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Cleaning a motherboard (and other components) with de-mineralised water. Problems?

By Tommygunn ยท 11 replies
Oct 14, 2011
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  1. I've just acquired a second hand motherboard that needs a good clean. Apart from the usual vacuum cleaner and make-up brush routine would it be okay to give it a bath in de-mineralised water to shift the dirt?

  2. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Evangelist Posts: 787   +58

    Wow, it must be really dirty if you have to resort to bath it. Never heard of using DI water. DI water is not compatible w/ all metals, so if you're using it, I'd suggest drying the board quickly & completely. What about using isopropyl alcohol?
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    If you had access to some high purity DIW (like 18 M-Ohm) and an oven where you could dry it at say 95C for a few hours, then I suppose it would be fine to do it that way. But if its just store bought distilled water and you had to air dry I'd think there are better ways to clean it.
  4. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 71

    I've been doing some looking about and there are loads of videos and info on people simply washing kit in the sink with plain tap water and soap, even people sticking keyboards in dishwashers.
    I think I might do a soap and warm distilled water bath then rinse with more distilled water. I'll then blast it with the compressor and let dry for 24hrs.

  5. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Evangelist Posts: 787   +58

    I did a search on Youtube and found the clips you mentions. Unbelievable. Seems a bit much to me. Must have had a layer of grim or whatever buildup that's affecting the connection of the add-on cards and the board.

    Good luck.
  6. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,281   +372

    Keyboards in dishwashers
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    I too have known keyboards to go in dishwashers ok. But a keyboard isn't the same as a motherboard. Generally there is much more to lose with a motherboard.

    Its not the water that kills things, its either what is dissolved in the water, or what is on the board that dissolves into water that is the problem. If you can get it completely dried before putting power back to there is a pretty good chance everything will be fine. But, using anything except really high purity DIW (and even with that if its not air cleaned first there is going to be a lot that will dissolve and make it no longer DIW ) is going to have the chance of having something conductive dry out right between 2 areas that aren't supposed to have any electrical contact. If that drying part is just calcium, then its probably fine, but if its anything conductive it can be a problem.

    Maybe the chances are low, but is it worth the risk?

    What has been done to this motherboard to necessitate cleaning by anything other than air or maybe a swipe with a lint free cloth?
  8. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Evangelist Posts: 787   +58

    And maybe a bit of isopropyl alcohol.

    As for DI water, if you know someone who works in a lab or power plant or some sort of industrial facility, you can probably ask that person to get you a gallon or two of it. Even if DI water is not used in the manufacturing process, it might be used in the power generating part of the facility.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    I work in a geochem lab, we make our DIW there :)
  10. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I washed my phone in DI water. It was going nicely until the crap washed off and the water was no longer DI water. I'd think that's the biggest problem, especially if it's pretty dirty.
    I've seen dishwasher safe keyboards. Pretty handy I guess.
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    Yeh, if you try to wash something dirty in only a couple liters of DIW, then you are going to run into problems real quick. If you want to do a DIW wash, its going to take a lot if you plan on bathing. If you want to do a rinse, its generally accepted that a triple rinse is sufficient.
  12. tweakboy

    tweakboy TS Guru Posts: 467

    Try a ear pick and alchohol but not much.... let it dry then turn on system. gl

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