DIY: How to clean your computer fan

09 July 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that our CPU was making a weird humming noise and noticed that the fan attached to the CPU case stopped working.  Now, ever since our motherboard expired last year due to dust and dirt, I've been conscious about cleaning the CPU regularly.  But I haven't had a chance to clean the actual fan unit.  So, I searched Google (of course!) for an easy to follow DIY video on cleaning CPU fans and I found one here and I proceeded to try it out for myself.

Now depending on your setup, you may need more or less other materials, but for me, I used a screwdriver to loosen the screws, all-purpose machine oil to grease the fan, a small rag, isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush for cleaning.  

Step 1:

Detach the case from the CPU (the fan I'm cleaning was attached to the case).  Remove the screws to detach the fan from the case.  Make sure you unplug the fan from your motherboard too.  

Step 2:  Once detached, lift the sticker on the middle of the fan to remove the cover protecting the washer that holds the fan propeller steady. Then, remove the washer very carefully (it's very small and can get lost so easily).  Once removed, set it aside so you can detach the fan propellers from the case and you can clean them separately.  See how dirty they both are?

Step 3:  On a small rag, pour a few drops of isopropyl alcohol and proceed to wipe down the blades until you remove all traces of dirt.  You can also use same rag (different area) to clean the internal part of the blade set.  See the difference now that it's clean?

Step 4:  Do the same thing to the other half of the fan setup.  I used a toothbrush to clean the corners too.  

Step 5:  Put a couple of drops of oil into the center of the fan assembly.  This will loosen the propeller and make it work smoothly.  

Step 6:  Slap the sticker back on and then proceed to re-attach the fan assembly to the CPU case. Plug it back on to your motherboard too (don't forget or it won't run).

After that's done, re-attach the CPU case to the CPU, then power the computer back on and check if your fan is working properly now.  It did! :)

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