CompuCleaner: A Compact, Mains-Powered Air Duster for Your Home

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CompuCleaner, Image: IT Dusters
CompuCleaner, Image: IT Dusters

The CompuCleaner is a compact, mains-powered air duster. Although designed for cleaning the insides of computers, it can be used to clean out any and all electronics and is also useful for cleaning intricate or delicate objects that a traditional duster might damage.

We geeks tend to own a lot of delicate and expensive objects that are difficult to clean. Displays of expensive LEGO sets, fragile figurines, and mountains of electronics—you probably have some or all of these in your home, and you’ve probably also noticed how difficult they are to keep clean with traditional cloth dusters as you run the risk of expensive and irreparable damage.

For many years now, I have relied on cans of compressed air to clean the inside of my desktop PC, fragile ornaments, and other electronics. While this method has always worked satisfactorily, there have been downsides. First, the cans are expensive and run out quickly, meaning that I would frequently have to pay out again to resupply. Second, the cans are powered by a liquid aerosol, which could occasionally leak if the can was used incorrectly—not something you want around expensive electronics. I began to research alternative cleaning options that would be both cheaper in the long run and safer for my devices, which is how I discovered the CompuCleaner.

CompuCleaner and Accessories, Image: Sophie Brown
CompuCleaner and Accessories, Image: Sophie Brown

The CompuCleaner is an electronic, mains-powered air duster and is in many ways the opposite of a handheld vacuum cleaner. It works like a miniature leaf blower, using a powerful current of air to blow dust out from your devices and other objects. It is incredibly simple to use with only one button on the whole device (a power switch with two settings), and because it is mains-powered it maintains a consistent power level that doesn’t begin to weaken as batteries run out or as the amount of gas reduces as with canned air.

On the day our CompuCleaner arrived, a friend brought over his PlayStation 4, which had been struggling to operate due to dust build up inside. He had already attempted to clean it out by holding a hoover to the air vents with little success. We used the CompuCleaner by holding the smallest nozzle up to the various vents on the console and watched as dust and grit billowed out from inside. This continued for several minutes as we held the nozzle to different openings. Afterward, the PS4 (which had previously sounded increasingly like a rock grinder) ran significantly more quietly.

Of course, the downside to blowing the dust from your devices and ornaments is that the dust has to go somewhere, and with no suction to keep it under control, it WILL go everywhere. For this reason, the CompuCleaner is best used outdoors. Thankfully, its long power cord meant I was easily able to plug it in indoors and feed the power cable through an open window to use it outside. If you are unable to use it outdoors, for example, you need to dust something that cannot be moved or live in a climate where taking electronics outdoors is inadvisable, then be sure to open windows to try and get some extra ventilation. I’d also advise wearing a dust mask if you’re cleaning something very dusty and for anyone who has asthma or other conditions that could be aggravated by inhaling lots of airborne dust particles.

I also want to add in a warning here that you are likely to need to dust your surfaces and vacuum your floors around half an hour after using the CompuCleaner indoors, as you will find that the dust you blew out of your devices has now settled elsewhere—so make sure you do your CompuCleaner dusting first when doing housework otherwise you’ll need to re-do some of it.

The CompuCleaner comes with three nozzles that can be used to direct the air flow into vents in order to even blow dust from the inside of devices that cannot be opened. The nozzle I find myself using most frequently is the smallest of the three, as this allows me to control the air flow with the most precision. Along with the three nozzle attachments, the CompuCleaner also came with three brushes. Often I would find that the dust on an object was struck down and the force of the air duster itself was not enough to dislodge it. In these cases, a brush can be used to help loosen the dust so the air duster can blow it away.

The brushes are all separate items and do not attach to the CompuCleaner itself in the way that brush heads can often be attached to vacuum cleaners. This means that you will need two hands, one to hold the CompuCleaner and one to hold the brush—making it awkward to clean objects that you want to move around while cleaning or hold onto lightweight objects that are liable to be blown away by the high-pressure air stream. I would have liked to see brushes that clip on to the CompuCleaner itself and have hacked together a solution myself my taping the brushes to the nozzle on occasion!

Using a brush accessory to clean an intricate snowglobe with the CompuCleaner, Image: Sophie Brown
Using a brush accessory to clean an intricate snowglobe with the CompuCleaner, Image: Sophie Brown

While the CompuCleaner is significantly more expensive at $50 than buying a can of compressed air, it is a one-time purchase that makes it both cheaper and more environmentally friendly in the long run. It’s also easier to use and safer for your devices. It may sound odd, but I found the CompuCleaner to be a lot of fun too—there’s something deeply satisfying about watching plumes of dust escape from the innards of something you should clean regularly but (if you’re honest) you haven’t touched in years. In fact, it was so fun to use that even my nine-year-old cleaning-averse son was asking to use it on some of his fiddly playsets and toys, and trust me, the Millennium Falcon hasn’t looked this shiny since Lando owned it!

The CompuCleaner is one of those devices that, sometime after purchasing, you’ll wonder how you cleaned without it. It does a great job and is easy and satisfying to use at the same time. If you’re prepared to tidy up or work around the inevitable and unavoidable fall out of a machine blowing dust around your home, the CompuCleaner will be a great investment for any geek household.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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