Really Confused with the Proper Way to Get Rid of Dust from the Inside of My MacBook

qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
Hi there everyone,

I've got a MacBook 4,1 (early 2008) which hasn't been cleaned on the inside since I bought it, yet it has surprisingly survived 9 years of heavy usage. Planning to upgrade the ram and get an SSD drive, but before doing that, I want to clean it cause I've grown tired of hearing the fans spinning every time I use Photoshop or GarageBand.

I was looking up online how to DIY this and I've come across three die-hard camps who plain and simply reject each others methods. That's:

(a) People who only advise to use a vacuum, cause "compressed air will spray liquid on the hardware parts, or it will simply push the dust to places you can hardly remove it from".
(b) People who only use a compressed air can, cause "vacuum creates static which will fry your hardware".
(c) People who unscrew the fans and only use a brush to clean them, but I'm still unsure how they even manage to take out all the remaining dust from the inside of their MacBooks.

Anyone willing to shed some light here? Really confused right now. What should I do? Btw, I'm not OCD, just trying to clean my computer.

Also, would you advise me to clean the fans or just buy new ones and replace them? Either way I'll clean my MacBook's inside though, cause I bet it has to be reaaally dusty in there after 9 years.

Any insight is welcome guys. Thank you very much for your time. :)
 

RichardC300

macrumors 65816
Sep 27, 2012
1,231
96
Chapel Hill, NC
Hold the fans steady with your finger, and do short bursts of compressed air aimed at the fans. Holding the fan steady will prevent the compressed air from spinning and potentially damaging the fan and will remove more dust.
 

qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
Hold the fans steady with your finger, and do short bursts of compressed air aimed at the fans. Holding the fan steady will prevent the compressed air from spinning and potentially damaging the fan and will remove more dust.
Thank you for your response, Richard. Is this how you do it, yourself, or is this just a suggestion? Also, what about the remaining parts of my MacBook's inside?
 

RichardC300

macrumors 65816
Sep 27, 2012
1,231
96
Chapel Hill, NC
Thank you for your response, Richard. Is this how you do it, yourself, or is this just a suggestion? Also, what about the remaining parts of my MacBook's inside?
This is how I've done it in all my laptops. I wouldn't sweat the rest of the places inside the MacBook, but if you see huge dust bunnies, it wouldn't hurt to give that area a quick burst to get most of the dust out.
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,319
1,042
Hi there everyone,

I've got a MacBook 4,1 (early 2008) which hasn't been cleaned on the inside since I bought it, yet it has surprisingly survived 9 years of heavy usage. Planning to upgrade the ram and get an SSD drive, but before doing that, I want to clean it cause I've grown tired of hearing the fans spinning every time I use Photoshop or GarageBand.

I was looking up online how to DIY this and I've come across three die-hard camps who plain and simply reject each others methods. That's:

(a) People who only advise to use a vacuum, cause "compressed air will spray liquid on the hardware parts, or it will simply push the dust to places you can hardly remove it from".
(b) People who only use a compressed air can, cause "vacuum creates static which will fry your hardware".
(c) People who unscrew the fans and only use a brush to clean them, but I'm still unsure how they even manage to take out all the remaining dust from the inside of their MacBooks.

Anyone willing to shed some light here? Really confused right now. What should I do? Btw, I'm not OCD, just trying to clean my computer.

Also, would you advise me to clean the fans or just buy new ones and replace them? Either way I'll clean my MacBook's inside though, cause I bet it has to be reaaally dusty in there after 9 years.

Any insight is welcome guys. Thank you very much for your time. :)
a. unless you use an ESD vacuum, like a DataVac, there is risk of electrostatic buildup with this method. In fact, I've seen some of my customers damage voltage regulators on servers because they used a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner to vacuum dust out of the inside of a system. So, yes, regular vacuums do create static. Using the proper vacuum, though, is ok.

Using an ESD vacuum is not cheap. Looking at potentially hundreds of dollars for the unit just to clean a laptop every once in a blue moon. Some may view this as not economically feasible.

b. compressed air is the most common, safe method. It's cheaper than buying a vacuum, but more expensive than just brushing things. Will get more dust out than brushing too. You can get little powered blowers too, to negate the ongoing cost of having to buy new cans of compressed air.

c. brushing is definitely the cheapest, but also the least likely to get the most dirt and dust out.

Personally, I just use cans of compressed air. I'd also replace the fans if they were 9 years old, but it might be hard to actually find any fans for such an old system (or at least quality fans anyway.)
 

qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
This is how I've done it in all my laptops. I wouldn't sweat the rest of the places inside the MacBook, but if you see huge dust bunnies, it wouldn't hurt to give that area a quick burst to get most of the dust out.
Would you be kind enough to link me the exact compressed air cans you use, so I can buy them as well?
[doublepost=1489262847][/doublepost]
a. unless you use an ESD vacuum, like a DataVac, there is risk of electrostatic buildup with this method. In fact, I've seen some of my customers damage voltage regulators on servers because they used a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner to vacuum dust out of the inside of a system. So, yes, regular vacuums do create static. Using the proper vacuum, though, is ok.

Using an ESD vacuum is not cheap. Looking at potentially hundreds of dollars for the unit just to clean a laptop every once in a blue moon. Some may view this as not economically feasible.

b. compressed air is the most common, safe method. It's cheaper than buying a vacuum, but more expensive than just brushing things. Will get more dust out than brushing too. You can get little powered blowers too, to negate the ongoing cost of having to buy new cans of compressed air.

c. brushing is definitely the cheapest, but also the least likely to get the most dirt and dust out.

Personally, I just use cans of compressed air. I'd also replace the fans if they were 9 years old, but it might be hard to actually find any fans for such an old system (or at least quality fans anyway.)
Thank you very much for your detailed response, duervo.

(a) I see. Yeah, I guess I'll avoid investing too much money for this.

(b) I gather you're very experienced with this. Could you please link me the exact cans you, yourself, use so I can buy them for myself as well?

Also, as far as the fans are concerned I think I've found several of them on eBay, to be honest. Would you suggest to only buy official Apple fans, or unofficial ones should be okay as well, as long as they're new?
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,319
1,042

qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
That's the brand I use. I get them as a 6-pack of 12oz cans at Costco for around $28.

Metropolitan Vacuum, the company that makes the ESD vacuums, also makes electric compressed air blowers. They cost around $100, depending on where you go. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...Vac_ED_500_DataVac_Electric_Duster_Model.html

(All prices I listed are in $CDN.)

That's great, you guys, thanks a lot. :)
 

qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
That's the brand I use. I get them as a 6-pack of 12oz cans at Costco for around $28.

Metropolitan Vacuum, the company that makes the ESD vacuums, also makes electric compressed air blowers. They cost around $100, depending on where you go. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...Vac_ED_500_DataVac_Electric_Duster_Model.html

(All prices I listed are in $CDN.)

Sorry, to bump this thread again but someone told me about rocket ship blowers, like this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Kingjoy-R...s-Sensor-Clean-Cleaning-Cleaner-/252446646927

Do you guys know anything about it? What's your opinion?

It's supposed to not accidentally squirt liquid residue (unlike the compressed air spray cans) but I'm not sure how effective it is; meaning does it even blow as hard as a spray can will?
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,181
12,065
Europe
Sorry, to bump this thread again but someone told me about rocket ship blowers, like this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Kingjoy-R...s-Sensor-Clean-Cleaning-Cleaner-/252446646927

Do you guys know anything about it? What's your opinion?

It's supposed to not accidentally squirt liquid residue (unlike the compressed air spray cans) but I'm not sure how effective it is; meaning does it even blow as hard as a spray can will?
I've seen those used for getting one spec of dust off a camera lense. I don't think they generate enough air movement to really clean the caked-on dust most laptops have.

I wouldn't worry about the "liquid" that comes out of compressed air cans. It's not water, and it evaporates really quickly. Like, mere seconds. These cans don't actually have air, but gases that are easily compressed into a liquid. Most use tetrafluoroethane as the liquid/gas, including the Dust-Off brand you were linked. This gas/liquid does not affect circuitry at all, and it disappears into the air almost instantly. Just don't get any on your hands, as it comes out extremely cold and can cause frost-bite.
 

qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
I've seen those used for getting one spec of dust off a camera lense. I don't think they generate enough air movement to really clean the caked-on dust most laptops have.

I wouldn't worry about the "liquid" that comes out of compressed air cans. It's not water, and it evaporates really quickly. Like, mere seconds. These cans don't actually have air, but gases that are easily compressed into a liquid. Most use tetrafluoroethane as the liquid/gas, including the Dust-Off brand you were linked. This gas/liquid does not affect circuitry at all, and it disappears into the air almost instantly. Just don't get any on your hands, as it comes out extremely cold and can cause frost-bite.
Thank you for your response.
 
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