What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside + Outside)

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Joined: Jan 17 2017
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Hey everyone,

Firstly, thanks so much for being so kind to me on this forum, I have posted some pretty beginner questions and you guys haven't made me feel stupid or flamed me at all, so I am really grateful!

So to my question... I'm unsure as to what the plastic compound is for the Apple II machine shell so do not know what would be safe to use to clean it! What cleaning solution (if any) do you use and what's your method of cleaning (i.e. what kind of cloth/sponge do you use and how do you apply it?)

Inside, what do you use for circuit board cleaning - I've heard Isopropyl is good for cleaning circuit boards generally, but is it too harsh for vintage boards such as the Apple II - Also, what method do you use to clean (i.e. What types of cleaning instruments do you use in addition to the chemicals, if any)

Thanks again!

-AC

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Joined: May 12 2016
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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

When I bought my used, very discolored Apple IIe last year, I took all the electronics out. Then I used a spray cleaner / degreaser first by spraying it on a sponge (not directly on the case, but I don't think it would have made much difference) and just cleaning the case like it was an old bowling ball.

If there was marker or something glue-based stuck to it, I used "Goof Off" or "Goo Gone" and just rubbed away at it. I don't think you can do much damage to the case, but I would steer clear of bleach-based cleaners, in case you take TOO much colour away in some spots.

As for the circuit board, I went with rubbing alcohol with the highest % of actual alcohol I could find (95%, I think) and went at that with Q-tips and very gently...but the board itself wasn't dirty, so much as dusty, and a nice can of compressed air helped a lot with dust removal. Don't do this inside your house, though. Trust me.

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

Use Baby Wipes without Alcohol on an Apple II. A IIe is molded plastic with the pigment. An Apple II is painted. So you need something gentle. I use Costco brand wipes.

As for cleaning the motherboard. DO NOT USE ALCOHOL without a plan, it will remove the serial number on the II motherboard. remove the board from the computer. Rinse it using plain water under the sink using the sprayer. Optionally use distilled water in a plastic basin and aggitate the board. Change the water atleast once or twice.

Then if you need to spot clean an area, use Alcohol, and stay away from the serial number.

Let dry for a few days standing on it's side to drain the water. If you have an air compressor use it to remove excess water before drying for a day or two.

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

Corey986 wrote:

Rinse it using plain water under the sink using the sprayer. Optionally use distilled water in a plastic basin and aggitate the board. Change the water atleast once or twice.

I thought whenever somebody told me to use water on a motherboard they were trying to trick me? Maybe I've been wrong all these years! How do you ensure it's 100% dry? Especially with these delicate boards, I'm sure water in the wrong component when powering up and BOOF! Does compressed air really get ALL the water out?

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

most of my collection is 68k macs - this is the method I use on them and on my 4 apple ii's

i strip the machine completely
The plastic housing goes into a bath of hot water with regular washing up liquid - good scrub (nail brush) - dry - then inspect it for further cleaning
after that wash you might see grease or oil based stuff - i use alcohol to get rid of that

for the motherboard its the same process but in a sink. Half fill sink with fairly hot water dump in the board (fully immerse it) , take it out and start washing it with regular washing up liquid and a tooth brush. This is a slow process and you must be paitent. Gentle scrubbing with the tooth brush, do it section by section, dont rush. DO NOT BRUSH TO HARD or you might knock off components

Rinse in the sink, do it again. Both sides. Repeat until you are happy.

Then pull the plug and rinse very well with warm water.Lots and lots of water.

To dry it , I go out in the back, hold the board in 1 hand, make sure i have a good grip on it, then i swing it in arcs as hard as i can. This gets off 80% of the water in seconds
Then I use tissue paper to dab off more.
Then I blow with my lips into the slots, power connector etc etc - anywhere where water might 'well'
Last i use a hair dryer
Then leave it in a warm place over night

in some cases I have had to use alcohol or acetone to clean boards - but be very careful as either of these will wash away chip codes, serial codes, anyhing written on the board in felt tip marker

as always if it anit broke - dont fix it

here is one of my macs getting the treatment on the main board - you can see the state of the board before and after
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EP7Nhd9oTY

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

falen5 wrote:

most of my collection is 68k macs - this is the method I use on them and on my 4 apple ii's

i strip the machine completely
The plastic housing goes into a bath of hot water with regular washing up liquid - good scrub (nail brush) - dry - then inspect it for further cleaning
after that wash you might see grease or oil based stuff - i use alcohol to get rid of that

for the motherboard its the same process but in a sink. Half fill sink with fairly hot water dump in the board (fully immerse it) , take it out and start washing it with regular washing up liquid and a tooth brush. This is a slow process and you must be paitent. Gentle scrubbing with the tooth brush, do it section by section, dont rush. DO NOT BRUSH TO HARD or you might knock off components

Rinse in the sink, do it again. Both sides. Repeat until you are happy.

Then pull the plug and rinse very well with warm water.Lots and lots of water.

To dry it , I go out in the back, hold the board in 1 hand, make sure i have a good grip on it, then i swing it in arcs as hard as i can. This gets off 80% of the water in seconds
Then I use tissue paper to dab off more.
Then I blow with my lips into the slots, power connector etc etc - anywhere where water might 'well'
Last i use a hair dryer
Then leave it in a warm place over night

in some cases I have had to use alcohol or acetone to clean boards - but be very careful as either of these will wash away chip codes, serial codes, anyhing written on the board in felt tip marker

as always if it anit broke - dont fix it

here is one of my macs getting the treatment on the main board - you can see the state of the board before and after
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EP7Nhd9oTY

Amazing! Thank you Smile

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

Apple2 wrote:
Corey986 wrote:

Rinse it using plain water under the sink using the sprayer. Optionally use distilled water in a plastic basin and aggitate the board. Change the water atleast once or twice.

I thought whenever somebody told me to use water on a motherboard they were trying to trick me? Maybe I've been wrong all these years! How do you ensure it's 100% dry? Especially with these delicate boards, I'm sure water in the wrong component when powering up and BOOF! Does compressed air really get ALL the water out?

I agree with this! That's why I used 97% alcohol - it would evaporate quickly and not cause a short. Guess I was wrong, though in my defence, I never soaked the entire board in it. I've never removed all the chips, just used a Q-tip to clean a particular spot that had corrosion or a chunk of shmootz.

I've cleaned and fixed old digital watches that way - alcohol and a Q-tip cleans a LOT of corrosion, battery explosion residue and rust.

Even though I trust everyone on the board who offers advice, I'm not sure I'd ever just put an Apple IIe board in the water without being extraordinarily nervous.

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

Actually .... have had GREAT luck over MANY years using a dilute solution of
50% Clorox and 50% water and a good old washcloth to first clean the grime and
discoloration from the plastic cases (including the painted ones). Just work
carefully and don't scrub too hard to remove paint.

Once cleaned and thouroughly dried, then get another clean washcloth and use
a liberal coat of Lemon Pledge to do a final clean-and-seal against further
nastiness. This also works (if you are CAREFUL) on keys and buttons.

Use ONLY enough Clorox/water on the cloth to make it moist and NOT dripping wet!

Same for the Pledge. Just enough to get a good coat on the plastic and keys.
Use a "brushing" motion to clean the keys so you don't break/dislodge them from
the keyboard or get junk under the keys into the switches themselves.

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

I missed one step. I use a soft toothbrush (pre-bent at a 45% angle using a heat gun to save my knuckles) if the board has a lot of grime when you are washing it off. Don't use the heat gun on the PCB, if I wasn't clear enough, it's to bend the toothbrush...

As for drying....

Shake the board out, then use the compressed air to get what's inside/under sockets. Then wait a day... If you have a fan that can blow across the board it's all good.

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

Apple2 wrote:

Hey everyone,

Firstly, thanks so much for being so kind to me on this forum, I have posted some pretty beginner questions and you guys haven't made me feel stupid or flamed me at all, so I am really grateful!

So to my question... I'm unsure as to what the plastic compound is for the Apple II machine shell so do not know what would be safe to use to clean it! What cleaning solution (if any) do you use and what's your method of

Well I can tell you what NOT to use. Tongue Take it from me, don't use nail polish remover on an Apple II, II Plus, or old IIe!

I've washed boards with water. Fling them hard to get the droplets out (this is probably the most dangerous step), then prop up on a heater to dry. Clean up spots with alcohol.

I've actually stopped washing my Apple computers. I used to take all the keys off and run those through too. But since I got my platinum IIe about 3 years ago I still haven't done anything other than wipe down the case with plain ole water.

About water: It definitely seems odd to wash a board in water, but as others have said it's perfectly fine. There's nothing really to rust out. The big gotcha is leaving mineral deposits on the board (this has happened to me). Go buy some distilled water from the store, or maybe you have a Brita water filter.

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

The dirty cords on the disk drives can be cleaned with a small towel and isopropyl alcohol.

The plastic can be cleaned with plain old soap and water and a brush, but that requires disassembly.

If you do not want to disassemble the computer, then the best cleaner for all plastic is Fantastik.

To get rid of old tape residue you can use anything that is oily so that means olive oil and corn oil etc.,

To remove permanent marker stains is a three step process:

#1). Isopropyl alcohol <-- This will remove only one layer, a bottom layer will remain.

#2). Ajax cleanser and a toothbrush <-- This will remove the bottom layer but it will also remove the partial shine of the plastic.

#3). Bounty Basic <-- rub the plastic with a sheet of this very hard and fast to restore the shine on the plastic.

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

insanitor wrote:

#1). Isopropyl alcohol <-- This will remove only one layer, a bottom layer will remain.

#2). Ajax cleanser and a toothbrush <-- This will remove the bottom layer but it will also remove the partial shine of the plastic.

#3). Bounty Basic <-- rub the plastic with a sheet of this very hard and fast to restore the shine on the plastic.

Is this procedure safe for an Apple with a painted case?

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Re: What are your methods of cleaning your Apple II (Inside ...

Dog Cow wrote:
insanitor wrote:

#1). Isopropyl alcohol <-- This will remove only one layer, a bottom layer will remain.

#2). Ajax cleanser and a toothbrush <-- This will remove the bottom layer but it will also remove the partial shine of the plastic.

#3). Bounty Basic <-- rub the plastic with a sheet of this very hard and fast to restore the shine on the plastic.

Is this procedure safe for an Apple with a painted case?

Assuming your question is not a joke, the answer is no because steps 2 and 3 are very abrasive.