Remove / Reduce Smoke Smell from Computer and KB ?

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by OSMac, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    Came across a old desktop I thought would be interesting to explore.
    The previous owner must have been a heavy smoker,
    as the keyboard and machine are making my room smell like a pool hall :)

    Any suggestions to remove the smell, I tried a quick wash down but it did not help.
  2. macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2006
    It's -inside- -everything- and I do mean everything.

    Power supply, drives. fans. All over. Short of disassembling everything, submerging what you can, using a good brush, and flushing out the electronics with $35-a-can spray, forget it. It's done.
  3. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    Sorry to hear that well it just cost me some time,
    was fun to tinker with the old machine.

    Just wrapped it all in a plastic, will put in the garage.
    Maybe in the summer will take out back and wash it in and out.

    The smell is so bad I feel like I've been smoking, unbelivable.
  4. macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Clean the inside case with "Superclean" or other industrial cleaner and replace the fans. Blow out the boards with an air compressor. It should get better over time.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2006
    Over time, it will improve. But yes, I should have mentioned, at a minimum, fans all just need to go.

    The smoke is sucked through everything. The biggest hassle being the power supply which has a constant running fan and is loaded with it. As the thing heats up it pukes out more and more.

    Bagging it up actually helps less. If anything, I know this may sound weird, but putting the thing by a window that generally flows outward, and putting it in such a way that air movement has to go through it..

    Over all, I have found that hardware from smokers meant the case, fans and power supply at a minimum were going. If it's a Mac, then the fans got replaced, the case got Simple Green'ed, a good knuckle brush, more Simple Green and then blasted with the hose. The power supply would have to be disassembled and cleaned just like the motherboard, cards, etc. With defluxer, or 99% isopropyl alcohol. Fresh, sealed bottle. Remove the motherboard battery, and use it with a toothbrush to clean RAM sticks, cards, the motherboard. Put some in an unwanted cake pan or similar. Set the board in it, swish it around, use the brush. Then lift it out and swing it in the air. Great on a windy day, go outside with it. The stuff evaporates fast. Clean all of it that way. It contains no water, and does not conduct.

    You'll be amazed at the outcome, and realize you didn't even see most of the crud until it's not there.

    The keyboard? ...

    I've heard many stories of top rack in the dish washer. But I usually disassemble the case, pluck all the key caps. You can put them in a sock and toss it in the laundry. With the caps off .. and once your passed being grossed out, you can use a good stuff brush while standing in the wind, and then bleach in a spray bottle, paper towels and .. clean it up. Clean all the plastics separately, and the coiled cable can just get blasted with cleaner and pulled through a handfull of paper towels several times in each direction.
  6. macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2011
    IPA everywhere, then let it air out until it doesn't smell miserable anymore. My grandma smoked in my house since I was very, very young. Only way to get rid of the smell was to scrub, sand, or paint whatever smoke residue was stuck to. Remember, it's partially tar you're scrubbing off.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    Jan 30, 2012
    You mean your only supposed to wash the keyboard?

    oh my god what have I done :eek:
  8. macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    Jan 30, 2012
    Has anybody ever considered that he should mabye try putting some febreze into the air vents and then letting it vent out
  9. macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2006
    ..and you still have smoker crud inside covering everything, that is now turned into "mud" with Febreze. It's like putting newspaper and a rock over the pile of dog crap in the yard. Eventually it will "wear off" and you'll need to spray more. Meanwhile it will still stink.

    I've got a small Speak N' Spell sized computer box here that was pretty rare in 1993, that I picked up from a chain smoker.

    It -still- stinks on the port openings. I never went inside the thing back then, just cleaned the exterior surfaces off, removed the pages and threw away the binder, just let it sit in a breezeway, with the accessories on top for about 3 years initially before messing with it. I knew it was going to stink when I got it. It was supposed to light tan and white, the thing was the color of a yellowed Apple //e or PPC era Mac.
  10. macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2013
    You need a special odor absorber in the form of a spray, they are great not just mask the smell of smoke, but destroy it. Apply it on the motherboard and other parts of your computer, and leave the computer in a garage or other well-ventilated area.
  11. macrumors 68000


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Not just smokers' houses -

    I once did a repair on a VCR that was used in a household that routinely lit incense sticks.

    Rather than a "nice" smell, when I brought it back to the workshop, it emitted a horrid sickly smell for the entire time I had it.

    I was more than happy once I returned the repaired VCR back to it's owner.

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