How to Clean Laptop Motherboards

by Charles Pearson
laptop image by Angie Lingnau from

Various problems can cause a laptop to malfunction. Over time, dust will eventually seep into a laptop and stick to the laptop motherboard, which is essentially the computer's brain. Dust build-up can damage the motherboard. These particles can have a corrosive effect on the motherboard's circuitry, which can slow-down or even freeze computer performance. Fortunately, you can clean the laptop's motherboard by spraying compressed air. However, you'll need to take precautions not to damage the inner components while cleaning your laptop.

Step 1

Turn the laptop off and unplug it.

Step 2

Remove the laptop battery.

Step 3

Remove the screws on the bottom of the laptop that secure the two panels.

Step 4

Locate the motherboard. The motherboard is a large panel with many small wires and components on top of it.

Step 5

Hold in an upright position a can of compressed air .

Step 6

Spray air on the motherboard using the compressed air. Blow the dust particles away from the motherboard and out of the laptop. Avoid blowing the dust further into the laptop.

Step 7

Put the panels back on the laptop.

Step 8

Fasten the screws on the panel. Make sure that they are tight.

Step 9

Put the battery back into the laptop.

Step 10

Plug the laptop back in.

Turn on the laptop. Test the laptop to verify that it is functioning properly.


  • There is a high risk of an electrostatic discharge when working on the inside of a computer, such as when cleaning the motherboard. Static electricity can shock the computer repairer and can also damage and permanently ruin electronic components. You can reduce the threat of electrostatic discharge by not wearing clothing that generally generates static electricity, by unplugging all power cords and by standing while working on the computer. In addition, you should discharge yourself by touching an unpainted metal object.
  • Not holding the compressed air can upright can cause chemicals to leak out of the can and damage the motherboard.


  • Blow air into the fans and heat sinks. Dust and hair frequently accumulate in these components and can cause the laptop to overheat.
  • You can also clean your laptop motherboard using a portable vacuum. However, high-powered vacuums with jumpers can generate static electricity that can damage laptop components.
  • If the laptop is still functioning slowly after a thorough cleaning, there might be another problem with it.


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About the Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer since 2009. He has a B.S. in literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written the ebooks "Karate You Can Teach Your Kids," "Macadamia Growing Handout" and "The Raw Food Diet."

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