Remove Nicotine / Tar from PC components (the easy way) - Dryer Sheets Epic Fail ? :S

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by itsmemario1, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. itsmemario1

    itsmemario1 MDL Senior Member

    Sep 10, 2012
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  2. cocachris89

    cocachris89 MDL Senior Member

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    I have always used isopropyl to clean components as its safe to use on electronics, it evaporates off, and it cleans things really well.
     
  3. itsmemario1

    itsmemario1 MDL Senior Member

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    #3 itsmemario1, Sep 27, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
    (OP)
    As I dont want to dissassamble the card or the keyboard...rinse isopropyl all over it or "sinking" em in an isopropyl bath for some minutes is probably not enough / the best idea ?

    I dont have much time right now, Im still looking for the easy way ^^ so I could at least use a toothbrush on the lower side of the graphics card + isopropyl...or is "toothbrush-rubbing" already "too hard" for the PCB ?
     
  4. cocachris89

    cocachris89 MDL Senior Member

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    #4 cocachris89, Sep 27, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
    Get as much of it off as possible with an air compressor and using a toothbrush + IPA should be fine, just do it like your brushing your teeth. If you are really paranoid, you could purchase an ESD safe brush.

    As for the keyboard, the key caps can easily be popped on and off for cleaning. Use a pen or something plastic so you don't scratch the keyboard.

    You'll be surprised where and how dust/tobacco get into; the best approach would be to dismantle everything completely and clean them seperately for best results.
     
  5. QuantumBug

    QuantumBug MDL Developer

    Mar 7, 2012
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    First off there is no easy way. Tar sticks and it STAYS! You need to get into components and give it a deep scrub.

    Your best bet would be using anything with toluene, xylene or benzene seems tobacco tar contains phenol based compounds. But be careful, too high a concentrate can damage certain surfaces, especially plastics seems these solvents are extremely strong.

    For smokers I go for some warm vinegar and elbow grease. I have to stay away from solvents due to migraines, but vinegar is the best thing I've used next to Isopropyl alcohol. Also window cleaning fluid is also good for cleaning tar, I have a friend that swears by it.

    After nicely cleaned and looking it will need air, air and more fresh air! Else the smell will linger.

    A way to keep it out? Stretched woman's tights. Less airflow but most of the tar and dust will get caught. Cigarette smoke is a PC killer.
     
  6. itsmemario1

    itsmemario1 MDL Senior Member

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    #6 itsmemario1, Oct 3, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
    (OP)
    Thanks for additional ideas.

    I took the card apart and toothbrushed the PCB with isopropyl.
    I placed the heatsink into an isopropyl bath for some hours and brushed it carefully, but with good will. (I know, it should have been days)
    Put the stuff into the air + sun.

    Result :

    While the PCB and the top plastic cover only has very little of "smell" left, the heatsink still has a ugly mix of dryer sheets + nicotine left.
    But ya, its better.

    I wasnt expecting dryer sheets to be THAT strong. ;O


    So I guess putting it into the fridge or oven after the isopropyl bath is a myth then ?
    Also my gf would probably not allow it and I would be scared of various chemicals beeing released through the "baking" process.
     
  7. QuantumBug

    QuantumBug MDL Developer

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    I would never put any heatsinks, plastics or components in the fridge or oven, it's just not worth it.

    Yup, the heavier chemicals can damage stuff, it just a method of mixing and matching a good process for you that's quick and efficient.

    One thing I've found is the power supply should normally just be replaced as it's really not worth attempting to de-tar, and can be a big safety risk. I recommended this to many tar infested PC customers and they all agreed.
     
  8. michaelmyers

    michaelmyers MDL Member

    May 28, 2015
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    Three cleaners I have used for years that will take nicotine of completely:

    Simple Green
    Mean Green
    LA's Totally Awesome

    Any of those can be found at Dollar Tree, Dollar General or Family Dollar very cheap. They are very strong and non-toxic. They all come in a concentrated form or an anti-bacterial form that adds a lemon smell. There a Super Strength Mean Green that's very good, but not recommended for glass. It leaves a residue on glass that takes forever to remove.

    After cleaning with one of those, clean again with isopropyl alcohol and let dry.
     
  9. itsmemario1

    itsmemario1 MDL Senior Member

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    Germany here, I dont think we have any of those "Greens" or "awesomes" ;)