Question Time for a deep clean.

katabaticwind

Junior Member
Oct 24, 2021
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Hi guys,
I have a question. I have stopped smoking and am cleaning my entire apartment, my comp also needs a good going over, I have a quantity of 99.7% alcohol, it contains - propan-2-ol, ethanol.

I was wondering how long the mobo takes to discharge, so I don't short anything out, it needs a bath and I have canned air to blast the excess, then let it air dry for 24 hours at 20C/68F. I am also thinking of the PSU also.
These are the main "large components" the rest I can do without immersion, I have soft anti-stat brushes and whatnot.

thanx in advance,
katabaticwind
 

zir_blazer

Golden Member
Jun 6, 2013
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Really bad advice. From a research chemist, DO NOT use any chemicals to clean your MB. Air and a soft brush, that's it.
How about Isopropyl Alcohol like I see in a lot of cleaning/restoration videos? I was intending that if at some point I have enough free time and will, I was going to use that alcohol with a toothbrush to slowly clean the PCB surface of many Motherboards I have that got a layer of dust. But your comment seems to point out that it is not a good idea.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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How about Isopropyl Alcohol like I see in a lot of cleaning/restoration videos? I was intending that if at some point I have enough free time and will, I was going to use that alcohol with a toothbrush to slowly clean the PCB surface of many Motherboards I have that got a layer of dust. But your comment seems to point out that it is not a good idea.
I have scrubbed down many wireless phones with very pure alcohol and they all have been fine however it is worth noting scrubbing with alcohol does not fix water damage problems it just makes it better for a short to medium term time.
I agree with the above there is no need to do a super deep cleaning on a motherboard. Air blast and a gentle brushing should clean it up fine.
Do not use canned air, they always attract condensation and that moisture will end up on something important.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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The number of times I've "deep cleaned" a motherboard in my 25+ years of building computers: 0

Unless you have specific reason you must clean it with chemicals (like you took your PC out mudding or to a paint ball contest), then compressed air once every year or two is plenty.

Always remember the acronym: KISS
 
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mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
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Really bad advice. From a research chemist, DO NOT use any chemicals to clean your MB. Air and a soft brush, that's it.
This is not accurate. In fact the manufacturers themselves often use hot detergent solution to clean the remaining water soluble flux off PCBs. Air and a brush will just make a mess of the electrical contacts in this topic's case, smearing the tobacco tar where it wasn't (yet). Air alone (or w/brush) only works if there is nothing but dust deposited.

I've cleaned countless motherboards including those of heavy smokers. You need to pull the battery, any fans (less common these days), then spray with an ammonia/detergent solution to cut through the tobacco tar. If using ammonia then you also need to remove any aluminum (heatsinks, in particular), but if there were no tobacco tar, suppose regular environmental (except in a kitchen with grease vapor, use ammonia still) hot detergent solution will be enough.

Let it sit a minute once wetted with the cleaning solution, then submerge in a very shallow pan of water and scrub with a fine bristled paint brush - at least 1" wide brush if you don't want to spend all day at it.

Rinse in plain water, then dip in a tub of water with a drop of dish washer rinse aid (aka anti-spotting agent) which reduces the water surface tension so it sheets off instead of remaining behind in droplets. If rushing or desperate you can use a drop of dish detergent instead, or pour rubbing alcohol over it as a final rinse.

Gently shake remaining excess water off, prop up on its side and point a fan at it (if in a hurry) or otherwise in a room with decent air circulation for a day (or more, depending on ambient humidity).

Rubbing alcohol alone will not do nearly as well at cutting through the tobacco tar compared to ammonia, or an ammonia containing product like Mr. Clean is what I usually use.

If done carefully the only harm that comes of it is degrading any paper stickers on the board, assuming you wait until it is completely dry before powering it up. Lastly make sure to inspect the slots, CPU socket, etc to make sure no paint brush bristles were left behind, and if trying to clean the CPU socket and it has fragile exposed pins, be very careful/gentle.
 

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