Best Cleaning Apps for PC

Tyler Abbott
Staff Writer, Mobile & Wireless
Read More
June 01, 2022
5 min read

Okay, so here’s the situation—I want to install Red Dead Redemption 2 on my PC, but I’m somehow out of disk space. You might be in a similar situation with an app that you want to install on your computer. We both know we should have plenty of space, so that means our storage is full of junk and we need to clean it out.

You already have an app installed on your PC to clean your computer (assuming you use Windows). Just boot up the built-in Windows Disk Cleanup program if you want to easily clean your PC. But if you want more control over the process, check out our other recommendations.

Windows Disk Cleanup

If you run Windows on your PC, you can easily use the built-in cleaning software. The advantage of using Windows Disk Cleanup (aside from the fact that it’s essentially free) is the security that comes with it. When you give a cleaning app permission to scrub through your documents and files, you run the risk of deleting files that could brick your computer, or worse, give a free pass to hackers to run amok on your PC.

You can rest assured that Windows Disk Cleanup won’t destroy essential files or hack into your computer. After all, doesn’t Bill Gates already have enough money?

If you want to find a free PC cleaning app, then look no further than your search bar in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Likely other free PC cleaning software will come with annoying ads, and you don’t need to worry about that with a Windows platform.

Using Windows Disk Cleanup

When you start up Windows Disk Cleanup, you’ll see a window pop up that looks like this:

Screenshot of Windows Disk Cleanup pop up window

The program defaults to deleting disposable items, like cached internet data and random thumbnail images you don’t need. In this case, Windows Disk Cleanup found 75.0 MB of data to delete. That’s not nearly enough to make room for the 150 GB to install Red Dead Redemption 2, but it’s a start.

You can scroll down to see other files you can potentially delete from Windows Disk Cleanup. For example, I see that my Recycle Bin currently has 47.8 GB of data just hanging out in there, doing nothing. Checking that box next to the Recycle Bin app and clicking OK gets me way closer to my goal.

You can also click the More Options tab on the top and click Clean Up to get a list of programs you have installed on your computer. Right click on any program you don’t want and click the Uninstall option to get rid of it. In this case, I’m going to get rid of residual files from The Elder Scrolls Online, a game I installed and played for five minutes before deciding it wasn’t for me.

Iolo System Mechanic

If you feel like your computer has issues beyond storage, the Iolo System Mechanic is the best quick-fix option for deep cleaning your PC. Iolo automatically boosts your PC speed, repairs issues, removes bloatware programs, runs updates, optimizes your internet speeds, and cleans out the clutter.

All of these features don’t come free, sadly, as you’ll need to pay a $49.95 yearly subscription fee for the basic service. Thankfully, Iolo regularly offers promotions on its products, and at the time of writing this article, you can get the Iolo System Mechanic for $10 off. It’s also worth mentioning that System Mechanic allows you to use its software on as many computers as you want under the same roof.

Cleaning your PC with Iolo System Mechanic is kind of like paying a house cleaner to deep clean your house for you. Instead of having to sort through all the nitty gritty details on your PC, the Iolo Mechanic can do it for you on the press of a button.

Using Iolo System Mechanic

When you open up Iolo System Mechanic, all you need to do is click the blue Analyze button and the cleaning process will begin.

When I ran the PC cleaning app, I got a resounding 13,101 issues found with my computer. Considering my computer isn’t currently on fire or anything, it’s safe to assume that the majority of those issues are simply junk files that need deleting.

Screenshot of Iolo's Scan and Repair screen

After clicking the Repair All button, suddenly all those issues disappear, and I’ve got 20+ GB of data that I didn’t have before.

You can try it yourself with Iolo’s System Mechanic free trial.

CCleaner Professional

For those of you who don't want to pay $50 to deep clean your PC, you can go with CCleaner and pay only $30. The app doesn’t look as sleek as System Mechanic, but it still gets rid of junk files all the same. It even gives you some extra security precautions that System Mechanic doesn’t, like backing up your registry before deleting anything, and allowing you to schedule regular scans.

In addition to not offering the most user-friendly experience, CCleaner also operates as a single-license software. Your CCleaner Professional subscription will only work on one computer at a time, so no sharing with your household, sadly. But if you’re looking for a cleaning app for just your PC, CCleaner can offer better value than the System Mechanic app from Iolo.

Using CCleaner Professional

The easiest way to start using CCleaner Professional is by running a health check. You’ll likely be greeted with a frowny face with some rain clouds in the background, and the words “Your PC feels under the weather.” Click the blue Make It Better button to start the cleaning process.

Screenshot of Ccleaner Professional's Health Check screen

Before running the cleaning app, I only had 80 GB of storage available, but now I have 100 GB of storage available. Along with clearing up space, CCleaner also deleted tracking info saved on my computer from other websites. It took about 25 seconds for my computer to feel a lot more optimized and secure.

Recap: Best Cleaning Apps for PC

If you’ve been keeping track at home, I’ve officially created enough space to install Red Dead Redemption 2! Every cleaning app used in this article proved effective getting rid of junk files and opening up storage space on my PC. Obviously you don’t need more than one cleaning app, so here’s a recap of your best options:

  • Windows Disk Cleanup: This cleaning app comes installed automatically on your Windows PC without any extra expense. It’s not as in-depth of a clean as you’ll get with a paid app like System Mechanic or CCleaner, but it can get the job done. You can also easily uninstall programs installed on your computer.
  • Iolo System Mechanic: This cleaner software costs up to $49.95 for a year of service, but it offers in-depth cleaning features. Along with getting rid of junk files, System Mechanic can help optimize your internet speeds and PC performance.
  • CCleaner Professional: CCleaner is like the budget option of System Mechanic. The user experience isn’t as clean and the app only works on one PC at a time, but CCleaner does essentially the same things as System Mechanic, and it costs $20 less.

Your PC will certainly be grateful for getting a nice spring cleaning. May you also create plenty of space on your computer to install whatever apps you want.

Methodology

To find the best cleaner software for PC, we downloaded several apps and took advantage of free trial periods to compare and contrast. We ran the cleaning tool with every program and observed how much storage space was created, and if any other extra features, like extra security, were included in the package.

We came to the conclusion that the built-in Windows Disk Cleanup program is the safest and most convenient method for PC users. For users who want a deeper clean, paid apps like System Mechanic and CCleaner Professional can do even more than Windows Disk Cleanup.

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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