Build up of dust inside a computer can really impact the performance of the device. Even if the computer or workstation is cleaned regularly, dust can get into the smallest of crevices’,
so being wary of the build up is crucial to having a long lasting computer.

The main problem dust causes when on the inside of a device, is its ability to interfere with every single component. A computer is built to have each piece no matter the size, to partner alongside the others, working hand-in-hand to produce reactions and outcomes. Dust can stop the compatibility of these components as well as the way they work (both alone and alongside one another).


One of the biggest issues caused from dust on the inside of a PC is that it causes the system to obtain heat. When components are covered in dust, they can get far hotter than they are designed for.

Dust will form a layer over each component, blocking the areas in which the heat will disperse itself from. Overheating causes devices and their make-up to shut down, overwork or even short circuit and break-which is an extremely dangerous issue as it can cause sparking of the system and sometimes even cause the computer to smoke.

Dust not only stops heat from leaving the devices, it also stops cool air from coming in. Blocking all possible areas in which the smallest amount of air can enter from, this will force the components to pass their produced heat onto one another, creating a never ending cycle of hot air that just can’t be released.

Dust on the fans

In addition to the production of heat, dust on the fans can not only increase the heat, but produce a huge amount of
friction too.

Dust on the blades of the cooling systems causes the dust to rub against the fan causing friction, and friction results in heat production. Not only that, the fans spinning will distribute the dust further around the system, making it circulate and land on other components of the device, making the build up a lot thicker.

The dust also causes the fans to stop spinning in the smooth motion that it should. This again, will force heat to increase if the fan cannot produce even the smallest amount of cooling.

It will conclude to the system working far slower, ultimately leading to a higher risk of hardware failure, which is usually an issue that cannot be restored.

The screen

Alongside problems on the inside of
the computer, dust can also affect the
parts of the computer you can see.

One in particular being the computer
The screen of a computer, (even
though it looks rather durable), is very delicate and is thinner than many realize, so it can be scratched very
easily. Dust is made up of miniscule particles, small enough to actually scratch a surface if it is rubbed into the object or dragged across.

It would seem simple enough to grab a cloth and wipe over the screen, however, without being too careful, dust can leave thin scratches on the screen. This can be a pain, especially
if the computer is being used for editing or recording, as it will not produce the true quality and will force the computer to lack in reliability.

Unfortunately too, a scratched screen is usually unable to be repaired, especially if they’re quite deep. So, the only resolution to the issue would be to purchase another screen which
is a waste of money, as you wouldn’t of needed one if there was no dust!

Movement of components

Although dust is very fine and thin, if built up it can become quite a strong barrier. As discussed before, dust can build up in any section of a device, no matter how small or compact.

If dust continuously builds up under a component, or alongside them, it can actually force the component to shift. This isn’t a problem that will happen rather quickly, however, over time it
can surprisingly happen. A shifted component in the hard drive can cause performance issues, the computers lack of reaction to our actions, or the ongoing problem of one component shifting another and another.

If a section is being forced out of its ‘home’ it can also cause some breakage. This is because if the dust is pushing a component out of its fixture, it can disrupt connections or make it so the component no longer sits into the area properly. This would lead to another
problem that can’t really be fixed without replacements put in place.

Preventing dust build up

  1. Move the computer away from any doors or windows – as the fan is working, it is bringing in cool air from the outside and spinning it around the blades, scattering it
    around the inside of the device. If it is next to a window it can bring in all sorts of debris and dust, even if it cannot be seen.
  2. Keep pets away from the computer – likewise with dust and debris, hair can also get trapped inside the system, pet hair in particular. The short, fine hairs can be sucked into the motherboard and build up around the components exactly like dust does.
  3. Elevating the computer – many will have computers raised onto desks or tables, however if not, then this is a recommendation. Raising the computer at least 6 inches from the ground can reduce dust intake by 80%, as the floor contains a huge amount of dust between its fibers.
  4. Dust around the room regularly – ensuring that the room in which the computer is in is a very important attribute for decreasing the amount of dust the computer can take in. No matter how clean, rooms will also have a small amount of dust. However, the less dust there is, the less the computer can take in.
  5. Perform regular cleaning – If this is a task that the computer owner knows how to do safely, then having a regular cleaning process will reduce the dust build up as it
    won’t have enough time to settle itself. If this is something someone cannot do themselves, then simply taking the device to a computer shop, or booking in for
    regular cleaning will also help this issue.


The buildup of dust on a computer, whether it is personal or for work, can be very annoying. Dust, even being the smallest of particles, can cause a handful of issues that can lead to simple scratches, all the way to the serious problem of needing a new computer.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].