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Windex to the rescue

jrfuda

Active Member
Guys, yesterday I spilled about 1/3 of a frappuccino into the keyboard of one Uncle Sam's laptops. Quicker than I could pull the power and battery, it died.

I decided I should at least try to clean it up before turning it in and possibly facing the financial repercussions of screwing it up.

I meticulously disassembled the laptop until I had several dozen component parts.

Everything was coated with sticky, nasty coffee, sugar, and milk. It appeared that the liquid had "boiled off" in spots, either due to the heat generated by a running laptop, some short circuits, or both (Ever let a pot full of something boil until it was all gone, that's what it looked like).

I proceeded to drench everything with windex, scrub it with a toothbrush (Yes, I'm talking circuit boards here) and blow the excess off with a bulb blower (a poor-mans version of those aerosol 'air in a can' deals that never needs refilling). When I was done, everything was super-clean and dry.

I reassembled everything and tried a power on, nothing happened. I tried a few more times and gave up, at least it didn't smell like coffee anymore.

About an hour later I tried again... It worked. Must've been a little moisture left in it somewhere when I tried earlier. The only problem was sticky down arrow key that was fixed after repeated pressing.

I'm sure I broke every rule in the book as far as handling electronic equipment, but I had read about people placing keyboards and floppy disk drives in the dishwasher before and them working better than new after they came out, so I figured I had nothing to loose (since the laptop was dead anyway).

Disclaimer: I'm not condoning anyone going out and hosing down any of their electronics.
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
You put your HD in the freezer (ok, that's acceptable), you throw a frappuccino on your laptop, you use windex to clean the circuit boards, I can only come to these conclusions:

1) you are IT's worst nightmare
2) you must have seen "My big fat Greek wedding"
3) you are crazy
4) you are VERY lucky :D
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Hmm, I bet a lot of the commercial circuit board cleaners are ammonia-based, just windex in an aerosol can. This site: http://www.logwell.com/tech/servtips/cleaning.html suggest useing pure grain alchol for the task becuase prolonged exposure to ammonia can damage plastic (but the exposure of the boards in question ws not prolonged). I have a bottle of everclear that I guess I could have used instead of the windex (probably would have masked the coffee odor better too) but didn't this of it until after I read the above article.

My point is, that as long as what you're using doesn't corrode the board's components, you don't introduce any static during the process, and you wait for everthing to be dry, you have nothing to worry about.

But yes, I am lucky
 

zack

Active Member
:)

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And FYI... keyboard in dishwasher does work and it comes out lemony fresh too! Take off all the keys and place them in a sock. Put the keyboard face down on the top rack. Use a gentle cycle and remember to turn it off before drying cycle. The heat from drying will warp the plastic. :D
 
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