Sponsored by Dust-Off
No fuss, no dust
OFTEN THE SIMPLEST things in life are the most useful. Duct tape comes
to mind. Everyone has it around the house, but not everyone uses it for the
Similarly, a can of compressed-gas duster sits on the shelf ready to clean
the computer, but its uses are limited only by the imagination.
Introduced in the 1970s, the compressed-gas duster was designed to aid
photographers in cleaning their photographic negatives. At the time, accidentally
touching a negative could result in finger smudges on the finished print. With
the compressed-gas duster, photographers could direct a pressurized blast at
any dust or lint that may have collected on negatives without needing to touch
them, resulting in perfect prints.
In the mid-1980s, the compressed-gas duster found another application—
computers. Early computers were considerably more expensive than they are
today, and preventive maintenance was an important consideration. Keeping
the air vents clean on the central processing unit helped prevent unnecessary
crashes. A weekly blast between the keyboard keys could keep cookie crumbs
from collecting and keys from sticking.
To this day the compressed-gas duster remains a staple for computer
technicians and home PC users. However, this simple technology has evolved
into a multipurpose tool found in everyone’s home or garage.
People use compressed-gas dusters for:
General household cleaning. Compressed-gas dusters can be used to clean
mini-blinds, dust a lampshade or dust a bookcase without removing the
books, trophies or figurines. Use it to clean smoke detectors or vacuum-cleaner
filters. Wiping off silk flower arrangements with a cloth is time consuming; a
compressed-gas duster makes easy work of this task.
Hobbies. Model builders use compressed-gas dusters to blast dust and lint
from the surface of a model they are about to paint. Once on display, many of
a model’s parts might be too delicate for a dust rag—the compressed-gas
duster to the rescue. Woodworkers also use the duster to clean out small
cracks, holes or grooves in their projects. It’s also great for cleaning dust and
lint off slides or off glass while framing pictures.
Car detailing. A compressed-gas duster is ideal for blasting dust from those
tiny nooks and crannies inside a car, such as the dashboard vents, instrument
panel, center console, air vents, steering column, seat rails and more.
These are just a few of the hundreds of home and office applications for
this simple technology. A
If you have an unusual use, let us know. For each idea we use in our
next Household Almanac, we’ll pay $50. See page xi for details.
Because the compressed-gas
duster is an aerosol product, the contents can be hazardous if used improperly. An extremely distasteful bittering
agent added to the compressed gas is
intended to discourage inhalant abuse.
Read the caution label on the can
and get familiar with the product’s characteristics before undertaking any cleaning task. These dusters should not be
used near potential ignition sources,
such as open flames, hot surfaces or
spark-producing equipment (such as
Do not tilt the container too much
before or during use. This can cause
liquid contents to be emitted, which can
freeze or discolor computer components
or any other plastic.