Air dusters are very effective at helping to remove dirt and dust from areas or objects that are hard-to-reach as well as items like keyboards and other electronics that can’t be cleaned with liquids like water, also called “compressed air”, “canned air” or “dusting spray”.
It is used to apply a pressurized blast of air which knocks off loose dirt and dust within thin lines, crevices and cracks. However, like many other aerosols and inhalants, air dusters are often abused by people who “huff” or “bag” them to get “high”.
The reason for this temporary euphoria lies in the contents of air dusters. Some common air duster gases include butane, hydrocarbon alkanes, isobutane, propane, and others.
So, while it may seem like a harmless puff of air, it is actually a combination of liquidized gas chemicals that can be harmful when inhaled.
The reason why air dusters are toxic is that they contain difluoroethane, which may cause loss of consciousness and heart issues, nitrous oxide, causing nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, as well as alkyl nitrites, which leads to vomiting or increased heart rate.
Other contents include butane, which can affect the heart, or even lead to sudden death, propane, which is a major cause of loss of consciousness and convulsions, and many other complications.
Therefore, many states in the US won’t allow air dusters to be sold to minors. With all this danger and restricted access, what can be used instead of an air duster? What else can do the job without posing such health risks to those exposed to it?
What Can You Use Instead of An Air Duster?
With all the concerns around the use of air dusters, many homeowners are now exploring other alternatives for cleaning hard-to-reach and non-water-resistant tools and appliances.
Here are some alternative options to consider:
1. Anti-static Vacuums
The reason you should get an anti-static vacuum is to avoid electrostatic issues when you try to vacuum your electronics. The good thing about most of these vacuums is that they come with dust bags that trap the dirt down to 0.3 microns and ensure they don’t go back into the room.
A good example is the Metro ESD Anti-Static Vacuum, which comes with HEPA filtration technology, a dust brush, 5 extra multiple layer micron bags, and crevice tools.
This is a safer option, although it is way more expensive than an air duster. In the long run, you’ll realize that it offers more value because it can be used for many years.
Also, it helps your electronics to run smoother and longer. You can also go for the cheaper hand-held Simplicity F1 Vacuum Cleaner.
2. Blusher-brush and Vacuum
You may also combine an anti-static vacuum cleaner with a blusher brush. You can go with the vacuum first and see how much of the dirt is removed.
There may be some dirt that isn’t exactly loose dirt may not come off easily. These can be dealt with using the brush.
The blusher brush is just small enough to get into those tiny spaces and firm enough to wipe off the dirt.
3. Soft Paint Brush
This comes in different forms, shapes and sizes.
Whether it’s the regular small paint brush for painting windows and other specific parts of the house or an artistic paintbrush, you can effectively deploy this instead of an air duster.
Be sure that the brush is dry before you use it, especially after you wash it to remove dust or dirt.
4. Air Compressors
These are basically the same type that you use to inflate your tire, except that you should get a smaller model for the purpose of cleaning.
An air compressor doesn’t contain any chemicals, but only has air pulled in from the environment. It is, therefore, non-toxic. We advise you get the portable types designed for indoor use, like those used for balls, toy balloons, inflated water tubs, etc.
They have enough force to blow dirt away from keyboards and other electronics and can be powered by electricity or a battery.
How do i clean my keyboard without an air duster?
Below are a few other alternatives that we can specifically recommend for cleaning your keyboard and some other specific electronics and items.
5. Cotton Swabs
This is a very simple alternative that many people do not think about. It’s better if it’s completely dry but using it moistened (with a gentle cleaner) can also work.
Move the swab slowly between keys and wipe carefully. Do the same across the bottoms and tops to help remove excess dirt or dust.
You can repeat this every 60 days to keep your keyboard in top shape.
6. Screen Wipes
While we recommend this for caked-up grime on your keys or board, it is important to not overdo it.
You stand the risk of peeling the characters off your keys unless it’s the burnished character type found in older models.
If you’re going to use a topical cleaner, do not spray directly onto the keyboard, but on a soft cloth which can then be used to wipe off the grime.
7. Turn Over and Tap Gently
This is something we all must’ve done at least once. It is not the most practical way to keep your keyboard clean, but it sure is the cheapest and easiest way to remove loose crumbs and debris.
Be careful not to shake too aggressively so you don’t damage your computer system. Stand-alone keyboards are easier to clean this way because you can shake them gently.
What Can You Use Instead of Compressed Air?
Compressed air is, more or less, an air duster and we believe we’ve been able to address the question adequately.
However, if you do not intend to use any form of compressed air whatsoever, you may have to stick to soft Paint brushes, blusher brushes, vacuums, cotton Swabs and screen wipes to get the dust off your tools or computer.
If the anti-static vacuum cleaner is your choice, note that you’d have to dispose the dirt in the micron bag at intervals to prevent any issues.
Bottom line is to try and avoid liquids on your electronics, especially if you’re dealing with exposed electronics or those with pathways to the system’s circuit.
Effectiveness, cost, effort and safety are major factors you must consider before you choose an alternative so that you can get the best value at the lowest cost possible.
For all its efficacy, affordability, and ease, an air duster can be quite deadly if abused. This knowledge may push you toward seeking an alternative, and this post has taken care of all the questions you may have.
The best kind of care you can give electronics is to keep them safe and away from dust and dirt. But there’s no way to completely keep dust away and so you need to clean occasionally. For a computer, every 1-3 months should do, depending on exposure to dust and how you use it.