Question Mould inside PC

omegaglory1

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May 5, 2015
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Hi all, I’m trying to give my PC a clean up. My bedroom has been suffering humidity issues and I recently discovered mould has been growing in my wardrobe space. While I’ve been able to correct the humidity problem and have cleaned up the mould as best as I can, I’m concerned my PC might have been affected by being in the same room for several months.

I’m aware electronics aren’t prone to mould, being 99% plastic and metal, but I would like to perform a deep clean for peace of mind. I’ve had to throw out some books and send some clothing to the dry cleaners. If there is indeed mould growing somewhere inside, the last thing I want is to turn it on and disperse it everywhere!

Is it safe to open up my GPU to inspect the inside? I have an Asus rtx 3070 and the plate looks like it can be unscrewed. I would like to make sure there isn’t any mould inside the card and to give the fans a wipe.
 
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Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
PSU's should not be opened. With power off and host system unplugged you can use a bright flashlight to peek through the PSU holes to look for mould spots. I would not expect any spots to be found unless (perhaps) there is a great deal of dust, debris, and grime in general to host the mould.

If mould is seen the PSU should be carefully removed and properly disposed via local requirements for electronic wastes/recycling.

As for the GPU I would not expect mould to be there either. Remove the cover to clean and inspect. Do so outdoors.

Do check the GPU's User Manual for the necessary instructions and process.

Asus website:

https://www.asus.com/support/Download-Center/

For the most part cleaning should consist of just some gentle blasts of canned air to blow out dust and debris.

Hold the fan blades in place and do not allow them to spin.
 
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mikewinddale

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Dec 22, 2016
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I suspect that mold won't be any worse than dust. The typical solution to a dust problem is to take a can of compressed air and just blow everything. Use the straw extension to blow into tight areas, including the spaces within the heatsink, and inside the power supply.

You don't need to take anything apart. Mold can't get in between the heatsink and the CPU or GPU die because the heatsink is applied with pressure, and the thermal paste forms a tight seal. Just blow compressed air everywhere else.

Make sure you keep the can of compressed air upright. If you tilt the can too much, or hold it upside down, you will spray the actual fluid, which you don't want. Instead of waving and shaking the can around, just hold the straw with your fingers and fling the straw around.

When blowing fans, use something like a finger or stick to hold the fan still.

Here is a video by Thermaltake about cleaning a power supply with compressed air. Apply the same procedure to every other component.
 
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omegaglory1

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May 5, 2015
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Thanks for the answers, everyone. It’s been a stressful few weeks (packing up books to send off for restoration, clearing out stuff) but a quick update.

I checked the entire PC and I'm happy to say that it's fine for the most part. My only concerns are the motherboard, PSU and HDD.

The motherboard has some small hard patches here and there, mostly on the reverse sideline. It's hard to say what it could be. It's transparent, feels hard and won't come off with gentle rubbing. I'm thinking of using a cotton bud soaked in some ipa.

I can see something that looks glossy and black while peeking into the PSU (didn't open it). My best guess is adhesive that's melted, which seems odd as I thought PSUs had high tolerances?

The HDD has a foam cushion layer. The drive itself is sealed and moisture resistant but the foam bothers me. I've already had an issue with foam packaging absorbing moisture and becoming mouldy elsewhere. Is there a way to remove it?
 
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Bazzy 505

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Jul 17, 2021
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Now when it comes to mould, it can quite hazardous to your health. If you cannot afford to have the walls treated by fungicide, scraped off and repainted, You can kill the spores by spraying the affected area with Clorox or similar chlorine based solution. To most moulds copper, silver and many other metals are actually poisoneous, so you really don't need to worry about it growing inside your pc. Dusting it thoroughly with compressed air is more than sufficient. One thing to bear in mind, those cans you buy in stores labelled as "compressed air" for cleaning electronics are usually not "air" at all. Be careful about spraying it into electronics under power. Certainly do not spray it into power supply while still plugged, especially not when when holding the can on the side or upside down. It's fairly safe to do it when power is removed, but still air compressor is a better way to go.
 

Paperdoc

Champion
Ambassador
Re your three concerns about the innards of your PC:

1. Transparent hard stuff on mobo, mostly back side - leave it alone. It is NOT mould, and it is not doing any harm. Could just be a small rosin residue from soldering, or a glue used to hold something in place. Scraping or attacking with a solvent might just damage something else.

2. Glossy black stuff inside the PSU likely is a heat-resistant insulating type of "glue" or "potting compound" used to hold things in place AND insulate electrically. Leave that alone, too.

3. The foam cushions on the hard drive are for shock absorption and noise reduction. They are made of CLOSED-cell polyurethane foam. That kind of foam comes in two very different types. Open-cell has small passages between most of the bubbles in the foam, so any fluid (air, water, whatever) can flow though it and be held inside the foam. Closed-cell has NO connections - each bubble is complete and there is NO way for water to penetrate into the foam. This stuff is nearly waterproof and very widely used for shock absorption and sound absorption because it is stiffer but still flexible. Don't worry about that stuff, either.
 

omegaglory1

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May 5, 2015
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Re your three concerns about the innards of your PC:

1. Transparent hard stuff on mobo, mostly back side - leave it alone. It is NOT mould, and it is not doing any harm. Could just be a small rosin residue from soldering, or a glue used to hold something in place. Scraping or attacking with a solvent might just damage something else.

2. Glossy black stuff inside the PSU likely is a heat-resistant insulating type of "glue" or "potting compound" used to hold things in place AND insulate electrically. Leave that alone, too.

3. The foam cushions on the hard drive are for shock absorption and noise reduction. They are made of CLOSED-cell polyurethane foam. That kind of foam comes in two very different types. Open-cell has small passages between most of the bubbles in the foam, so any fluid (air, water, whatever) can flow though it and be held inside the foam. Closed-cell has NO connections - each bubble is complete and there is NO way for water to penetrate into the foam. This stuff is nearly waterproof and very widely used for shock absorption and sound absorption because it is stiffer but still flexible. Don't worry about that stuff, either.
Thanks for the info! The foam on the hdd looks discoloured, which I'm concerned about. Without opening the hdd, is it possible to remove the pcb in order to access the foam? From what I can see, the pcb is held in place with six sided torx screws.
 

Paperdoc

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Probably possible but risky. I expect the unit is dsigned to make it really difficult to open it, so you can't do it by mistake. However, some of the connections between the PCB and the innards may be delicate and you cannot afford to damage those.
 
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