Have you ever wondered why electronics collect dust? We’ve investigated this age-old office mystery. Find out why clearing dust from electronics is important, and learn how to prevent dust build up around office computers.

Why do electronics get dusty faster than anything else in the office?

No office cleaning schedule is complete without a good dusting – but dust particles seem to have a few favourite places to gather. And computers are top of the list.

Let’s quickly bust the myth that computers and electronics generate dust: they don’t. The dust in your office is made up of all the usual stuff: dead skin cells, clothing and carpet fibres, soil, pollen – and the bodies of dead insects and bugs.

Computers and electronics just seem to be very good at collecting dust.

In open areas of a room, unrestricted airflow keeps dust particles from settling. The constant traffic of people lifts and moves dust into other areas – so in places like the corners next to doorways, where feet rarely fall, the flooring always seems dustier.

Computers sit on desks or the floor (where they can get especially dusty) and rarely move, so they naturally collect dust over time. But that’s only half of the story.

Have you ever done the trick where you rub a balloon and stick it to a wall? Or used it to make your hair stand on end? That’s static electricity. The dust particles in your office behave in a similar way.

All that movement – from trampling into carpet, to flying around in the air – causes the particles to gain a slightly positive or negative charge.

The flow of electricity through your office desktop computer, computer screen, office phone and other desk-bound devices tends to generate a slightly positive electrical charge over time.

When it comes to electrical charge, opposites attract. Any dust particles with the opposite charge to the devices in your office will be attracted to them, and seem to stick.

That’s why electronics seem to attract dust faster than anything else.

To add to their list of dust-gathering credentials, most computers use fans to lower the CPU temperature. By sucking in air, these fans also draw in dust. Charged particles of dust can then settle on and around the computer, further adding to the dust problem.

And this can have some unwanted side effects.

Is dust bad for electronics?

Yes – dust can be really bad for any electrical office equipment, but it’s especially important in server rooms.*

The fans that draw in cool air and expel hot air from your computer can get clogged with all of that electromagnetically-charged dust, making them less effective.

The dry dust they’re sucking into the system can form insulating blankets over components inside, leading to overheating. Besides reduced efficiency, overheating impacts computer performance and can lead to sudden hardware failures.

Not good in a business-critical situation. So how can you stop it?

(Check out our guide on server/comms room cleaning if you need further advice on cleaning server rooms in particular.)

How do I keep my office electronics from getting dusty?

Regular office cleaning is the best solution because it will actively reduce the dust content in your office space – but prevention is a key component to long-lasting office electronics.

Here are some steps to take towards dust-free computers and electronics in your office:

Put computers on desks

Simply moving computers from under desks to on top of them will help get them out of an airflow blackspot. This will also prompt more regular and thorough wipedowns.

Get rid of carpeting

Removing carpets from server rooms and parts of your office with critical electronics will help massively. Solid flooring solutions are easier to keep dust-free, and show buildup quicker – prompting more regular cleaning.

Leave gaps between walls and devices

Printers and copiers tend to get shoved into a corner in offices. That’s where dust loves to hang out. If at all possible, try to leave gaps around large office devices for airflow and cleaning access.

Use dust covers

While not as practical in a workstation setup, dust covers can help preserve seldom-used but critical office equipment.

Use HVAC to maintain humidity

Some humidity is good for humans and for machines. If your office heating and ventilation system allows for humidity control, a little extra moisture in the air can reduce the amount of suspended dust particles. Don’t allow things to get too tropical – condensation mixed with dust can cause dangerous short circuits.

Office cleaning – done and dusted

Dusty office? We’ll get it cleaned up on a schedule that works for your business. For reliable office cleaning that gets in all the nooks and crannies, call 029 2067 9323 today.