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Tricks to clean grease and nicotine off components?

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slamfire92    1,658

We got these PCs donated from a restaurant that have a layer of grease on the internals as well as gunk in the USB ports. Very similar problem to PCs from smokers. 

 

Anyone got any tips and tricks to cleaning this crap off? I'm actually thinking about hosing one with non chlorinated brake parts cleaner to mass neutralize the sticky component and then the remaining dust should blow off as normal. My only concern is what will the effect be on the board. This won't be much use if the board starts flaking afterwards....

 

EDIT: Found this stuff. Seems like a safer bet.

 

 

Edited by slamfire92

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Mindovermaster    1,524

You can use Isopropyl Alcohol 90%. Just get a towel, and rub it on the motherboard. Leave it dry for 12-24h.

 

Should help you. ;)

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PGHammer    707

Another alternative (been around for years) is Simple Green - the original eco-friendly multipurpose spray.  I have been using it to clean electronics and especially displays for two decades - why it's great for displays is obvious - it doesn't damage the coatings typical of displays of every size these days.  (The bigger problem is what to wipe the display in question with; however, typically newsprint still works if paper towels are unsuitable - which is STILL the case for some coated displays.  You can either order it via Amazon. or buy it in most local big-box retailers (Dollar General, Wal-Mart, Family Dollar, even hardware stores).  Yes - it has largely replaced Windex for display cleaning (in fact, most display OEMs recommend Simple Green instead because of those coatings they use).

 

https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Green-13022-Purpose-Cleaner/dp/B0000CFLYJ/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1540349287&sr=8-13&keywords=simple+green

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Mindovermaster    1,524
29 minutes ago, PGHammer said:

Another alternative (been around for years) is Simple Green - the original eco-friendly multipurpose spray.  I have been using it to clean electronics and especially displays for two decades - why it's great for displays is obvious - it doesn't damage the coatings typical of displays of every size these days.  (The bigger problem is what to wipe the display in question with; however, typically newsprint still works if paper towels are unsuitable - which is STILL the case for some coated displays.  You can either order it via Amazon. or buy it in most local big-box retailers (Dollar General, Wal-Mart, Family Dollar, even hardware stores).  Yes - it has largely replaced Windex for display cleaning (in fact, most display OEMs recommend Simple Green instead because of those coatings they use).

 

https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Green-13022-Purpose-Cleaner/dp/B0000CFLYJ/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1540349287&sr=8-13&keywords=simple+green

Well, he isn't going to clean a screen, so... I think alcohol will do just as much good as your product. Whatever, both do about the same effect. You usually have alcohol in your house, so no reason to buy it, really.

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+goretsky    919

Hello,

 

It is possible that retr0bright might work on the nicotine-stained plastics.  I am not sure, though.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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Mindovermaster    1,524
57 minutes ago, PsYcHoKiLLa said:

Gonna be hard cleaning with alcohol tho cos it'll dry off really quick

Well, I thought just using a q-tip would help. Wasn't really thinking of pouring it on...

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xendrome    5,113
8 hours ago, Mindovermaster said:

Well, he isn't going to clean a screen, so... I think alcohol will do just as much good as your product. Whatever, both do about the same effect. You usually have alcohol in your house, so no reason to buy it, really.

Don't use regular alcohol like you use on wounds, it's a higher concentration of water.

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Mindovermaster    1,524
2 minutes ago, xendrome said:

Don't use regular alcohol like you use on wounds, it's a higher concentration of water.

I don't think the water content will hurt anything. As long as you don't have it plugged in and set it out to dry for a few hours.

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Brandon H    2,095
2 hours ago, Mindovermaster said:

I don't think the water content will hurt anything. As long as you don't have it plugged in and set it out to dry for a few hours.

correct; I've even seen people use actual soap/water to clean dirty mobos before; you just have to make sure it's COMPLETELY dry again before you supply power.

(you can either air dry or I've heard you can put your oven at the lowest temperature and place the board in for a few minutes and it will dry without damage; can't vouch for this drying technique though personally)

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Mindovermaster    1,524
45 minutes ago, Brandon H said:

correct; I've even seen people use actual soap/water to clean dirty mobos before; you just have to make sure it's COMPLETELY dry again before you supply power.

(you can either air dry or I've heard you can put your oven at the lowest temperature and place the board in for a few minutes and it will dry without damage; can't vouch for this drying technique though personally)

Yeah, I never did that oven thing, either. I just let it fully air dry before using it again. :)

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+goretsky    919

Hello,

 

If you are going to use water, either in whole or as part of a solution with something else (like alcohol), you need to use distilled water, as that removes chemical impurities.  Tap water contains small amounts of minerals (elements) that can cause a short circuit by increasing the conductivity between closely-placed components or exposed circuit traces, cause oxidation of exposed contacts, etc.  Admittedly, that kind of damage is rare and usually takes some time before it has any effect, but there's no reason to prematurely shorten the useful life of a device.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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Mindovermaster    1,524
14 minutes ago, goretsky said:

Hello,

 

If you are going to use water, either in whole or as part of a solution with something else (like alcohol), you need to use distilled water, as that removes chemical impurities.  Tap water contains small amounts of minerals (elements) that can cause a short circuit by increasing the conductivity between closely-placed components or exposed circuit traces, cause oxidation of exposed contacts, etc.  Admittedly, that kind of damage is rare and usually takes some time before it has any effect, but there's no reason to prematurely shorten the useful life of a device.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

As Brandon said, tap water should not harm it unless you turn it on when wet. When dry, tap water shouldn't hurt it. Most boards these days aren't like the boards of the 80s...

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Brandon H    2,095
15 hours ago, Mindovermaster said:

As Brandon said, tap water should not harm it unless you turn it on when wet. When dry, tap water shouldn't hurt it. Most boards these days aren't like the boards of the 80s...

no, goretski is correct depending on the quality of your tap water; minerals/chemicals ect in tap water can potentially leave behind a film that could be conductive. distilled water is so cheap so better safe than sorry I always say :)

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conna    103

A greybeard said that back in the day, he used the "Scrubbing Bubbles" spray can foam to clean mobo's without hurting them.  I have not tried but I have used Isobropol and distilled water before to clean mobo's before and it worked.  I ran a keyboard through the dishwasher and it worked afterward.  Again, make sure it's completely dry.  

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conna    103

Distilled water does not remove impurities,  It lacks Impurities.  Unfortunately, the moment you transfer it to a "dirty" medium or use it, it just becomes "water".  There is really nothing magical about distilled water.  Yes, it starts off cleaner but in terms of cleaning, its WAY more important to remove the moisture than worry about what is in the moisture.  The chlorine and fluoride in tap water are what will leave "fingers" on the solder and you don't want that. Those two chemicals also build up and turn to a crust causing issues in other applications.  Like fountains and fish tanks. 

 

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