Clean cig residual smell from laptop?

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Quicklite, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. Quicklite

    Quicklite Notebook Deity

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    Evening guys,

    Quick query - has anyone had luck getting the strong smell from the laptop's rubberised areas? (e.g. keyboard / rubberised palmrest).

    It's a long shot, I don't suppose anyone knows how to get cigarette smell out of the palmrest? (rubberised palmrest/keypad) Recently bought a used Dell 9343 laptop to carry around and do emails on, really like it - though it has with strong cigarette smell (on the palmrest / keypad), and generally, I'm not the biggest fan of the smell. Have cleaned the inside of the laptop's fans, grill, / repasted it / much less smell now from there.

    Outside remains an issue. I initially tried the 99% isopropyl alcohol, followed by a quick wipe with natural screen clean liquid (to reduce wear due to alcohol breakdown of the rubberised palmrest). I've also tried just the screen cleaner (which helped to clean the surfaces, but the smell stayed)

    Was recommended to try the cleaning foam (AF FoamClene). Have cleaned with it gently / reapplied it over a few days - it has had the most effects so far (I imagine that repeated use shouldn't dissolve the palmrest). I can keep trying with the foam maybe once a day for a week or something. The smell is less strong now, but still detectable (I imagine rubberised palmrest can absorb the smell, and it takes time for it to neutralise again). Does anyone have a short cut to get rid of / or reduce the cig smell?

    If you have tip, would be much appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
  2. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    That can be super difficult to remove from anything that is porous. The stinky sticky sludge from cigarettes gets absorbed into the surfaces. It will likely also be inside of the laptop. I would recommend completely disassembling it and giving it an alcohol bath (including the motherboard, RAM, fans, heat sink/radiator, etc.). Remove the CMOS battery first. Any parts you can remove without electronics attached (like the bare palmrest with the touchpad and keyboard removed) can also be run through the dishwasher, but allow them to air dry (not dried using heat from the dishwasher).

    As long as you are careful not to get any liquid where it is not supposed to be, you could also try applying a paste of baking soda and allow it to dry on the rubberized surface, then clean off the dried up crust.

    There will likely still be some faint evidence/odor that may wear off over time because it gets into the hidden areas of keyboard and touchpad and there is not a good way to clean those completely.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
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  3. Quicklite

    Quicklite Notebook Deity

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    Thanks - good tips. The unit still has some coverage (so it might be hard to alcohol bath it / swapping palmrest might be tricky / just in case I need the tech support in the future); will try to lookup the baking soda method (in more detail).

    Happy to report back though, with the AF foam/ doing it once or twice a day, the smell has definitely weakened / to an only faintly detectable level. I imagine that if I carry on with the foaming - it might gradually resolve it. I'm not sure if this is long term though (I've not used the laptop recently, so I don't know once it switches on - if the heat from the inside will get palmrest to release more smells).

    Thanks for the detailed tips!
     
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  4. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    You're welcome. Glad to hear the odor is reduced by the cleaning.

    FYI - working on your Dell will not void the warranty. If you break something, that damage is not covered under warranty, but you can take it apart and clean it if you so desire and that will not jeopardize the warranty in any way.
     
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  5. Quicklite

    Quicklite Notebook Deity

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    Will try another 2-3 days on the foam daily (got a feeling this might work) / will then leave it in a well-ventilated area for 3-5 days, afterwards run some stress and see if the smell comes back - if it does come back - will look at the more creative options. :) If not - will call it a day.

    Baking powder sounds intriguingly tempting. :D
     
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