How to Clean GPU Fans?

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When was the last time you cleaned the interior of your computer? I suppose never or ages ago. Amid our busy routine, we often forget that our surroundings, gadgets, devices, every single item needs to be cleaned to boost their durability. When we talk about the interior, the graphics cards are one of the core parts of the computer that demand cleaning. The majority of the users are unaware of how to clean GPU fans and that’s where the problem lies.

The constant, strange vibrations you hear from your computer, it’s a yearning cry for help. Pc maintenance goes beyond keeping the computer’s system updated and free from viruses. Unfortunately, many electronic users do not realize the significance of keeping the computer components clean.

If you notice a dense layer of dust build-up at the bottom of your PC’s interior, it’s a sign to make cleaning a ritual. Frequent cleaning of your device, especially the integral components such as the GPU fans, will not only increase its longevity but majorly benefit you in the long run. Hence, in this guide, we shall introduce the best tips on how to make your computer’s GPU fans shine!

How to Clean GPU fans: The Tools Needed

Cleaning the interior of the computer is a detailed process thus demands certain tools that make sure the components are not damaged:

  1. A screwdriver is required as you will have to dismantle the components of the graphic cards into tiny parts.
  2. Canned compressed air is significant as it can blow off dust build-up a lot quicker than using a wet cloth or Q-tips.
  3. Q-tips for cramped areas that are difficult to reach. This is the best substitute for a can with compressed air.
  4. Isopropyl alcohol easily cleans dirt and dust along with disinfecting the integral components inside your computer.
  5. A wiping cloth will offer your computer a beautiful finishing touch once all the dust build-up is cleaned from the graphic cards and their surrounding components.
  6. Thermal paste will allow the GPU to remain cool without getting overheated or overclocked.

The Five Steps To Clean Your GPU Fans

Before starting to clean your computer, make sure to disconnect it from its main source and unplug the power switch as a precautionary measure. Then follow these steps for the answer to your question, ‘how to clean GPU fans’?

Step 1-Dismantle the Card

Disassembling the card into smaller parts is essential for proper and effective cleaning of the graphics card:

  • To dismantle, the very first thing to do is to remove the screws that hold the device’s rear heat or reinforcement plate firmly in position.
  • With the help of a screwdriver, pull out the two smaller screws that link the fan to the heat sink.
  • Similarly, remove the remaining smaller screws that connect the spring-loaded heat sink mount.
  • Be extra vigilant when removing graphic cards once the screws are out. Most of these cards are layered with sticky thermal pads and other forms of thermal interface materials that work as adhesives. If all the sides of the graphics card are covered in thermal pads, be careful when disassembling the card into pieces to avoid any kind of serious damage to its sensitive components.
  • When pulling out the reinforcement chip away from the card, ensure the pressure is steady. When removing the heatsink and the fan cover, use a similar prying technique.
  • Remember to disconnect the fan from the port that links it to the printed circuit board or PCB.

Step 2 -Begin to Clean and Rejoin the Graphics Card

  • Once the graphic cards are dismantled into tiny parts, cleaning the components becomes quick and efficient.
  • Apply the thermal paste on all the places where the graphics card was pulled out. Make sure that a small layer of paste is applied across the anterior portion that you plan to cool down.
  • On a typical graphics card, always remember to observe the condition of the four springs connected to a clip made from metal attached to the heatsink over the GPU. With time, the clips followed by its four springs will deteriorate. Such problems can decrease the pressure on the GPU, which may cause the graphics card to run hot fast. To resolve this, delicately bend the bracket in an upward motion and gradually bend the springs out.
  • After the springs and brackets are bent and stuck out, reseat the heatsink to the GPU. For excellent results, make sure the heatsink is in firm contact with the GPU. In the end, the spring-loaded mount should be screwed strongly.

Step 3 -Bolt the fan cover to the case bracket.

Step 4 -Rejoin by fixing the card’s rear reinforcement plate back on.

Step 5 -Double-check to ensure the graphics card and GPU are working fine.

  • Insert GPU into the computer.
  • Connect the monitor to the video port on the GPU. Then, switch on the computer. If the signals are being received it means you have successfully reassembled the graphics card and GPU and they are functioning properly.
  • Apart from this, do test if the fan is operating accurately by ensuring that it’s spinning. If it’s not spinning, plug out all the power and let the fan dry before checking it again.

Once the cleaning process has been completed with the appropriate tools and methods, you will notice a 360-degree turn in the performance of your computer. You will realize how your PC operates more smoothly and enhances the functionality of your graphic cards as well as other critical interior components of the computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Clean My GPU With Water?

Yes, you can but for that, you have to use distilled water and make sure to use as little of it as possible. Distilled water won’t cause corrosion so it’s the safest option.

How Often Should I Clean My GPU?

It all depends on the condition of your GPU. What you must know here is that higher temperatures can cause dirt and debris to build up. Overall, you should clean your GPU after every six months and when it comes to bigger cleaning like replacing the thermal paste with a new one then you should do it once a year.

Can Dust Affect Graphics Cards?

Yes, dirt and dirt both can have a negative impact on the performance of your PC. If there’s dust on your GPU, it can drive up the temperature. Ultimately the heat will cause resistance to the other components of the PC and they’ll slow down in terms of performance.

Can I Wash The Heatsink On My GPU?

You can’t wash the heatsink but you can clean it using a cotton swab. Dip the swab in some alcohol and then remove the dust and dirt between the small metal fins. As far as the rest of the heatsink is concerned, you should use a lint-free piece of cloth and some alcohol.

Should I Leave My GPU Fans On Auto?

If you aren’t planning to overclock the card then setting the fan on auto is completely safe. However, if you overclock the card, you’ll have to make some adjustments to the fan curve manually because when the frequency and voltage increase, the temperature of the card increases with it.


By now I’m super sure you must be pretty clear about how to clean GPU fans as well as its importance. Our devices are our assets thus it’s our responsibility to keep them intact. And, the best way to achieve this is to make cleaning a habit. By doing this, you’ll do a favor on your computer and yourself!

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