I have a (self-built) desktop computer, that was kept and used for a few days in a house that was infested with mold. I've been sensitized to mold, and the computer is contaminated enough to cause symptoms for me.

What would be an efficient way to clean a computer after such exposure? I'm willing to take acceptable risks, ESD related or otherwise, because the other option is that the computer remains unusable.

I know there's this question that's related, but I don't think it's a duplicate since it's about a specific cleaning method.

So far I've considered these options:

Compressed air: risk of ESD, I doubt this would be enough to remove the toxins produced by the mold from the plastics

Vacuuming: same as compressed air, probably not as efficient, ESD related to the tubing could possibly be mitigated with proper earthing

Ozonizing: efficient, definitely would clean both microorganisms and the toxins, but to my knowledge would also oxidize all the PCBs

Chemical cleaning agents: I'm not sure whether any of these will be effective for this particular purpose, but I'm by no means certain

  • \$\begingroup\$ If this question is off-topic, the "on-topic" section of the help center really needs revising. How is this question not directly related to electronics? \$\endgroup\$ – Schlaus Aug 13 '15 at 9:54

I would probably buy a gallon of isopropyl alcohol, pour it into a washing bowl and remove and clean each component in it using an old toothbrush. Alcohol is conductive enough that if you are brushing while the component is submerged, any generated static will dissipate instantly. Scrub everything well and then pour the alcohol down the sink (this is no worse that pouring away vodka from an environmental standpoint). Allow everything to dry thoroughly - I would do this outside on a dry day.

Obviously you will want to take care of ensuring you are working in a very well ventilated environment unless you want to have a rotten hangover the next day!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, isopropyl does seem like a good solution (sans hangover). Are there any particular safety considerations besides ventilation and removal of ignition sources, for example are some sort of safety gloves necessary, even if I wont submerge my hands into the liquid? \$\endgroup\$ – Schlaus Aug 12 '15 at 20:16
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I would use rubber gloves, if only to avoid finding any cuts on my hands I was not aware of... there is an MSDS at sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9924412 which makes for interesting reading. \$\endgroup\$ – stefandz Aug 12 '15 at 20:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.