Where can I get cans of compressed air that don't contain bitterant?
May 13, 2009 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to get a compressed gas/canned air duster without the bitter aftertaste?

I know it's to stop huffing, but when they put bitterant in a can of air they just aerosolize a very unpleasant taste. No matter how well ventilated the area and how far away from the nozzle I get, it coats my hands, face and hangs in the air for a good while.

I'm not disconnecting my entire computer and taking each bit outside with rubber gloves and a mask just because some fools like listening to the siren song of their own brain cells shrieking themselves to silence. Even if I was willing to, I'd still need to dust my keyboard, which I touch with my fingers, with which I touch my food.

Failing some kind of "No I'm Not an Idiot" brand of untainted duster, is there an air-compressor alternative that is small, relatively quiet, and won't blow the chips off my motherboard?
posted by JeremiahBritt to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
Try either air cans for photo use or a air compressor for airbrushes. either of the two should fill your need.
posted by JJ86 at 9:13 AM on May 13, 2009

The compressed air computer duster stuff doesn't clean your keyboard. Sure, it blows dust and cheeto bits off of it, but if you're concerned about food safety then the bacteria/viruses are still there and are not blown away and this is a really long sentence but I couldn't find a way to get a good break in there because it all seemed to flow so well; this is pretty common for me - I'm addicted to commas, I mean like really, really addicted.

Anyways, if you want a non-toxic alternative to duster, it's just the opposite: suck rather than blow. Put the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner and it'll pull out all the sandwich bits. Then wipe it with a lysol wipe or some other quick-evaporating equivalent.
posted by unixrat at 9:14 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There are compressed air systems that you will with normal air using a bike pump. Here's a review of the ReAir Duster on Cool Tools.
posted by zippy at 9:24 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, as unixrat said, a vacuum is probably the best option. For the sanitizing part, dampen a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol, which evaporates quickly.
posted by so_gracefully at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

will -> fill
posted by zippy at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2009

The ReAir system is unlikely to be useful; it's nearly impossible to find nowadays. You may wish to consider getting a small compressor system if this is really a big issue for you, or changing to vacuum.
posted by aramaic at 9:49 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Look for an air compressor meant to power air brushes. Most art supply stores will have one. They're not too big or powerful.

But count me for a "suck, don't blow" vote. Blowing tends to push crap deeper into your computer whereas sucking removes it completely.
posted by Ookseer at 9:49 AM on May 13, 2009

Response by poster: As odinsdream said, I'm not worried about germs, just the fact that the bitterant clings to my hands even after washing them.

Is a vacuum any more or less likely to create static?
posted by JeremiahBritt at 10:08 AM on May 13, 2009

Oxygen wouldn't be a good idea because it’s a flammable gas...
posted by stevechemist at 10:33 AM on May 13, 2009

How about a utility sprayer? You can pick one up at a home center or hardware store for pretty cheap. I use mine for all kinds of liquids, but they would also work for just plain air, I imagine.
posted by orme at 10:58 AM on May 13, 2009

Best answer: I purchased cans of Maxell BlastAway branded air the other day, and it does not contain bitterant.

Not sure where you can just pick these up though, I purchased them through a big distributor my company does business with.
posted by BryanPayne at 11:10 AM on May 13, 2009

Best answer: To be more specific about my first answer, try this stuff. It has no adulterants because they would ruin expensive lenses and film.
posted by JJ86 at 12:27 PM on May 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas. I'll probably stop at the camera shop on the way home to see if they have a "pure" duster. I might use a vacuum on the keyboard, but I don't want the static buildup that might occur if I vacuumed inside the case.

I normally put the hose of the vacuum near an vent in the case of my computer/console system and blow the dust towards the vent from the other openings.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 1:03 PM on May 13, 2009

Best answer: I have a $30 solution that is also environmentally safe. Purchase the cheapest leaf blower you can find with a wind speed no higher than 115MPH.
It will be battery/plug in (never gas powered)
Completely safe to use on your PC.
YT video proof from a reputable source.
posted by will wait 4 tanjents at 1:47 PM on May 13, 2009

The comment above that the ReAir duster is hard to find appears to be correct, sadly.

Here's an alternate solution from Harbor Freight, a $2 squeeze duster.
posted by zippy at 3:47 PM on May 13, 2009

I might use a vacuum on the keyboard, but I don't want the static buildup that might occur if I vacuumed inside the case.

There is no danger of this. In fact I'm more likely to use a vacuum inside the case where there are visible components because cans of 'air' will spurt liquid propellant gobs which can, in rare cases, cause a short. With a vacuum all you have to worry about is knocking something loose.
posted by Ookseer at 8:54 PM on May 13, 2009

Response by poster: In case someone else was following this, http://woot.com/ has the Turbo Air Rechargeable Blower System by WD-40 on sale for $19.99 + $5 shipping today. Even if you miss the sale, the system seems like a valid alternative.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 3:49 AM on May 19, 2009

Response by poster: Ended up buying a small electric leaf blower, which has other uses as well. Had to make sure to secure the fans on the case and GPU to prevent back charge. Worked fine, but had to check to make sure no cables got not loose. Took about 5 minutes to do a thorough job from all angles. Only issue is using it indoors and accidentally "sweeping" the room ala gun range faux pas. Blew a picture right off the wall.

Still, environmentally friendly and doesn't upset the wife. (Does upset the cat and dog.)
posted by JeremiahBritt at 12:42 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

The geeks have tested the occurrence of "back charge" although it makes sense that it should be a concern, I can assure you it is not.

However there is some concern that the high speed turning of the fans while dusting MAY decrease the life of your fans due to excessive wear on the bearings.

I am glad you went with the leaf blower.
posted by will wait 4 tanjents at 3:12 PM on June 16, 2009

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