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Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

Posted December 27, 2010 7:00 AM

Unless you read the product manual from cover to cover and use recommended cleaning agents and procedures, you may be flirting with disaster when you clean or try to salvage electronic gadgets. Inevitably, mistakes have been reported in the past when a drink accidentally spilled into a computer keyboard, a kid put peanut butter in a VCR, phones were left out in extreme weather, etc. What anecdotal incidents do you know of?

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#1

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/27/2010 11:51 PM

An anecdote from my college days. This was before things like hard drives with bearings. My college flooded (during the summer while I was at home!), and there was lots of electronic gear (oscilloscopes and the like) that was under water. I heard that they ran them through a commercial dishwasher to clean the crud out, then let them dry thoroughly (thoroughly!). After this I understand they worked OK. Applied to modern electronics, without mechanical components, this seems to say the electronics could be rinsed out, probably with distilled/deionized water, then dried. Then they should be operational again.

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/28/2010 10:09 AM

I concur. I had a Walkman portable CD player that I accidentally dropped into a bucket of spic 'n span that I was using to clean a floor. I had access to a near unlimited amount of DI water so I removed the batteries, and "swished" it around in fresh DI about 3 times, let it dry (just like you say thoroughly!) and it worked great!

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#7
In reply to #1

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/28/2010 11:46 AM

Regards.

A good answer!

If we see the production line processes in PCB manufacturing there comes Soldering by dipping in Molten Solder or with Hot Air; cleaning the left-over solder paste & else through thorough [THOROUGH] wash.

Why not a Luke-warm or hot water?

Only the problem with Keyboard is it is on flex-plastic.

I personlly cleaned all in Soap-foam; washed in clean water and let the PCB drip dry.

No problem ever but solution to the problem.

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#2

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/28/2010 2:32 AM

My worst one was when cousin Cubby tried to join face book

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#3

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/28/2010 5:28 AM

I decided to clean our old CRT TV from the years of dust and crude that had electrostaticaly accumulated. Used some spray "anti-static" electronic equipment cleaner which worked very well on exteriors. Toothbrush, spray and vacumn cleaner; two hours later she was sparkling clean and together. Turned her on. Hissing, spewing, smoke filled the room and sparkling clean had another meaning. The "anti-static" cleaner conducted HV to all parts most vulnerable. Lesson learned and wife is happy with our new plasma.

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#4

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/28/2010 8:54 AM

My college roommate was working away at the computer (or more likely playing Civilization) one day and eating peanuts and drinking mountain dew. Eyes glued to monitor, he went to pour some peanuts into his hand and *splash* realized too late that he had grabbed the wrong container. Mountain dew cascaded down into his keyboard, thoroughly covering it with the sweet yellow stuff. A trip to the bathroom later (I think he rinsed it) and a few hours to dry, and he was back up and running.

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#6

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/28/2010 10:27 AM

I can tell you that if you drop your cell phone into a bucket of paint, the phone is pretty well shot. There is no return from that particular electronic fate.

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#8

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/28/2010 5:25 PM

After ferrying a aircraft back to base after a electrical fire, one of the radios came into the radio shop. It was nasty dirty smoke & dirt covered unit & still worked but not to spec. So what to do?

I had had good luck cleaning TV (tube style) tuners in the ultrasonic cleaner that was in the electrical shop (g-job). The cleaner was the size of a large top loading washing machine & did a great job of cleaning the huge alternators used on the Electra aircraft. I gave the Tech a heads up on this cleaning system & he tried it. The radio came out of the ultrasonic cleaner looking like new But it would not work. The ultrasonic cleaner had busted up every quartz crystal in the unit Including those in the $900.00 multi-pole filter. I went back & checked the ultrasonic cleaner & found it was made up of 2 of those washing machine sized units. I opened up the other cleaner & found out it was the power supply & had 2 20 inch high vacuum tubes wired as a multivibrator to drive the cleaner. I was a new-by but I learned.

Doug

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#9

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

12/29/2010 2:00 PM

Perhaps not an automatic dishwasher with the harsh detergent, but by all means, if you spill a drink onto your keyboard, flush it immediately with plenty of hot water and mild detergent if you want. I have saved several keyboards this way from both orange juice and colas. Before using, let it sit out for a day or so or you can set it in the sun to help speed up the drying process.

If you saw what commercial board manufacturers subject printed circuit boards to during the manufacturing process, you would not be worried a bit. Many use a water-based flux removal process, so wash away.

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#10

Re: Keyboards Don't Go in the Dishwasher

01/04/2011 4:18 PM

Back in ~1998 I dumped a large black coffee into my favorite PC keyboard. Amazingly it held the entire 18oz without leaking! I shut down the PC as fast as I could then proceeded to drain, disassemble and clean the keyboard components. Unfortunately, several critical traces on a flex substrate were completely corroded/eroded and reasonable repair was not possible. IF the PC was OFF when the keyboard drowning occurred, I'm 100% certain it would have worked after a thorough cleaning. Lesson: drink coffee first, don't compute while half asleep.

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