Is it ok to use an air compressor to clean the dust from the motherboard, from the cooling fans and from the radiators?

If yes, then what kind of air compressors are recommended? Are the tire inflators good for the job?

  • 1
    I wouldn't use one for inflating tyres. There are many 'computer-dedicated' compressors available. Tyres need gradual inflation to a maximum pressure, cleaners need 'speed of air'. The two are not necessarily interchangeable.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 27 '21 at 18:43

Depending on the humidity of your location. In general it’s not a good idea to use an air compressor because of the moisture in the air which could get onto all the components of the computer. If you were in a location where the air is super dry (under 10% humidity) it would probably be fine but it’s best to use canned air. Canned air is made from dehumidified air so it won’t corrode any of the components.

Personally I would just use canned air. It’s not worth the risk of damaging your components.

  • The humidity is very low in my area. I found a cheap compressor on Amazon - Akface Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor - amazon.com/dp/B07SD4GMV6 - 150 PSI - does this have enough power to clean dust from surfaces?
    – Joe Jobs
    Jun 24 '21 at 21:27
  • 1
    This answer is badly misleading. If there's humidity in the air, it's already been absorbed by any dust. Blasting compressed air at it of the same humidity is not going to make the slightest difference to its effectiveness.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 27 '21 at 18:38

I'd been hesitant about switching from shop vac to air duster because of risk of static discharge; but eventually reasoned that if my precautions with my vac were sufficient, then an air duster had to be similar.

I keep my computers plugged into a good earth but no power whilst cleaning. I spray my vac/blower with anti-stat [In the UK Mr Sheen is great for that. If you live elsewhere then you want the one that used to be advertised as not letting dust stick to your old CRT television, back in the day.]

After some research, I ended up with this X-Power {Amazon UK link} as being "the cheapest of the good ones". You can pay a lot more.
It maybe feels expensive at $£€ 50, but compared to a can of compressed air at 10 - 15 which will last for a couple of cleans & never be as powerful, you've got one that should last a lifetime.

It cleans a machine in seconds not minutes, but beware… either do it outdoors or at least by an open window, or you'll spend the rest of the day dusting & vacuuming the room.
Also, received wisdom is to not let it spin your fans up too fast. I've never had a problem with this, but don't let your blower nozzle touch a fan it's spun up. That results in fan blades everywhere ;)

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