[SOLVED] Used Alcohol with moisturizer to clean cpu, should I be worried?

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jelardz2000

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ethyl alcohol has more of a "drying" effect than isopropyl alcohol. so its more likely to contain some sort of moisturizer, or "residue". but who knows if isopropyl truly wont leave any residue...

ive used the same alcohol OP used to clean the ihs of my 3600, die of rtx 2060, r9 380, r9 390, an old q6600... no difference at all in cooling...
Have you noticed any residue left on the IHS? Or PCB? Or any corrosion?
 

Jmi20

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Have you noticed any residue left on the IHS? Or PCB? Or any corrosion?
none. I believe “residue” is unavoidable though, there will always be something left behind after cleaning your components. Unless you are using surgical grade alcohol and are in a clean room.

ive used the same alcohol you used to clean off the flux after the R9 380 repair. No problems…

but, theres absolutely nothing wrong with being sure. Do what you think is best for your components, and for peace of mind.
 

Karadjgne

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Push an eraser across a flat-paint surface. You get a pink stain.

For just a simple clean, when using the same brand of paste on a reapply, a simple wipe-off is fine. It's when changing to different brands that you should use the isopropyl, it removes any silicates or oily residue left behind on the IHS which could possibly interfere with or have adverse chemical reactions to the new paste.

Under pressure, the paste will only be a few microns thick, so any oils (or moisturizers) or other contaminates like dusts or tissue fibers, can create thermal barriers which result in 'hot spots' which if not at one of the thermal readers will not be registered by them, so go totally unnoticed by you temp reporting software. You can fry several thousand transistors in a matter of less than a minute, permanently, and never be the wiser.
 

dragonorb13

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You're just compounding problems after problems, hmmm? You shouldn't have used the isopropyl alcohol to begin with, compounding that, you shouldn't have reassembled it, compounding that, you shouldn't have fired the system at all prior to getting all of the prior "moisturizer" off. You should shut down the system, disassemble the parts that you used with the solvent that had moisturizer in it, then wipe it all down with proper rubbing alcohol that does not contain moisturizer in it.

should I clean the CPU again with actual 70% IPA alcohol with no moisturizer?
Yes

because I don't have RAM right now
The system should've been in it's box, then, until you sourced the right stuff.
I'm sorry, please for give me if twenty four years of of break fixing and PC assembly, three of which for a major computer manufacturer on a high end business computer line, plus a degree in computer information systems is insufficient for this, but... What, precisely is wrong with isopropyl alcohol being used to clean PC components

Short of totally submerging a component with capacitors on it, and then turning it on without drying completely (which will fry it, and possibly cause combustion), I can't imagine a single component there usage of up to 99% rubbing alcohol is not the recommended cleaning agent by every manufacturer that I have even the faintest amount of respect for. And at least one I don't have any respect for. I require reference material on whatever issue you think this causes.

Because from everything I've ever learned from anyone that actually knows what they're doing, you're 100% wrong. The NES and SNES instructions told you to use rubbing alcohol on the contacts if you needed to clean the cartridges. The primary suggestion my L2 support gave for anyone was 90% isopropyl or greater on contacts and to remove thermal past. And any place you need to sanitize for user interface, such as hospitals using touch screens in an operating theatre.

The main reason for it being used is because 99% pure isopropyl alcohol leaves zero residue, and lower percentages leave less residue than any other material you care to name. The OP's accidental usage of a moisturizing variant counting as a fourth sigma outlying case. The only time I can think of where you would use anything other than isopropyl alcohol is literally when you don't have any.

So, please. I beg you. Enlighten me. Show me exactly what your sources are for what I view as total insanity.
 
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Jmi20

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I'm sorry, please for give me if twenty four years of of break fixing and PC assembly, three of which for a major computer manufacturer on a high end business computer line, plus a degree in computer information systems is insufficient for this, but... What, precisely is wrong with isopropyl alcohol being used to clean PC components

Short of totally submerging a component with capacitors on it, and then turning it on without drying completely (which will fry it, and possibly cause combustion), I can't imagine a single component there usage of up to 99% rubbing alcohol is not the recommended cleaning agent by every manufacturer that I have even the faintest amount of respect for. And at least one I don't have any respect for. I require reference material on whatever issue you think this causes.

Because from everything I've ever learned from anyone that actually knows what they're doing, you're 100% wrong. The NES and SNES instructions told you to use rubbing alcohol on the contacts if you needed to clean the cartridges. The primary suggestion my L2 support gave for anyone was 90% isopropyl or greater on contacts and to remove thermal past. And any place you need to sanitize for user interface, such as hospitals using touch screens in an operating theatre.

The main reason for it being used is because 99% pure isopropyl alcohol leaves zero residue, and lower percentages leave less residue than any other material you care to name. The OP's accidental usage of a moisturizing variant counting as a fourth sigma outlying case. The only time I can think of where you would use anything other than isopropyl alcohol is literally when you don't have any.

So, please. I beg you. Enlighten me. Show me exactly what your sources are for what I view as total insanity.
i believe what he meant to say is the alcohol that OP used.

i think this argument would never end. its just like what thermal paste to use or how to apply it, apple vs android, or what oil to use for my car.

another thing to note, we are building pcs here. not the international space station where everything is mission critical... it (specifically for cleaning the ihs) is almost impossible to get it surgically clean without being in a surgical clean room, using medical grade alcohol...

heck, you could even clean a pcb with water after soldering components to remove the flux...
 

dragonorb13

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i believe what he meant to say is the alcohol that OP used.

i think this argument would never end. its just like what thermal paste to use or how to apply it, apple vs android, or what oil to use for my car.

another thing to note, we are building pcs here. not the international space station where everything is mission critical... it (specifically for cleaning the ihs) is almost impossible to get it surgically clean without being in a surgical clean room, using medical grade alcohol...

heck, you could even clean a pcb with water after soldering components to remove the flux...
While your statements are all technically true, it's one thing to have a preferred agent that happens to not be the normally recommended one... And an entirely different thing to explicitly call out said most commonly advised cleaning agent (especially by people who are legally responsible if their advice can be proven to be inherently damaging to your system) as a problem. Either he made a small, but egregiously important error in communicating context, or his advice is hair on fire crazy. The former is understandable, and if that's the case I'm more than willing to apologize. The latter, on the other hand, I won't.

In the case of your last comment, you are entirely correct. Just let that sucker dry thoroughly before you run power through it.
 

Udyr

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I'm sorry, please for give me if twenty four years of of break fixing and PC assembly, three of which for a major computer manufacturer on a high end business computer line, plus a degree in computer information systems is insufficient for this, but... What, precisely is wrong with isopropyl alcohol being used to clean PC components

Short of totally submerging a component with capacitors on it, and then turning it on without drying completely (which will fry it, and possibly cause combustion), I can't imagine a single component there usage of up to 99% rubbing alcohol is not the recommended cleaning agent by every manufacturer that I have even the faintest amount of respect for. And at least one I don't have any respect for. I require reference material on whatever issue you think this causes.

Because from everything I've ever learned from anyone that actually knows what they're doing, you're 100% wrong. The NES and SNES instructions told you to use rubbing alcohol on the contacts if you needed to clean the cartridges. The primary suggestion my L2 support gave for anyone was 90% isopropyl or greater on contacts and to remove thermal past. And any place you need to sanitize for user interface, such as hospitals using touch screens in an operating theatre.

The main reason for it being used is because 99% pure isopropyl alcohol leaves zero residue, and lower percentages leave less residue than any other material you care to name. The OP's accidental usage of a moisturizing variant counting as a fourth sigma outlying case. The only time I can think of where you would use anything other than isopropyl alcohol is literally when you don't have any.

So, please. I beg you. Enlighten me. Show me exactly what your sources are for what I view as total insanity.
Finally someone else acknowledging alcohol doesn't leave any residue. I don't know what alcohols some are using here, besides what OP used.
 

Jmi20

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Finally someone else acknowledging alcohol doesn't leave any residue. I don't know what alcohols some are using here, besides what OP used.
your answer is quite contradictory. you believe that alcohol doesn't leave any residue, but acknowledge that the alcohol OP used leaves residue. they're both loosely described as alcohol, correct?
 

Udyr

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your answer is quite contradictory. you believe that alcohol doesn't leave any residue, but acknowledge that the alcohol OP used leaves residue. they're both loosely described as alcohol, correct?
And do I have to specify again OP's alcohol has an added moisturizer, which was the main reason why he/she posted the concern? Where's the contradiction if what may leave a residue in OP's situation is the moisturizer added to the mix?
 
your answer is quite contradictory. you believe that alcohol doesn't leave any residue, but acknowledge that the alcohol OP used leaves residue. they're both loosely described as alcohol, correct?
There is definitely confusion.

OP didn't use "pure" alcohol, but alcohol with a moisturizer included in it (hand sanitizer). It's the moisturizer that leaves the residue; people seem to be confusing or simply ignoring that. The alcohol itself will evaporate clean and leave no residue.
 
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jelardz2000

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And do I have to specify again OP's alcohol has an added moisturizer, which was the main reason why he/she posted the concern? Where's the contradiction if what may leave a residue in OP's situation is the moisturizer added to the mix?
One last thing. Has residue like my case ever been know to kill a cpu? Or seep into PCB? My alcohol may take weeks to arrive and the time I can spare will be 31sr of agaust, but I need to use the computer before then. Is it safe to use it and clean up at the end of the month? Or should I use a laptop
 

Udyr

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One last thing. Has residue like my case ever been know to kill a cpu? Or seep into PCB? My alcohol may take weeks to arrive and the time I can spare will be 31sr of agaust, but I need to use the computer before then. Is it safe to use it and clean up at the end of the month? Or should I use a laptop
No pharmacy/drug or department store near you to get at least a bottle of 70% isopropyl? Better be safe than sorry and clean off the possible residue left over by the moisturizer.
 

Jmi20

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It shouldn’t. In fact i just cleaned this:


with this:


and there is absolutely no streaking, or visible sign of residue. ive had so many components that never had any issue after being cleaned with ANY type of alcohol such as ethyl, isopropyl, even electronic contact cleaner (obviously...).
OP, you are overthinking. or perhaps we're all overthinking.

how would we know if "residue" OF ANY KIND will in fact damage components or make them fail over time? has there been any conclusive testing in the span of multiple hundred hours or even years? who's to say it hasn't failed due to age by then?
could we define residue as contamination? if yes, then the other guy who uses an eraser to polish his ihs should have had his cpu fail a long time ago. dust and moisture is unavoidable, but why arent millions of pc's suddenly failing?

like i said, we're building pc's here. not rockets.

but, as i've also said. OP, you must do whatever makes you sleep at night. buy 99% pure isopropyl alcohol if you must.
 
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jelardz2000

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No pharmacy/drug or department store near you to get at least a bottle of 70% isopropyl? Better be safe than sorry and clean off the possible residue left over by the moisturizer.
Unfortunately no, in my area there is still community quarantine and it's hard to get into pharmacy stores right now
 

jelardz2000

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It shouldn’t. In fact i just cleaned this:


with this:


and there is absolutely no streaking, or visible sign of residue. ive had so many components that never had any issue after being cleaned with ANY type of alcohol such as ethyl, isopropyl, even electronic contact cleaner (obviously...).
OP, you are overthinking. or perhaps we're all overthinking.

how would we know if "residue" OF ANY KIND will in fact damage components or make them fail over time? has there been any conclusive testing in the span of multiple hundred hours or even years? who's to say it hasn't failed due to age by then?
could we define residue as contamination? if yes, then the other guy who uses an eraser to polish his ihs should have had his cpu fail a long time ago. dust and moisture is unavoidable, but why arent millions of pc's suddenly failing?

like i said, we're building pc's here. not rockets.

but, as i've also said. OP, you must do whatever makes you sleep at night. buy 99% pure isopropyl alcohol if you must.
Yea I guess I am but I will clean it off eventually, it's mostly the PCB I'm worried about. Otherwise I'm confident. Thanks for your time and effort on this and everyone
 
lol, wouldnt an eraser leave even bigger “residue”… dust, on the ihs?
Not in my experience as the eraser tends to have large pieces that roll off leaving an unoxidized surface ready for new paste. Seems to not interfere and maybe improve paste characteristics as well since I'm just using the best buy thermaltake paste (tg7?) and my systems are typically in over 80F heat without even hitting 45c under 100% load.
 
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One last thing. Has residue like my case ever been know to kill a cpu? Or seep into PCB? My alcohol may take weeks to arrive and the time I can spare will be 31sr of agaust, but I need to use the computer before then. Is it safe to use it and clean up at the end of the month? Or should I use a laptop
You can even use soap and water to get the residue off, but this is not recommended because people won't get all the water out by waiting a few days for it to dry and then will complain when they short out stuff. But if you have the patience, a toothbrush and some toothpaste and then a few days baking in the sun to dry out would do the trick as well. Toothpaste is an excellent metal polish.
 

Jmi20

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You can even use soap and water to get the residue off, but this is not recommended because people won't get all the water out by waiting a few days for it to dry and then will complain when they short out stuff. But if you have the patience, a toothbrush and some toothpaste and then a few days baking in the sun to dry out would do the trick as well. Toothpaste is an excellent metal polish.
yeah, ive used soap and water to clean freshly soldered pcb’s too. I would use compressed air to dry.

but umm, toothpaste? I think were starting to get into unknown territory here haha. Im guessing there won’t be anything conductive in toothpaste anyway but it would probably contain some abrasives…
 
yeah, ive used soap and water to clean freshly soldered pcb’s too. I would use compressed air to dry.

but umm, toothpaste? I think were starting to get into unknown territory here haha. Im guessing there won’t be anything conductive in toothpaste anyway but it would probably contain some abrasives…
Yep, toothpaste. Not the expensive stuff as it will contain things like large crystals of hydrated silica, but the cheaper stuff is just a great metal polish. After all, your teeth are enamel.

As far as conductivity, if you rinse it off properly its the same as soap and water--just gotta dry it properly.

One of the other 'greats' I've found is CRC contact cleaner--totally awesome stuff so would probably clean a cpu very well and is found at most auto parts stores.
 
... Using pencil erasers to polish contacts is a trick going back to the days of slot car racing.
The slot car crowd picked it up from the HO gauge model train crowd.

The reason, of course, is to abrade oxidation off the bare copper contacts. Doing the same on just about any component in a computer would be insane because all it accomplishes is to abrade away the thin gold plating used for the express purpose of preventing oxidation.
 
The slot car crowd picked it up from the HO gauge model train crowd.

The reason, of course, is to abrade oxidation off the bare copper contacts. Doing the same on just about any component in a computer would be insane because all it accomplishes is to abrade away the thin gold plating used for the express purpose of preventing oxidation.
lol, the good ideas keep on rolling. :D

Except it's not that thin. I used my erasers to polish memory module fingers all the time and have even corrected some marginal ones that way. I guess it's all in the type of eraser and how hard you're pressing.
 

dragonorb13

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One last thing. Has residue like my case ever been know to kill a cpu? Or seep into PCB? My alcohol may take weeks to arrive and the time I can spare will be 31sr of agaust, but I need to use the computer before then. Is it safe to use it and clean up at the end of the month? Or should I use a laptop
It would not seep in to the PCB or the circuits, no. The mechanism that allows it to do that on human skin is the porous membranes of the skin cells. Unless we've segued in to Farscape without my noticing, computers don't have that. If you're desperate, as someone else pointed out, you can use soap and water (I advise Dawn out of personal preference), but you do need to either thoroughly dry it with canned air or wait a few days for it to dry completely, or you short it the f- out. And once it's been properly cleaned and dried, there should be no lasting harm to it. If you have a back up machine you can use, that would actually be a good idea, though. For the sake of being paranoid.


Finally someone else acknowledging alcohol doesn't leave any residue. I don't know what alcohols some are using here, besides what OP used.
Of course I acknowledge it. I paid attention in high school science class. And, since the big box manufacturer I worked at explicitly told customers that were hospitals that this was the prefered material for cleaning anything you care to name (with varying degrees of "wait for it to evaporate, or you'll either short your computer or set it on fire") for literally that reason, I've plenty or reason over the last two and a half decades to presume this to be true.
 
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