A graphics card is a crucial computer component, especially for games and content creators. It renders and displays images and videos on a computer’s monitor. Over time, dust and dirt can accumulate on a graphics card, which can affect its performance and cause it to run hot. Cleaning a graphics card is a simple task that can help maintain its performance and extend its lifespan. A clean, dust-free graphics card can perform way better than a dirty one since it can better maintain optimal temperature, overclock, and get the most out of itself.

This is the reason behind writing this article. This tutorial will cover how to clean a graphics card and gives you an abroad cleaning approach to keep it in top shape. Three different types of cleaning methods are added in this article for three different scenarios. Simple cleaning is for routine GPU maintenance, using compressed air and sometimes a clean, dry towel. But the other two methods, deep and extreme cleaning, are helpful for a filthy card. Read this post until the end to explore all the methods, necessary steps, cautions, and more. Let’s read!

Tools needed for cleaning a graphics card

Multiple tools are needed to safely and properly clean a graphics card. All the tools that we’ll use in this article to clean your graphics card in three different ways are given as follow:

  • A screwdriver: A screwdriver may be used when cleaning a graphics card to remove the screws that hold the graphics card in place inside the computer’s case. But it’s essential to use the correct size and type of screwdriver to avoid damaging the screws or the graphics card. Once the screws are removed, you can carefully lift the graphics card out of the computer to clean it.
  • Heated compressed air: A compressed air can is a helpful tool for cleaning a graphics card because it can blast away dust and dirt from hard-to-reach areas. The high-pressure air can help remove stubborn dirt, and debris stuck in small crevices or corners on the graphics card.
  • Cotton swabs (Q-tips): Q-tips, also known as cotton swabs, can be used to clean a graphics card because they are small and have a soft, absorbent cotton tip that can easily reach small crevices and corners on the graphics card. Q-tips can also be used to apply the cleaning solution to the graphics card and wipe away dirt and dust.
  • Isopropyl alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol evaporates quickly and does not leave any residue behind, making it a safe and practical choice for cleaning electronic components. It’s essential to use high-quality, pure isopropyl alcohol when cleaning a graphics card to ensure that it does not leave any contaminants that could harm the card.
  • A cleaning cloth: A lint-free cloth is made of a smooth, non-abrasive material that will not leave any lint or fibers behind when used to wipe down the card. This makes it an effective and safe choice for cleaning a graphics card. Be sure to use a clean portion of the cloth for each pass to prevent dirt from spreading around.
  • A tub that can accommodate the graphics card: Using a tub filled with isopropyl alcohol can be an excellent way to clean a graphics card because it allows you to fully submerge the card in the cleaning solution. This can be particularly effective at removing dirt and grime that may be difficult to remove with a cloth or brush. Additionally, the alcohol will quickly evaporate, reducing the risk of liquid damage to the card.
  • A soft brush, etc., makeup brush: A soft brush can sweep away dust and dirt accumulated on the card and can be particularly effective at removing debris from small crevices and corners. Using a clean, dry brush when cleaning a graphics card is essential to avoid spreading dirt or moisture.

How to clean a graphics card?

This post section discussed three methods to clean a graphics card for three different GPU conditions. The basic cleaning is for regular graphics card maintenance, deep cleaning is helpful for a slightly dirtier card, and extreme cleaning is for a graphics card that had stopped working due to dust. Know your graphics card’s external and internal situation, choose the required cleaning method, and follow it step-by-step using this article. Let’s explore the three ways!

Basic cleaning method

The basic cleaning method is for regular graphics card cleaning, with little dust on the graphics card. In this method, we will not remove the graphics card from the motherboard or computer. Instead, we will only remove the PC case or one of its sides to access the graphics card and blow the dust away. The steps for this method are given as follows:

Step 1Make the cleaning equipment ready.

  • In the basic cleaning method, we’ll use the lint-free clock, the can of compressed air, and the screwdriver. Gather these tools before going into the next step.

Step 2Take the necessary steps to properly access the graphics card.

  • Turn off your computerremove the power connector from the wall socket, and open the PC case or side by unscrewing the screws.
  • Since we’ll use the compressed air can nozzle to clean the graphics card, ensure that no other components like wire are coming into view.

Step 3Blow the dust away and clean the graphics card.

  • Point the pressurized air nozzle at the graphics card’s fans. Squirt them with air in brief spurts to clear the dust. You can move the nozzle from the top to the bottom to blow any dust off the card.
  • For the basic cleaning level, there shouldn’t be anything sticky or durable on the card, making removal easy. Suppose there is any. In such a case, use a soft towel to gently wipe away any sticky messes. 
  • To remove the dust that the cloth cleaning loosened, blow it away with compressed air.
  • Use the compressed air to blow out any dust inside the computer case or other components. You can complete it more quickly and without spreading it by working from top to bottom.

Step 4Re-assemble the wires, PC case, etc.

  • Once you have completed the cleaning process, it’s time to re-assemble your computer and its components.
  • Connect the wires you removed to access the graphics card, install the PC case or its one side, activate the PSU switch, and then turn on the computer.

Deep cleaning process

Deep cleaning a graphics card is the second method on the list, which is applicable when there is a bit more dust on or inside the graphics card that can’t be cleaned just by blowing compressed air. You would have to remove the graphics card from the computer and clean it outside of the computer. The steps for this method are included as follows:

Step 1Gather the required tools and equipment.

  • We’ll use a screwdriver99 percent pure isopropyl alcohollint-free cotton swabs, a soft brush, and compressed air.
  • Gather all the tools and keep them near you so you can access them whenever required.

Step 2Remove the graphics card from the computer.

  • Turn off your computerremove the power connector from the wall socket, and open the PC case or side by unscrewing the screws.
  • After that, completely unplug the GPU from the computer, unlink it from the PC case by removing its screw, and pull the expansion slot lever or retention clip.

Step 3Clean the blowable dust using the compressed air and brush.

  • Even if you want to remove the card, clean the outside first. Blow compressed air on one side of the card to eliminate the dust.
  • Blow compressed air across the reverse side of the card after turning it over. Take your time and focus on the areas with clear dust because compressed air works best when it comes into direct touch.
  • Apply pressurized air to the card’s top and bottom. Do not disregard the sides. You should sweep up any dust you detect before opening it.
  • Slide the small brush slowly and softly between the heatsink’s fins. Do your best to remove any dust hiding in the tight areas, but avoid using force. It ought to be released soon.

Step 4Use isopropyl alcohol to clean the smudged dust.

  • Take a small amount of alcohol on the cotton swab or round it. Don’t take too much of it since it’s not necessary. You want it to be only slightly damp, not dripping.
  • Start wiping the dust with wet cotton swabs that the compressed air can’t remove with cotton. Look for places that need to be wiped away from the card.a
  • Use compressed air to blow off any remaining dust hiding inside the GPU’s body.

Note: I don’t suggest opening the graphics card in this method. But you can do so if necessary and clean the internal correctly. 

Extreme cleaning here

The last and final is the extreme cleaning method. This isn’t recommended for all the users who want to clean the graphics. This is because it’s only applicable when your graphics card has stopped working due to extreme dust. Suppose your graphics card is dirty but still working. In such a case, you must use the basic or deep cleaning methods. The steps for the extreme cleaning method are given as follows:

Step 1Remove the graphics card from the computer.

  • The first step for extreme cleaning is the same as step#2 of the deep cleaning method.
  • Turn off your computerremove the power connector from the wall socket, and open the PC case or side by unscrewing the screws.
  • After that, completely unplug the GPU from the computer, unlink it from the PC case by removing its screw, and pull the expansion slot lever or retention clip.

Step 2Set up the essential equipment for use.

  • Get a tub big enough to fit the GPU, enough isopropyl alcohol to cover it completely, a soft-bristled brush, and cotton swabs.
  • Put the Isopropyl alcohol into the tub. Additionally, you can preserve a little bit and set it aside to clean the hardware’s screws and other components.

Step 3Disassemble the graphics card and start cleaning it.

  • Remove the screws and other minor parts, then disassemble the GPU.
  • Submerge the GPU in the alcohol solution. Keep it submerged for at least an hour.
  • In the interim, you can use the alcohol you saved to dip the smaller hardware, such as screws. After cleaning them with the brush and alcohol, leave them aside to dry.

Step 4Complete the rest of the cleaning process.

  • Take the GPU out of the isopropyl solution. Use a soft brush and cotton swabs carefully to clean up the dirt or filth from the card. When necessary, rinse it with alcohol to get rid of the muck. When finished, thoroughly rinse the card in isopropyl.
  • Clean the tub after throwing the used alcohol away. Dry it, then add clean isopropyl to replace the alcohol.
  • Soak the card in the isopropyl for an additional hour or overnight, depending on how muddy it is. Once again, clean the card, getting into the fans and the heatsink grill with the brush.
  • Give the card an isopropyl wash.

Step 5Give the final touches.

  • After the final wash, give the card at least 48 hours to dry. Many may argue that it’s safe sooner, and they’re probably right - but it’s never a bad idea to err on the side of caution.
  • Connect the card, reassemble everything, connect the power, and turn on the computer.
  • Test the GPU.

Conclusion

Graphic cards are much easier to clean than they look. All you need to do the job is the right approach and cleaning supplies. When Should You Clean a Graphics Card? The use and construction quality of the graphics card will determine this. You should clean your video card frequently every six months if you’re an average gamer who doesn’t put performance and dependability in danger. This video card cleaning will extend your card’s life and enhance its performance. I hope this article will be beneficial for you.

Abdullah Sarfraz
Myself Abdullah Sarfraz and I am an SEO. My hobby is reviewing the latest tech-related products. For the past few years, I am working on amazon affiliated sites therefore, I came to know my interest and chose this field, now I have good experience in it.