What is dust? – Dust is made of airborne particles like pollen/soot and carpet/clothes fibers, pet hair, insect dander, human skin, and lots more.
Dust itself is not a big deal; the main idea is dust creates a blanket over hot components causing the PC temperature to increase which will create issues.
What happens when my PC runs at a high temperature? – This can cause components to fail or behave unexpectedly and reduces the lifespan that includes the memory, power supply and the processor.
The video card being dusty can cause overheating, thus causing system performance problems when the card must slow down to prevent overheating or it crashes the system because it overheated. The PC fans can become loud when exposed to too much dust. This can be prevented by using dust covers over fans/cases.
How do I Clean Dust from my PC?
Compressed Air – (Recommended Cleaning Method). Start by taking computer outside or in a ventilated area. The metal heatsinks under fans require the most attention. Blow the compressed air into the vents to blow the dust from the PC.
Vacuum – ONLY use a specialized vacuum to clean computers, if you use the wrong type of vacuum it could create large static buildup and discharge inside your computer. (see below on static electricity)
Make sure you get both cases off to get the back side of the motherboard.
In high humidity environments the dust can create sludge, use cotton swabs to clean sludge or microfiber cloth. Dust can get in USB and other ports and interfere with the electrical connections causing unwanted behavior. Dust basically cuts off your PC’s air supply.
Be careful when cleaning because of static electricity.
What is static electricity? – Static electricity is created when electrons leap between two objects that have opposite electrical charges, this is generally done when you are about an inch apart.
Low humidity and heated air can increase the chances of static discharge
Smallest Spark – About 500 Volts
When can I feel a shock – 3,000 Volts
When can I damage my internal PC components – 10 Volts
Volts created walking across the carpet – 1,500-35,000 Volts
Lemon can produce – 0.7 Volts
Stun guns range in voltage from 80,000 volts to 8,000,000 volts and higher
Single Lightning Bolt – 100 million to 1 billion Volts
End Result: If you want to keep your PC for a long period of time, clean it regularly depending on your environment conditions.