Canned air, often sold in grocery stores as compressed gas dusters, has become popular in households as an easier way to clean PC fans, keyboards, and other devices that have plenty of crevices that are difficult to reach with normal cleaning methods.
But can we use canned air in place of other cleaning methods? Is canned air safe to use on our PCs? In this article, we look at the issue and help you decide if it’s right for you.
Canned air, or duster, is a tool used to blow out dust particles inside PCs and other electronics. Canned air is quite literally compressed gas in a canister that you release by depressing a button. The cans are typically filled with either carbon dioxide (CO2) or nitrogen (N2).
The former is often preferred because it doesn’t leave behind any residue after it evaporates, whereas N2 leaves behind water vapor when it’s released. Although both CO2 and N2 are considered harmless to humans, they should be handled with care as they can cause frostbite if not used properly.
It’s important to note that many of these products contain flammable ingredients such as butane or propane, so use caution if you intend on spraying them near an open flame.
Is canned air OK for PC?
Air is an invaluable part of your office or household computer setup. Aside from keeping dust particles out of sensitive internal components, clean airflow makes a difference in overall system stability and cooling capacity.
But what if you don’t have any compressed air handy, or it’s not powerful enough to do an adequate job on stubborn grime build-up? Try canned air instead! But is canned air okay for PC and other electronics? Let’s find out.
Is Canned Air Good Enough For Computer Dusting? With a can of pressurized air, you can blast away all kinds of grime that ordinary vacuum cleaners miss, but how well does canned air work when it comes to cleaning computers and other electronics?
The short answer is that while a soft nylon brush works better than pressurized air alone (and some brushes even allow you to connect them directly to cans), canned air should be good enough for most people.
That said, using canned air sideways or upside down on high-end computer hardware or any equipment with sensitive internal components isn’t recommended, it will rather spray liquid which is not good for your components.
If your system has moving parts, such as fans or hard drives, be careful not to spray too much air in one place at once, instead, focus on smaller areas like individual vents and openings.
Also avoid spraying any electrical device with an open flame nearby, if possible, keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case. In addition, always read product instructions before using canned air on any electronic device.
Even if your particular model says it’s safe to use, there may still be specific precautions to take, for example, some models might need extra care around LCD screens or other fragile components.
How to use Canned Air Safely
Whether you’re dealing with dust buildup inside a desktop tower or trying to clean out keyboard keys, follow these steps for safe and effective canned air usage:
- Make sure nothing flammable is near your target device, not only will it help prevent fires, but it also reduces the chances of static electricity discharge causing damage.
- Do not plug anything into a wall outlet until after you’ve finished cleaning. Always turn off your target device before blasting it with canned air.
- Hold the can upright, never sideways or upside down, doing so will spray the liquid that was only kept liquefied by the high pressure inside the can.
- Don’t point the nozzle at the face or eyes and do not inhale fumes while blasting away dust bunnies.
- Keep the nozzle about 12 inches away from the surface to be cleaned, and hold steady for several seconds on each area of grime to make sure no dirt remains stuck in crevices.
Remember that canned air won’t fix everything, it’s best used for removing large chunks of dust, hair, lint, and pet fur from keyboards, monitors, and other surfaces.
If your goal is to remove every last speck of dirt from your equipment, you might want to consider investing in a professional-grade vacuum cleaner instead.
Is it safe to use canned air to clean a computer?
Yes, it is safe to use canned air to clean a computer. The only thing you need to worry about is making sure that you are using a can of compressed air that has been manufactured for cleaning electronics. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting some liquid into your computer and damaging it.
When you buy canned air, make sure that it says canned air on the label and not just air or duster. This will ensure that there is no liquid in it.
If there is any kind of warning on the label such as Do not spray in eyes or something similar then do not use it because it contains liquids that could damage your computer component if you accidentally spray it sideways onto your components.
However, if you are careful and follow these instructions properly then canned air should be perfectly fine for cleaning out dust from inside your computer.
You can also use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment designed specifically for vacuuming computers but they tend to be more expensive than canned air and they require extra care to avoid damaging sensitive components while vacuuming them out.
Is compressed air bad for electronics?
No, not at all. However, you need to be careful about what kind of compressed air you use. There are two types: filtered and unfiltered. Filtered compressed air is safe to use on electronics, while unfiltered compressed air will cause damage over time.
Generally speaking, compressed air is safe to use on electronics as long as you turn the electronic device off. However, there are many ways to clean your computer and other devices without using compressed air.
If you use an aerosol can of compressed air, it’s important to know that these are actually made up of chemicals like propane, isobutane, and other volatile hydrocarbons. This means that prolonged exposure could lead to chemical burns on your equipment.
However, if you have just used an aerosol can once in a while to clean out your keyboard or blow away some cobwebs from your desk, there shouldn’t be any lasting damage done. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when cleaning with compressed air though; try using a vacuum cleaner instead
Yes, it’s safe to use canned air as a general clean-up/maintenance tool for your computer. However, be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions when using it on sensitive components such as integrated circuits and LCD screens. If you want to make absolutely certain that you’re not damaging any of your equipment, consider investing in an air compressor with an adjustable nozzle.