Deodorizing a Smelly PC



  • We had a fairly new laptop come back to HQ for repair and are going to re-issue it soon. This specific laptop came from a user who is a smoker. This is the first laptop I have received back that has smelled so much like an ash tray it might make someone's allergies go crazy.

    Does anyone have some tips as to how I can get rid of that smell? I was going to wipe down the keyboard and exterior with some lens cleaner wipes to start, but that is not going to stop it from smelling. If I did not think it might ruin the laptop, I would submerge it in a bucket of coffee.



  • Isopropyl alcohol all over? Put it in a big bucket of coffee beans?



  • @RojoLoco said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    Put it in a big bucket of coffee beans?

    For some sad reason, our server room doesn't have any coffee beans. We really missed out on a very useful tool. :)

    I'll try the alcohol approach and see how it goes.



  • @NetworkNerd said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    @RojoLoco said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    Put it in a big bucket of coffee beans?

    For some sad reason, our server room doesn't have any coffee beans. We really missed out on a very useful tool. :)

    I'll try the alcohol approach and see how it goes.

    You do have stores nearby, right? They sell coffee beans. And buckets.



  • I'd recommend a charcoal filter pad put under the exhAustralian fan.

    For the keyboard and screens iso alcohol would be the go too.

    Let the laptop operate for a while.



  • I'd want to open it up and blow all the junk out.

    I agree with @RojoLoco, Isopropyl alcohol over all the internals, but NOT on the screen.... LCD have liquid in them, and Isopropyl alcohol works by taking any contaminants with it when it evaporates... that includes liquid, which is the L in LCD.

    For screens, use screen cleaner... I forget what the actual ingredients in it are, but it's not alcohol.



  • Trust me, I smoke. You can't*

    What you smell is an oily tar compound that aerosols and eventually coats all surfaces it touches.

    *I can think of a couple of highly impractical ways to do this involving non-conductive liquid baths.



  • @MattSpeller said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    Trust me, I smoke. You can't*

    What you smell is an oily tar compound that aerosols and eventually coats all surfaces it touches.

    *I can think of a couple of highly impractical ways to do this involving non-conductive liquid baths.

    Toss it. I've had to try and recover a smoker's laptops before not worth it.



  • One I had I used of all things amonia to get the cigarette tar out if the keyboard and fans. Still didn't get the smell entirely out



  • @DustinB3403 said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    the exhAustralian fan.

    That's a new one on me.



  • Pull / replace the keyboard,..at that level they arent worth trying to clean. And may likely be where 60% of the particles are that need to be removed.

    Lysol wipes on the remain parts, use compressed air, and such and you may be okay...



  • Stupid auto-correct.

    2PX2vZ5.jpg



  • Maybe spill a bunch of cologne on it.



  • I'd put it in a closed chest with an open container of Vinegar (obviously out of danger). It absorbs odors.


  • Service Provider

    @RojoLoco said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    @NetworkNerd said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    @RojoLoco said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    Put it in a big bucket of coffee beans?

    For some sad reason, our server room doesn't have any coffee beans. We really missed out on a very useful tool. :)

    I'll try the alcohol approach and see how it goes.

    You do have stores nearby, right? They sell coffee beans. And buckets.

    Right? I'm not sure what made this difficult to process. :P



  • I went with the rubbing alcohol approach, which didn't do much for the smell as people stated. It turns out in addition to the smell this laptop has some sort of keyboard issue as well (keyboard will stop responding to any key press completely at times while using it, only fixed by a reboot / shut down) due to a soda spill onto the keyboard a few weeks ago. It is still under warranty and about to be sent back to Dell for repair. Hopefully they won't refuse to work on it due to the smell. And if we're lucky, they will send us a replacement.


  • Service Provider

    @NetworkNerd said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    I went with the rubbing alcohol approach, which didn't do much for the smell as people stated. It turns out in addition to the smell this laptop has some sort of keyboard issue as well (keyboard will stop responding to any key press completely at times while using it, only fixed by a reboot / shut down) due to a soda spill onto the keyboard a few weeks ago. It is still under warranty and about to be sent back to Dell for repair. Hopefully they won't refuse to work on it due to the smell. And if we're lucky, they will send us a replacement.

    Standard policy from all vendors is that cigarette smoke is an immediate violation of warranty.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    @NetworkNerd said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    I went with the rubbing alcohol approach, which didn't do much for the smell as people stated. It turns out in addition to the smell this laptop has some sort of keyboard issue as well (keyboard will stop responding to any key press completely at times while using it, only fixed by a reboot / shut down) due to a soda spill onto the keyboard a few weeks ago. It is still under warranty and about to be sent back to Dell for repair. Hopefully they won't refuse to work on it due to the smell. And if we're lucky, they will send us a replacement.

    Standard policy from all vendors is that cigarette smoke is an immediate violation of warranty.

    Interestingly enough, when Dell received the laptop, the issue of smoke never came up. But, they did find evidence of liquid damage to the motherboard (which of course makes it an out of warranty repair). We were able to have the keyboard, logic board, and palm rest replaced for a small fee. If nothing else this will make it usable again, and it can be re-provisioned for the same user who turned it in to us originally.



  • I think you got lucky that they were okay with only the liquid damage! Did they fix it under warranty?



  • @Reid-Cooper said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    I think you got lucky that they were okay with only the liquid damage! Did they fix it under warranty?

    The repairs needed were not officially covered by warranty (liquid damage), so they billed it as an out of warranty repair. It was a little less than $300 to replace the parts needed.



  • That's a lot of money to fix a laptop. How old was it?



  • @StrongBad said in Deodorizing a Smelly PC:

    That's a lot of money to fix a laptop. How old was it?

    It was not old. It was a Latitude E5570 purchased in mid 2016.


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