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How to Clean a Graphics Card?

In order to make sure your computer components last a long time, and that they don’t need to be replaced anytime soon, one way is to keep them in a clean and functioning condition. It is important to consider the level of cleaning that the graphics card requires as you prepare to Clean a Graphics Card.

In general, it is not a good idea to conduct unnecessary deep cleanings, although regular maintenance cleanings are also important, and should not be neglected.

The death of PC gaming has been viewed as a myth by some people. In reality, that is not the case. There is no doubt that PC gaming will be around for many years to come because of live streaming, esports, and multiplayer gaming. It is therefore recommended that you do not sell your graphics card and instead purchase a console in lieu of doing so.

PC gamers, however, do face the problem of rapidly deteriorating performance over time as a result of aging hardware. Even desktop PCs are not immune to this problem to some extent, even though it is more serious in laptops. I am glad to say that this is an easily reversible issue, which is a welcome relief.

As a result of dust accumulation on a PC over time, the performance of the system starts to deteriorate over time. Among the most common parts to collect dust on a computer is the graphics card. Although you may be able to clean it with ease, you may need to take care not to damage the GPU itself in the process.

Throughout this guide, we will be going through the process of cleaning a graphics card and its components. There are two parts of this article: the first is about how to properly clean your card, and the second is about why it is important to regularly clean your GPU.

Why is it important to keep your graphic card and your PC clean?


Unless you regularly clean your computer, the pc will begin to run slower as soon as it is not regularly cleaned. It may be possible that you will be able to hear more noise coming from your computer than usual. There will also come a day when it will suddenly shut down, which is common knowledge for many gamers and binge-watchers. It is actually more accurate to say that if you do not clean your PC often, it overheats too much.

Obviously, if the PC overheats, then there may be further problems that may arise as a result. As a result, you will be able to protect your PC from overheating if you periodically clean your graphics card. Nonetheless, you might end up cleaning the other parts of your system, too, once you start cleaning your GPU (Graphics processing unit), once you start cleaning its internal components.

A clean PC, then, means that the temperature readings will be lower than they would be if it were dirty. As a result of lower temperatures, your PC parts will be able to last longer, thus extending their life. The longer you have them, the more you will enjoy them. As a result, it is more likely that you will have a better gaming experience, as well as a better home cinema experience. For example, no dust indicates that you will be able to play your games and watch your movies at maximum speed.

What are the risks of not cleaning a graphics card?

When you do not clean a graphics card, you run the risk of several things, such as:

Reduced performance:

The graphics card can be clogged up with dust and other debris over time, which can cause it to become difficult to cool properly because of the clogging of the heat sink. Due to this, the card may run hotter than normal and this may result in decreased performance as a result of increased heat.


In addition, dust and other particles can be responsible for causing the graphics card to overheat at times, which can lead to the card becoming damaged and eventually failing due to its overheating.


It is also possible for a good amount of dust to accumulate on the fans of the graphics card, which can result in the fan working harder and producing more noise when the fan is operating, as a result of the dust accumulation.

Reduced lifespan:

The components of a graphics card can be damaged by dust, dirt, or other particles, decreasing the lifespan of the card if the components are exposed to repeated wear and tear.


The appearance of your computer can also be negatively affected by a dirty graphics card since it can make your computer look untidy.

 What are the benefits of cleaning a graphics card?

There are many benefits to be gained from cleaning a graphics card.

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Improved performance:

As a result of dirt and debris build up on the heat sink of a graphics card over time, it can prevent the card from being able to cool properly. The dust and debris can clog up the heat sink over time, causing it to fail to do so. In turn, this can lead to the card working at a much lower level of performance and running hotter than it should. If you clean the card, you are able to remove this debris, allowing the card to continue to function at its maximum level.

Enhanced longevity:

A graphics card can also be affected by dust and other particles which can cause the components to wear out and wear down over time. In order to extend the life of the card, you need to remove as much debris from it as possible. This will reduce the amount of wear and tear that is being put on it due to the debris that is present on the card this will help extend the life of the card.

Reduced noise:

The fan blades on a graphics card can become clogged with dust, which makes the fan work harder and make more noise, causing it to work harder and produce more noise. It is possible to reduce the level of noise produced by your computer by cleaning the graphics card.

Improved appearance:

The appearance of your computer can also be improved by keeping your graphics card clean. Having a computer that is covered in dust and debris can make it look unkempt and dirty, while a computer that has a clean card will make it look more professionally polished and polished.

How to remove graphics card (safely)

The following steps will guide you through the process of removing a graphics card safely:

  1. If you have a computer that is not connected to the wall, turn it off and unplug it.

  2. Your computer’s case can be opened by opening the lid. In order to accomplish this task, you may have to remove a few screws or slide off one or more panels.

  3. Take a look at the graphics card and locate it. The mounting point of the box may be located on the back side of the case, near the bottom section of the box, or vertically or horizontally near the front of the box.

  4. The graphics card should be removed by removing any screws that are holding it in place. It is possible to find these on the back or the side of the case, depending on where the card is located.

  5. To loosen the graphics card from the slot, gently wiggle the card around to loosen it. The card should not be subjected to too much force since it may be fragile, so you should take care not to damage it by applying too much force to it.

  6. As soon as the card has been loosened from the case, carefully remove it from it. As long as you are holding the card by the edges, you will not accidentally damage any of its components by touching them.

  7. Place the card somewhere safe so that you don’t lose it.

It is important to note that, depending upon the model and make of your computer, removing some graphics cards may be more difficult than removing other graphics cards. A qualified technician or a member of the technical staff is recommended if you have any questions about how to remove the graphics card from your computer, or if you are unsure about how to do it yourself.

How to clean your graphics card step by step


1. Disconnect power and switch off

Any computer part that needs to be cleaned should first be unplugged from the electrical outlet before beginning the cleaning process. Additionally, if there is still a charge left inside, then press on the On/Off button repeatedly to make sure there is no more charge left inside the device. It is possible for the fans to continue spinning for a few seconds before they slow down. If this is the case, then you should wait until they stop talking.

2. Remove all cables and move to easy to work on non-carpet floor

Before you begin, you should ensure that all the cables and wires are disconnected. Firstly, you should move your PC to an area with a good amount of ventilation. It is in this way that you will be able to make sure that no dust is let in or inhaled by you. A spare surgical mask can be worn as a way to improve your respiratory health if you have one available.

3. Open up the PC case

The PC case should be opened. First of all, remove the screws that are located on the back of the device. Normally, to open the case of your PC, you need to slide the right side of the computer to the left.

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4. Remove Dust Using a Brush

Whenever you notice that your GPU has a lot of dust accumulated on it, you should use the paintbrush to clean it off. The best way to prevent it from ending up in the parts below is to collect it using your hand or a sheet of paper instead of letting it fall into them.

5. Remove the screws holding the card to the case

In order to remove the graphics card mounting bracket from the case , you will need to remove the screws that hold the bracket in place.

6. Undo the latch to remove the card

Now that we have lifted the graphics card out of the way, it is time to remove it. Those who have the latest models of the card will be aware that there is a lever on the side of the socket that needs to be pushed down or moved towards the side to release the card. A firm grip is all that is necessary with older models; however, a controlled pulling action is all that is required. If you are unsure about the mechanism of the release mechanism, please refer to the instructions manual that came with the product.

7. Clean and Remove Screws for fan

Now that your graphics card has been cleaned by using a paintbrush, you can now begin to get rid of all the dust from it. There may be a possibility that you can remove the screws holding the fan on to the heatsink if your graphics card supports this. After that, you will be able to unplug the fan by using the pliers in order to reach the power cord which might be difficult to reach.

8. Use cotton swabs and clean heatsink

For the models that aren’t able to be completely detached, the cotton swab can come in handy. Additionally, if this is your first time using your GPU, make sure you take a picture of it in case you have trouble remembering where everything goes.

It is recommended that you use compressed air to clean the heatsink. The airflow must not be directed towards the bottom of the heatsink since that would cause the air to cool faster. I would like to summarize this by saying that air should be directed horizontally. If you wish to clean the side of your vehicle, you should remove dust and grit as much as possible. Using short blasts of compressed air for two to three seconds will make your can of compressed air last a lot longer.

9. Removing the heatsink

It is not recommended to attempt to remove the heatsink by force because it has been glued or pasted directly to the GPU by many manufacturers. Thermal paste can only be replaced once the old residue has been thoroughly removed by wiping the area with a lint-free cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol in order to remove the old residues.

10. Check if you can easily remove the heatsink

If you remove the heatsink retaining screws, you will be able to determine whether the original thermal paste is still holding the heatsink in place. It is essential that you reinstall the screws after you remove them if the piece is not coming off naturally.

The heatsink on your graphics card may have a lever for removing or reinstalling it, so there is a good chance that you may be able to remove the heatsink for an easier cleaning procedure if your graphics card has one. In order to avoid any accidents or damages to your property, it is recommended to read the instruction manual carefully.

11. Clean everything again (if you have the heatsink off)

In order to clean everything thoroughly, you will need to use your paintbrush and compressed air to do so now that you have taken it apart. In case some persistent dust or dirt cannot be removed by a cotton swab soaked in alcohol, use a cotton swab soaked in alcohol instead. When using isopropyl alcohol, make sure that you wait for the alcohol to fully evaporate before using it.

12. Reassemble

Lastly, the various components of the system need to be reassembled. In the first place, you need to ensure that if you took off the heatsink that it is secured. Once you have reattached the power cord to the fan and screwed it back in place, then you will be able to operate it normally again.

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Finally, to enjoy your clean graphics card, all you need to do is follow the precedent steps to reverse the order in which they were performed.

How do you protect the graphics card in the future?


A variety of things can cause damage to a graphics card, including water, dust, and even heat. Follow these tips to make sure that your graphic card is protected in the future:

1. Regularly clean your graphics card in order to prevent any problems in the future. The first step to preventing damage from dust and dirt is to remove it as soon as possible.

2. The GPU should be kept cool at all times. The unit should be moved to a cool area if it has become too hot.

3. Water should not be allowed to come in contact with your graphic card. It is imperative that you dry off the product as soon as it gets wet.

4. Keep the voltage at a reasonable level. A GPU can be damaged if the voltage is too high.

5. The graphics card should not be overheated. It is advisable to remove it from the computer if it becomes too hot.

6. Protect your computer’s and graphics card’s components from power surges by using a surge protector to prevent damage from occurring.

7. Ensure your operating system, GPU drivers, and computer’s drivers are always up-to-date at all times, including those on your computer


Can I Wash My Graphics Card?

The graphics card needs to be washed in a careful manner in order to prevent damage to the electronic components as moisture can damage such components. If dust, debris, and other particles have been accumulated over the course of time, it is best to remove them with compressed air or a gentle brush.

Do You Need to Wear Static Protection When Cleaning Your GPU?

If you are going to handle or clean a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) then a wristband or similar device that is anti-static should be worn. Static electricity can cause damage to a GPU, which in turn can result in a shortening of its lifespan, and also may damage the electronic components in a GPU.

By wearing an anti-static wristband or holding a flat, unpainted metal surface, you may be able to dissipate any static charges on your body, which will help prevent any accidental static discharges that might occur from static electricity generated by your body to the graphics processor that you may encounter.

How Do I Know if My GPU Needs Cleaning?

You can tell if your GPU needs to be cleaned by the following signs:
Overheating, visual artifacts, poor performance, and high fan noise are some of the problems caused by overheating. For optimal performance, it is recommended that you clean your GPU regularly every six to twelve months.

Does Cleaning a GPU Increase Performance?

If you want your GPU to perform better, the first step to improving its performance is to clean it. Cleaning the GPU will prevent anything from impeding the flow of air, which in turn leads to overheating and thermal throttling, reducing your GPU’s cooling efficiency and causing overheating and thermal throttling.

By cleaning the GPU, you will be able to ensure that it is working properly and that you will be able to manage it at its best level, and you may even be able to improve the performance of the games or other graphics-intensive applications that you use.

What Happens if I Don’t Clean My GPU?

In order to prevent the GPU from overheating, thermal throttling, decreasing cooling efficiency, increased fan noise, and potentially even causing visual artifacts and screen glitches to appear, it is vital that you maintain your GPU regularly. Failure to do so could result in overheating, thermal throttling, decreased cooling efficiency, and excessive fan noise.

There is a possibility that if your GPU is not cleaned regularly it could reduce its performance and over time cause damage to its components due to gradual wear and tear. Keeping your GPU clean regularly is a good idea, as it will help ensure that it performs at its best and maintains its longevity.

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