Tech Lolz: Suck Or Blow? What Do You Prefer?

It is said that you capture your audience in the first two sentences of your article. Even though this might drive away most people, please note that this article is not about your sexual preferences. :) If you were searching for something completely different and Google didn't do its job well, you are in for a disappointment and should start using a better search engine. :) In this episode of Tech Lolz we're only debating wheather sucking or blowing the dust out of your computer makes a difference and which method is best when cleaning up the hardware components of your computer.

Let's refrain from pervy comments at this time

I know that the title was a bit misleading but who doesn't enjoy a good snigger? I sure do. But first, let's read today's discussion, started by Amanda: Suck or Blow? What's better for dust?. She says the following:

"The guy at the local PC hardware store told me it's better to use a small hand-held leaf blower to blow dust out of your PC case than a hand-held vacuum cleaner. Why is this? I understand that fans might be damaged if they "spin too fast", but surely this is a problem with both vacuuming and blowing dust away... I imagine both machines would generate a small amount of static to be discharged carefully, so I can't see how one would be "safer" than the other?"

Dear Amanda, as a woman myself, I would like to suggest that never, and I mean never, ask a question with this title, in a community with lots of men. If you wake up tomorrow with 2000+ friend requests… well, they are definitely impressed with your wits.

Blow job

However, if you needed this problem solved quickly, this is the perfect title to use in this specific community. Should this be the case, kudos to you.

Regarding the Amanda's question: who would use a leaf blower to dust the PC? It's like you would use the fire hydrant to pour some water in a glass. How is this a good advice from the local PC hardware store? Did they accidentally get a shipment of leaf blowers and sold them as USB-powered dust removers? Let's see if the community shares my beliefs. The user Nanne said:

"Do not suck. A vacuum cleaner will produce a static charge, with all bad effects. Buy a can of pressurized air, and blow the dust out. Indeed, take care not to start turning your fans too hard, but that problem would also be there when sucking."

Among certain communities, the first part of Nanne's answer would be strongly debatable. And the last part is just good general advice. Also, pressurized air is the best way to go as far as blowing is concerned. Sucking, well that is a different situation altogether to which we will get a bit later on.

But until we get to that part, the user boot13 provided some insight into his life:

"My preference is definitely blowing, as it's simply much more effective. However, it's messy and pointless if you're indoors. If you're unable to take the machine outside to do your blowing, you're better off using a vacuum cleaner. You can buy static-neutral vacuum cleaners with useful attachments that are specifically designed for this type of indoor work."

Dillon O'Niel Nettles

So, the main idea to get from boot13's experience is that blowing is better for the outsides whereas sucking is always an indoor job. Good to know.

The user svw agrees with me:

"A leaf blower? This is a joke, right? Ever heard of pressurized air? It comes as a handy spray can. And this works better to get dust out because a vacuum cleaner will usually not pick up the dust "sticking" to the surface because it is not strong enough. Also, these spray cans have small tubes that can reach every corner.

Those little bad boys are wonders when used. Due to the intense blowing, these things touch the right places at the right time and you end up a happy camper with a clean keyboard, processor, motherboard and other household items. They can dislodge dust quite easily even in the most notorious spaces like in-between keys or in-between fans. Good-bye Q-tips, good bye small piece of paper and "Hello new world!".

Blow Off Duster

What is the best way of cleaning up your computer?

I know that I tend to attack the subject of dusting/cleaning your computer on the inside a lot of times but there are 2 main reasons why I do so:

  1. Many people are asking a lot of really weird questions on this topic;
  2. It's actually quite important and you won't understand until you do such a cleaning.

However, in this case, the question is legitimate since there is a real issue to consider. Mike can explain to us why this is a tricky question:

"I'd say it depends on what way the fan is spinning. Electricity has a flow direction (technical direction: from + to - or ground). The mobo is designed to give the fan power through + and get it back through -. Running the fan manually in the different direction causes electricity to flow the other way around, thus damaging the board if the voltage is bigger than the diodes can handle."

Supposedly, these things have an effect on the motherboard. Haven't heard of a case yet, however the science behind it makes sense. However, is the computer is turned off, and there is no electricity powering through it, I doubt any damage will be done no matter the way you choose to go: blowing or sucking.

However, from my experience, I usually go the blow way. And John Gardeniers uses the same concept I do:

"A vacuum might be alright for slightly dusty computers but I use compressed air. [...] To protect the fans I hold the blades while blowing into or very near the fan.
Just one thing to be careful of when using compressed air, don't hold the nozzle too close to the computer. I keep it back about a foot or so. Get too close and you can unseat most components, including RAM and CPU."

Let's not forget that there are other ways out there to help you clean up dust: Tech Lolz: Can I use Vodka to clean up my Keyboard? or Tech Lolz: Does Smoking make your computer stink?.


Mainly, it doesn't matter if you suck or blow as long as the result is a happy one. :) And by that I mean that your computer is functioning in normal parameters and that the dust is out. I swear to God, people these days have the dirtiest minds. :)
Take care and don't miss next week's episode of Tech Lolz.