Over the past year or so, the inside of my case and motherboard have accumulated a lot of dust...particularly around the fan areas. I'm also concerned about dust buildup on my CPU heatsink. What is a safe way to completely clean everything out? All I can think of so far is electrical spray. Thanks in advance for your comments.
Do you have access to an air compressor that can deliver clean, dry and oil free compressed air?
If not then use an aerosol can of 'dust off' or equivalant. It can be purchased from computer stores or even department stores that sell computer hardware.
Tip: When blowing out your fans use a straw or toothpick or other non metalic tool to prevent your fans from spinning when you blow the dust off the blades.
Spinning a fan backwards can sometimes damage the bearings.
I use a vacuum cleaner with one of those crevice tools attached to the flexible hose to get out the major accumulations of dust and cobwebs inside the chassis, fans, slots, and other areas, I just stay away from touching the actual PCB and IC chips. I then use an approx. 2" paint brush with fairly stiff bristles to dust off the PCB and IC. I have used the vacuum cleaner on those areas, too, but it makes me a little nervous. Thus far, I have never had any zapping incidents.
Compressed air can force dust into crevices just as well as it can flush dust out of them. Vacuum cleaners pull the dust out rather than just pushing it around, and doesn't produce a cloud of dust that requires taking it outdoors to blow out. I used to spend $12 ~ $15 / month on that stuff, even buying bulk multipacks.