How do you clean your vintage computers?

Alan Hightower alan at
Thu Jan 19 12:12:04 CST 2017


One caution about isopropanol. I keep a lot of 99% around for
post-cleaning electronics assemblies, soldering, etc. I used to use it
as a general cleaning and de-greasing agent for most vintage computer
things until several plastic and a couple painted surfaces showed
changes not in color but specular reflection. It's like a change in flat
vs gloss where you could see my swirl marks, etc I made while cleaning.
I was able to mostly smooth it out later with more diluted solution, but
it surprised me. 

If using isopropanol to clean, I recommend starting with a 70% or less
(dilute with water) drug-store type solution first until you know your
surface is safe. 

Also when cleaning anything electronic, especially in dry winter, make
sure you are well grounded. If your house is built on a slab and you
have an exposed concrete floor in the lower level, consider moving your
work-shop or work-area there! 


On 2017-01-19 12:18, Andy Cloud wrote: 

> Hey all,
> So one of my recent acquisitions is looking quite grubby, outside it just
> looks like surface dirt on the plastic, inside seems dusty/basement dirty.
> My question comes in two parts:
> 1. What do you use to clean the exterior plastic and/or metal if
> applicable? I'm always worried about staining the plastic using strong
> solvent... could you also include what type of cloth/sponge/anything you
> use :)
> 2. You guessed it! What about internally? I've heard isopropyl is really
> good, but how do you apply it? What do you use to apply it in order to make
> the board shine as if it was just bought!? :D or if you use anything other
> than isopropyl...
> I also have a bonus question, how do you ground yourself to ensure you
> don't blow a component? Is an ESD wrist strap good enough?
> I absolutely love this group, really enjoyed your previous answers
> regarding rarest/unusual machines!!
> -Andy

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