranty, then it will be better if you give it to them for service.
  • Make sure that your computer is powered off properly and unplugged from the power supply.
  • Don’t use any tap water, instead of that use isopropyl alcohol as cleaning solvent.
  • Before plugging into the power supply, make sure that you dry the motherboard properly.
  • If you cannot do it yourself, then don’t try to be over smart; go to a professional service center. 
  • Don’t use hair dryer as cleaning solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I clean a Motherboard from dust and corrosion in the case of a laptop?

First, open the back panel and remove the battery from the laptop. Then remove the heatsink pipe and the cooling fan, clean all these properly. Then take a brush and try to clean the board. Don’t forget to clean the vent for heat dissipation and the sound system. Now you are done with it.

How do I clean a motherboard with water?

Don’t use tap water to clean any electronic device. If there is any type of moisture present in the board and you plugging it into the power supply, it can permanently damage your system.

Is it okay to use 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (the wipes used for medical purposes) to clean PC/laptop components, such as the motherboard?

Yeah, you can use an alcohol bath. 

Given a dirty motherboard, how best can we clean it?

We have described all the processes in detail. Please read our cleaning tutorial it will help you.


If you can dismantle all the parts and the motherboards yourself, then follow this above-mentioned step to keep your desktop clean. You should follow this cleaning method at least once a year. If you want then you can use the vacuum cleaner to clean as well. You will be amazed to know that this cleaning process will help you to increase the performance of your entire system because dust and grime in the heatsinks may cause thermal throttling. 

If you have any kind of doubts, feel free to comment down below and also let us know if the article has helped you or not.

Also, let us know in the comment section if this blog is helpful or not. Don’t forget to check out G-Prime every week for updates.

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