How to Clean the Motherboard

Computers are sensitive equipment. Any dust, liquid, or force can effectively ruin delicate parts. The motherboard is one of the most crucial parts of your computer. Keeping it clean is a crucial aspect of computer maintenance that we often overlook. 

The motherboard is not one of those bits you can rub clean with the corner of your t-shirt. However, how do we clean it properly? Here’s a step to step guide on cleaning your motherboard.

What Is the Function of the Motherboard?

The motherboard is a circuit board in a computer system. It is found in modern-day smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and smart TVs, among other advanced electronic devices.

This circuit system contains the device’s core components and is responsible for most of the computer’s functioning. It is responsible for the device’s ability to turn on and is crucial in its key functionality, memory, storage, and connectivity.

Things You Need to Clean a Motherboard

Cleaning/ Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol acts as an antiseptic and detergent. It is quick to dry, easy to find, relatively affordable, and sufficiently strong. Isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol work equally well. 

Cotton Swabs

The swabs provide a thorough final wipe, and they are great to have around because they tend to leave fewer or no fibers behind. They are also perfect thanks to their softness, limiting possible damage.

Cleaning Motherboard

Vacuum With Detachable Components

A small vacuum cleaner is useful in drawing out the dust and dirt in tight nooks and behind wires. Electronic devices are sensitive, and static energy often disrupts the system. It is better to use a computer vacuum, but if one is unavailable, keep the motherboard as far from the vacuum piece as possible. 

Nylon Brush 

When cleaning a motherboard, it is important to avoid tampering with its components. A nylon brush is firm enough to loosen solid dirt but soft enough to reduce the risk of damaging the motherboard. Ensure that the nylon brush has very soft bristles before use.

How to Clean the Motherboard

Follow these steps precisely when cleaning your motherboard:

1. Remove the Cover

Begin by removing the cover of the motherboard. Taking it off may depend on your device, as some have screws and others have no thumb screws. Search for ways to safely open your motherboard without causing harm before you begin.

Once you have the cover removed, you have a chance to inspect the board for any abnormalities. Check thoroughly for dents and missing pieces. Capacitors are prone to leakage, so look out for those, too.

2. Use the Brush to Loosen Dirt and Grime

Carefully make your way through the board with the nylon brush. Dirt accumulates and cakes together over time, so a nylon brush helps to loosen the dirt and sweep it off the components. Brush gently around the wiring and piece structures of the system.

3. Vacuum the Circuit Board

Next, use the vacuum to carefully sweep through the motherboard, picking up dirt and dust. Be careful how you handle the vacuum because the sucking power may compromise the system. 

4. Use the Rubbing Alcohol for a Thorough Clean

After eliminating most of the dirt, it is time for the rubbing alcohol to come in. Be very careful when you clean a motherboard. Some sensitive chips can easily twist or snap and ruin your device. 

Allow the motherboard to dry completely, as any moisture can have negative effects.

5. Replace the Cover

Before you put the cover back on, spritz the inner side with alcohol and wipe it down with a clean cloth. This way, no dust will transfer from the lid into the circuit board.

Frequently Asked Questions

PC Motherboard

1. Is it okay to wash a motherboard with water?

Do not place your motherboard anywhere near water or any other liquid besides cleaning alcohol. You cannot clean most electronics with water because it damages the electric components, causing rusting and taking longer to dry. Only use rubbing alcohol on your motherboard, and use it sparingly. 

2. Is a motherboard the same as a CPU?

No, a motherboard and a CPU (Central Processing Unit) are two different components of a computer.

The motherboard is the primary board in a computer that houses the CPU, memory, and other components that make up the system. It provides a connection point for all the other hardware components of the computer, including the processor, memory, hard drives, and other peripherals.

A CPU, on the other hand, is the brain of the computer. The CPU is a critical component of a computer and is housed on the motherboard.

3. Do I require a new motherboard when I get a new CPU?

If you upgrade your processor, you may also have to replace your motherboard. This keeps both systems efficient and ensures compatibility, preventing short-circuiting. When dealing with intricate pieces like this, it is better to update everything in one go.

4. Why is it called a motherboard?

It is the main board in the machine. The motherboard is integral to the device’s functioning, in the way a ‘mothership’ is essential to the life form it carries.

The motherboard houses everything that makes the computer a computer, from USB port connections to the power connections, to the CPU and the memory. Without a well-performing motherboard, the device is relatively ineffective.

5. What is BIOS?

BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is a core processing software responsible for booting and rebooting your device. It is housed in the motherboard along with other systems that work together to operate your machine.


Therefore, frequently taking care of your motherboard can help keep the entire computer system clean and well-functioning. Using any other moisture on the motherboard is risky, but alcohol, at least, provides cleanliness and swift drying to reduce the chances of damage. 

If you are hesitant to open up your motherboard or clean it, it is always better to consult a professional with better knowledge of the functioning system. However, cleaning your motherboard should regularly be part of your device’s maintenance.