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It's funny.  Laugh. Hardware

Cleansing Hardware Of Dead Pig Odors? 693

Chagatai writes "My company is one of America's largest beef and pork producers. Recently I took a trip to see a new computer room that had been built at one of our abbatoirs. While the new environment is nice and sanitary, the old computer room had air intakes that were adjacent to the rendering portion of the plant, and everything smells in an almost unholy way. Management is curious if there are any cleaning agents or means of deodorizing this equipment before moving it into the nice, new office. The only products I could find would clean the outside of the hardware, but the internals would still possess the lovely aroma of boiled dead pig parts. Of course, this is a race against time, as I am sure someone will inevitably squirt Pine-Sol into the system to try to make things better. Does anyone have any recommendations to remove the effluvium of post-mortem porcine matter from our machines?"
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Cleansing Hardware Of Dead Pig Odors?

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  • by mixy1plik ( 113553 ) * <mhunt@eciLAPLACEn.net minus math_god> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:20PM (#10222969)
    Now, I can't comment on the stench of dead pig- but I can talk about my experience with a stench-infected computer.

    Back in the early 90s, my dad bought me My First Computer. It was an Macintosh IIcx which was a big, beige rectangle box. Had neat stuff like NuBus and about 12 SIMM slots. I lived in Europe at the time, and the computer was purchased from a graphic design house where *EVERYONE* chain-smoked at their desks. The machine had the most disgusting tar-like filth on *EVERYTHING* inside the chassis. The upstairs of my house reeked of cigarettes.

    I literally chipped away tar, vacuumed it, put Bounce sheets over the power supply fan, to no avail. The machine still sits in my closet to this day, and having given it my best efforts over 10 years ago- it still smells of stale cigarettes.

    Because of the small nooks and openings in your average computer, I honestly don't think you'll be able to do much about the smell. Unless there are some new commercial/industrial agents that can do the job, you might be SOL. Guess it's time for 3M to create a solvent version of Fluorinert [google.com].

    • by Brento ( 26177 ) * <brento&brentozar,com> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:24PM (#10223005) Homepage
      Guess it's time for 3M to create a solvent version of Fluorinert [google.com].

      Actually, you've got a great (albeit expensive) single-machine solution right there: run the machine in a tub of Fluorinert. Presto, no smell is going to escape that liquid.

      Wouldn't work for a data center, unless of course you wanted to run it inside a pool and send your techs in with scuba gear. And at that point, you might as well just run the data center in a normal room - but send the techs in with scuba gear, and they won't smell the funky servers because they'll be wearing scuba gear.
      • After scrutinizing everything else posted, I'm surprised no one mentioned MythBusters - particularly because they've used dead pigs on several tests - detect buried bodies when the ground, including sidewalk, is ripped up, bodies buried, and sidewalk replaced - stench bubbling up through.

        One episode dealt with the issue of "...can a car which someone died in be cleaned up enough to be sold again?" They bought a fairly nice Corvette (although the owner was a bit hesitant when he heard what his baby was go
    • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:42PM (#10223157)
      Throw it in the dishwasher [maclaunch.com]. No seriously.
      • Yup, everything but the disk drives and screens, can go through a dish washer. About 10 years ago, electronic boards were washed in dishwashers in the electronics factories, with orange oil as solvent - then someone invented no-cleanup flux.

        Some random pieces will come out fschk'ed though

      • by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:37PM (#10223815)

        I worked in a large surface mount production facility. In the final stage of assembly, they would in fact go through a fancy dishwasher. Early on we didn't even use deionized water. They did switch to deionized water not so much for the fear of conductivity, but to not leave spots behind.

        You want to put tape (waterproof - packing tape might work) over any speakers, piezo devices, potentiometers, dip/pushbutton switches. Remove any batteries and button cells.

        Then stick it in the diswasher, I'd use electrasol. Also, skip the "drying" cycle and let it air dry. Where I live (Utah) the air is quite dry. It would be ideal to let it sit for a day in the summer sun. Then you are good to go.

        If you are not blessed with dry air but humid air, it may take more than a day to safely dry before you can plug it in.

        Under no conditions would I do this to vintage equipment, esp. tube equipment or even vintage transistor equipment. Old equipment will tend to crumble under the stress as old capacitors like to die (if they haven't already - google/get an ESR meter) and plastic will tend to crack. I would only do this for equipment from the mid eighties on. Before this time I would be judicious with the cleaning process. Like maybe not using hot water.

        Modern components however are made to face a dishwasher, and can withstand it nicely, unless the components are defective to begin with (like some bad electrolytics on motherboards).

        • by instarx ( 615765 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @08:02AM (#10226921)
          This won't work. The odor does not come from surface dirt, but from the organic molecules absorbed by the plastics and resins of the cases and components. Dishwashing won;t do anyting to get those out.

          The only solution is to get those organic molecules out of the materials and that is not going to be easy. Here are the things I would try:

          1) Heat. This increases the diffusion rate of the offending molecules from the plastics. Make sure you vent the oven to get the organic vapor out or they will just re-absorb as the unit cools.

          2) Activated Carbon. Activated carbon has a great affinity for organic molecules. You may want to put each PC in a cloth bag and bury it in activated carbon for a while. Test with one first to make sure the carbon fines don't short-circuit anyhting. Get activated carbon from a scientific supply.

          3) Heat and Charcoal - probably the best solution would be a conmbination of the two above solutions. I would put each PC in a cloth bag and bury the bag in a bed of activated charcoal. Bake everything on low heat for several hours (120 - 150 F). Use just a warm oven because high heat reduces the effectiveness of the activated charcoal. You can re-charge activated charcoal between uses by heating it at 350-400 F in the oven to drive the organics out of it. That will stink.

      • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @10:48PM (#10224432)
        Our company still has wash machines for a few products that can't use 'no clean' solder flux for whatever reason. Almost every product I've designed went through a de-ionized water wash at some point.

        Contrary to any widespread notion, almost every electronics component can survive being completely immersed/soaked in water. (It can even be beneficial, like when washing off acidic flux residues, or perhaps interesting smells.)

        What electronics cannot survive is being -powered- while wet, as the shorts could cause currents that could burn out semiconductors. So, make sure there are no batteries, or even charged capacitors, anywhere on the hardware.
    • by Bi()hazard ( 323405 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:44PM (#10223174) Homepage Journal
      Wow, this will be a great article for the trolls. You're sure to see a lot of ridiculous posts here.

      You're also probably going to get a lot of serious suggestions about rubbing alcohol and vapor-based cleaning. These are likely to help, but not do it 100%, and they require either a lot of labor or shipping everything to an expensive cleaning company.

      So let me tell you what did where I was working several years back. I was working with the FBI, on a special mission in Russia to help their law enforcement agencies upgrade security in former nuclear weapons facilities. Now, it wouldn't surprise anyone to hear that a certain facility that will remain unnamed, somewhere in the middle of Siberia, only a day or two's drive from a certain site of civil war, had an incident that wasn't properly cleaned up. We arrived at the main computer lab to find a dozen corpses that had been there for a year and a half. And despite the Siberain weather that can freeze spit before it hits the ground, the bodies in the bunker hadn't been frozen.

      After getting a couple new gas masks for the guys that really should've skipped lunch before going down there, we discovered that the computers were overrun with, well, you don't want to know. Let's just say it was fuzzy and came in colors I'd never seen before. Even after the room was disinfected nobody could stand to go down there without a mask. Though one of the Russians suggested using it as a gas chamber to execute criminals, until we briefed him on the Geneva Convention. But we couldn't just throw the machines away-they included supercomputers and large clusters full of nuclear weapons research. The science team had to go through all of it with a fine-toothed comb.

      So what did we do? Simple-seal everything off! We too a bunch of plastic covers and created an airtight seal around all the computers, with only monitors, keyboards, and mice outside. A ventilation system pumped cold air into the huge computer tent. It was ugly as hell, but worked quite effectively.

      So, if your offices don't mind having interior decorating issues, a bunch of strong plastic, industrial glue, and lots of duct tape can solve the problem. Until somebody want to upgrade or do maintenance, of course. God help that poor bastard.
      • by vsprintf ( 579676 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:32PM (#10223484)

        Wow, this will be a great article for the trolls. You're sure to see a lot of ridiculous posts here. . . . I was working with the FBI, on a special mission in Russia . . .

        LOL. Okay, that was ridiculous. Nice troll - the guy that modded it insightful is probably out waxing his Yugo now.

        Let me try. There is no way you're going to rid the equipment of the stench unless you sacrifice a PETA member and cremate the remains in the room with the equipment. The smoky holiness will counteract the "unholy" residue mentioned. It works doubly well if the PETA member is a virgin. The only side-effect is that all subsequent users of the equipment will become politicized vegetarians (well, that and the ashes all over everything).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:46PM (#10223193)
      For organics (blood, fat) your best bet is an enzyme detergent (e.g. http://www.deconlabs.com/skincare/enzyte.htm). That will deal with anything on the surface. You'll then have to wash the computer down with alcohol (just a bottle of the spray cleaner) near any sockets/connectors or the water and residue left over will cause problems.

      Chances are that not much has actually penetrated the plastics. If it has, then use a shellac based sealer (e.g. http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductI D=10). That will contain any volatiles and save you from having to replace the plastics. Obviously you can't shellac the entire thing, but doing the main panels will help.

      You'll probably have to replace the fans -- the lubricating oil holds the smells and there isn't much you can do about it, except to try and flush it away with more oil.

      Beyond that... you could try adding a charcoal filter to the cooling system to deal with the remaining odours, but I've never done it.
    • by joe83 ( 706229 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:14PM (#10223694)
      Open up the cases, seal the room and run an ozone generator for 24 hours. Ozone generators can get rid of any odor permanently.
      • by flushtwice ( 802474 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @09:35PM (#10224102)
        Someone needs to mod this one up. It's non-destructive to the electronic components, and does indeed destroy odors.

        Just remember to seal off the area during the process, and ventilate it well before re-entering as pure ozone can be just as deadly as carbon monoxide.

        • I have a 'Cold Quartz Ultraviolet and Ozone Apparatus' here. Its a desk-lamp sized thing, with a quartz column, and after it's run for awhile it reeks of ozone around the room it's in. I use it to erase EPROMs sometimes. It's from the scary-old 1950's and was apparently originally intended as a Medical Device for some sort of quack medicine. Absolutely no guards or covers for the lamp. You just learn to leave it with the cover down sealed over whatever you're exposing to it. You really don't want to s
  • by Brento ( 26177 ) * <brento&brentozar,com> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:20PM (#10222977) Homepage
    You're missing a prime chance to pull a real stunt.

    One word: Ebay.

    Put it all up for auction simultaneously, and watch the fun as people get their newly won purchases. I'd love to read that feedback. "Great PowerEdge, but I've never had computer equipment smell unholy before." And then, watch mass psychology at work as people read each other's feedback from the same vendor and start to put two and two together.

    The only thing funnier would be to work at Paypal and hear people squirm as they try to justify asking for a refund. "You gotta believe me, this disk array smells bad. Really bad. Like dead meat bad."
  • Try... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Try HOLY WATER, you murderer!
  • by captnitro ( 160231 ) * on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:21PM (#10222987)
    This has worked for me many times before, and I can vouch for it, but the obvious disclaimer is that there are a number of reasons why it's a bad idea, as I'm sure any replies to the post will inevitably explain. But it's worked for me before.

    Power down all your machines and unplug them. Set up adequate ventilation (I use several cheap desk fans). Wipe down your hardware with rubbing alcohol using a lint-free cloth or a few old t-shirts; don't worry about your own, buy a big bag of them at Goodwill.

    When you get tired of that, or you pass out from the fumes, just pour it in. Yes, I'm serious, you'll want to trickle it over the green hardware and get everything generally soaking. (Not the power supply or hard drive, just PCBs and the like. This is already a dumbass idea, so you don't want to be much more stupid about it.) Then leave, otherwise you'll probably pass out.

    I discovered this trick while given the task of cleaning a friend's laptop. He smokes, a lot, and had quit and didn't want the smell. He also had sticky keys from God knows what, so I honestly just said "fuck it" and turned the laptop on its side, open, and poured rubbing alcohol into the ports, taking care not to let it get near the screen, which rubbing alcohol can damage. Using a lot of it allows the liquid to remove dust as it flows by. The excess flowed out the other side and into a few paper towels.

    Rubbing alcohol is a great solvent and evaporates quickly, so the ventilation is more for the computers, not you. Make sure the insides are aired out before powering up, or you may find yourself battling a quick-burning alcohol fire.

    Have fun!
    • by savagedome ( 742194 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:25PM (#10223017)
      He also had sticky keys from God knows what


      *scratches chin*
    • by mikeleemm ( 462460 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:28PM (#10223041)
      Problem with rubbing alcohol is it is generally not purely non-conductive, as well as it will take dust and other stuff in the computer and turn it into a nice conductive liquid. Unless you are able to use very pure solvent and a lot of it to make sure you remove all dust particles, I wouldn't go for this.

      My suggestion would actually be to remove as much of the dust from the system as possible. Use a vaccuum and an air compressor (forget those little bottles of "canned air") The majority of the dust might be in "Do Not Open" areas, like power supply, so open those and clean them. Eventually the nastiness will get covered up by other office dust and the smell will go away.
    • by photon317 ( 208409 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:29PM (#10223054)

      I second Capt Nitro here, rubbing alcohol is one of the safest and most effective things you can clean electronics and computers with (Relatively speaking, like he said, there's obviously risks of damage to certain types of components, especially if it manages to pool somewhere where it can't evaporate away realitvely quickly - pull cases open everywhere you can, rotate the equipment around to get excess out, and use lots of fans).

      Be *very* careful about the fire hazards. If you manage to somehow ignite the alcohol, things can get ugly quick, as the flames are often almost completely clear with the pure stuff, and you figure it out by burning yourself. Things get really nasty when there is a fire quickly spreading around the room and through the fumes in the air around you, and you don't even realize it and can't see how far it has already spread. If, at some point in this comical adventure, you find yourself sitting in the middle of a room full of fans, computers dripping in alcohol, and heavy fumes, and you even *suspect* that some of the alcohol has just ignited - GET OUT, and call the fire department or hose the room down or something.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Since I've actually burned rubbing alcohol for torch juggling (see another post in this thread), the flame is not clear at all. It actually has a pretty blue flame, and while it is flammable, it's burning temperature is much lower than that of other, which makes it relatively easy to put out.

    • Although I'd be a little scared to do this myself, if you plan on doing it, be sure to remove the clock battery, wait awhile after unplugging it for caps to discharge, and use only 99% pure rubbing alcohol. You might want to remove the expensive parts first too (CPU, RAM, etc).
    • by mjphil ( 113320 ) * on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:42PM (#10223153)
      Avoid rubbing alcohol at all costs! Some bottles contain glycerine, which won't evaporate.

      Look for bottles labeled "99% Isopropyl alcohol", it's the pure stuff.

      I shouldn't need to mention it here, but will anyway:

      Dont't drink this stuff, it's pure poison!
      • by arose ( 644256 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:35PM (#10223504)
        Wouldn't it be 99% poison?
      • by Smurf ( 7981 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:20PM (#10223725)
        I think you are mixing up three different kinds of alcohol. One is a mixture of Ethyl and Methyl alcohol, used as fuel and for some specific cleansing applications, which is extremely poisonous. Ethanol is the common alcohol in beverages, but Methanol can get you blind in low doses and kill you in higher ones.

        The second type is the rubbing alcohol used in some countries other than the U.S. It's 70% ethanol, and the rest is water and another substance that I can't recall. The third substance is added to give the mixture a horrible taste so drunkards won't consume it. This rubbing alcohol isn't more toxic than 70% ethanol, and some alcoholics actually drink it mixing it with sweet juices/sodas! (Yuck!)

        The third type is isopropyl alcohol, used in many other countries, including the U.S. In moderate amounts it is not toxic (of course if drink a lot it will harm you, but also too much ethanol will kill you). It is used because it has the same disinfectant properties as Ethanol, but it smells and tastes nasty so people don't feel compelled to drink it. If I'm not wrong, it doesn't get you drunk so there is no point on trying it (and that is the reason it is favored over the ethanol rubbing alcohol).

        My point is that is isopropyl alcohol was poisonous it wouldn't be used to disinfect wounds, or even as rubbing alcohol.
        • by purduephotog ( 218304 ) <hirsch&inorbit,com> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @10:19PM (#10224310) Homepage Journal

          That's all I'm going to say. I've worked with all the solvents you've mentioned, in larger quantities than any human being should rightly come in contact with (chemicals plant) and I've got to tell you: They All Suck.

          I lost a gf because I was so irritatable after being exposed to IPA (Iso Propyl Alcohol) that I simply couldn't stand to see her. I'd come home, she'd be on the couch, have dinner ready, wearing something provocative... and the only thing that would pop into my head was "God damnit she's here again".

          CNS symptoms are nasty for solvent exposure to IPA. I can't even imagine what would have happend if, as you suggest, I had drunk it.

          Once I got laid off from that job and no longer was exposed to the fumes, my personality came back to normal. The ex-gf and I are still friends, but she's still doesn't believe me entirely that it was the fumes (tho she's comin around now and then).

          Stay away from that crap and remember: Even Alcohols good, Odd Alcohols Kill.
        • Isopropyl alcohol, as you correctly noted, is not particularly toxic (at least not with occasional exposure, as another reply points out). Drinking it will, however, make you toss your cookies but good. I had a cousin foolishly drink a bunch as a "look at me I want to die" stunt, and the projectile vomiting and dry heaves that resulted just ended up with her unable to talk for about a week. (Trust me, this was a GOOD thing.) This is not something a person looking to get drunk would want, as they're usually
    • Agreed, but with one minor addition:

      To save on the amount of alcohol you have to use, you can actually wash the machines with hot soapy water first, then rinse it off with regular water. Then pour the alcohol over it. The water does the job of cleaning. The purpose of the alcohol is to remove any remaining water so it can dry (by evaporation) quickly.

    • Step #2 A long time ago in a land farway called Vietnam, when I was in the Army we had to clean some elect. equipment and all we had was diesel fuel.

      And yes it does work! Clean the computers inside and out with the fuel and let dry a day or so then clean the electrical contacts with alcohol.

      And why not the power supply boards? They are no more dangerous than any other circuit in the computer, if the 24 v or 12v or 5v circuits on the other cards don't start a fire why would the same voltage in the power su
  • Steam cleaning (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:22PM (#10222995)

    This is one of the best ways to remove stuff down to the molecular level, and involves no chemicals.

    It truly is "the hot setup" ( pun intended ).

    Google "vapor cleaning" for more info.
  • Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

    by ryants ( 310088 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:22PM (#10222997)
    You have a link to the dictionary's entry for "abattoir" and still managed to spell it wrong in the summary.


  • Ozone generator (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LearnToSpell ( 694184 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:23PM (#10222999) Homepage
    Or maybe a little bowl of baking soda in each case. :-) The ozone's probably better though.
  • Odor absorbtion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:23PM (#10223003) Homepage Journal
    There are activated carbon pellets that are designed to absorb odors. They do a pretty nice job of it.

    I suggest cleaning up the equippement as best you can and then placing a few of these in or around the offending hardware.
  • I thought of so many jokes in one instance that they all imploded into each other and I am left with nothing ... I think I will just prepare myself for good laughs and read everything else that everybody else writes. I'm off to do some well-anticipated reading ..... This is gonna' be much better than the Sunday funnies.

    On the other hand wouldn't it be interesting if nobody too the bait, and everybody made only Interesting and Informative answers.

  • Baking soda (Score:5, Informative)

    by proverbialcow ( 177020 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:25PM (#10223009) Journal
    I'd suggest turning the 'puter off, laying the case on its side and pouring in a box of baking soda for a few days. Dump out the baking soda a few days later and blow out the residue, and your computer should smell remarkably "less bad." Mixing a little alum with the baking soda can't hurt, either.

    The smell of a rendering plant will be hard to remove, but this is how I remove the "beef scent" from tallow when I'm making soap.
  • Febreze!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deep Fried Geekboy ( 807607 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:25PM (#10223013)
    Febreze is the key.

    It really works on dead things.

    I got this tip from a ratcatcher called Sid, who cleaned out a dead raccoon from our crawl space. It worked.

    I just used it to nullify the odour of a deer mouse that crawled into my truck's AC and helpfully died.

    Go Febreze!
  • by Stanistani ( 808333 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:25PM (#10223014) Homepage Journal
    If you can't come up with a solution, I suggest donating the equipment to PETA...
  • ozone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l79327 ( 174203 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:25PM (#10223015)
    A commercial ozone generator should work. I've used them on used cars owned by sweaty curry eating smokers, and it works great. The car smells like a meadow after a thunder storm after treatment.
    • Re:ozone (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fataugie ( 89032 )
      My thoughts exactly.

      This is what is used to neutralize odors from fire recoverys.

      We had a fire across the hall from us and if we actually owned anything worth a shit, they would have paid to have it set in an ozone room for a weekend. We had archive boxes of files put in there, and it worked fairly well, but the files still had some odor. I attribute that to the fact they were not removed and seperated to allow the ozone to reach all sides equally.

      We didn't try the machines because they were soot da

    • by hirschma ( 187820 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:12PM (#10223367)
      Ozone eats certain rubber parts in your computer.

      A friend of mine was having CD-ROM drives die every two or three _months_. Seems that his consumer ionizer was putting out enough ozone to eat the belts away. He stopped using the ionizer, and the problem went away.

      My guess is that ozone would also kill off hard drive gasket seals and even certain types of insulation material.

      Bad idea. Don't go here.

    • Re:ozone (Score:5, Informative)

      by Martix ( 722774 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:16PM (#10223392)
      O3 will eat and destroy plasics and is 1000% stronger then clorine for a disinfectent...I work with water treatment and it eats and destroys certin plastics and metals Not a good choce for this espesaly electronics.
  • Try rubbing alcohol. It should get some of the smell off and then evaporate without leaving any residue. You can just dip the pieces numerous times if need be. I've used it to get blood off of several of my components without any problem. No I'm not a mass murderer or anything I just accidently cut myself while working on my computer and then don't feel it. By the time I notice my computer looks like it just had an abortion.
    • I've used it to get blood off of several of my components without any problem. No I'm not a mass murderer or anything I just accidently cut myself while working on my computer and then don't feel it.

      First: why don't you feel it? If you do computer work sober, I've found that you tend to not only get less cuts, but you have the additional bonus of noticing when you've sliced your hand open on a $30 Taiwanese case.

      Second: who really cares if there's blood inside your computer? Isn't that innately cool? E
  • OdoBan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by trud ( 180201 )
    Use it on the case surfaces. Not safe for electonics. If you can't find it at normal places, try PetSmart.

    I have a licensed animal shelter at my house, so I know more about strange smells than you can imagine.
  • Ozone! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Markus Registrada ( 642224 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:27PM (#10223034)
    What you need is an ozone generator. Park the equipment and the generator in a closed room for a few days, or weeks. Most ozone generators are built from a short-wavelength ultraviolet lamp in a box, sometimes with a fan. (Don't confuse ozone generators with negative ion generators. Ozone causes permanent lung damage, over time. Ozone generators also produce ions, but so what?.) The ozone will oxidize the aromatic organic molecules, over time.
    • Re:Ozone! (Score:5, Informative)

      by andfarm ( 534655 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:32PM (#10223071)
      > The ozone will oxidize the aromatic organic molecules...

      Obligatory nitpicking: the word you probably want is "odiferous", not "aromatic". "Aromatic" has the specific connotation of containing benzene-style aromatic rings, which not all odiferous compounds contain.

  • Wash them (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gaima ( 174551 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:27PM (#10223036)
    If it's not too much hard work, then take them apart and wash them, hot soapy water should do, perhaps with a mild bleach.
    As long as all the parts are *throughly* dry before reassemble, the water is no danger.

    Once watched a sun engineer do it to an IPC after a colleague spilt hot chocolate into it...
  • Isopropyl alcohol does not damage the hardware at all and is a great solvent. I use it to clean everything from fans to NICs. Just let the hardware soak for a few hours and *boom* just like new. Just make sure it's comply dry before you use it.
  • Running Alcohol... 91% great for scrubbing the computers of smell and stain. Makes a great aftershave too.

  • http://www.meetyourmeat.com/
  • by thellamaman ( 631602 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:29PM (#10223053) Homepage
    Gives new meaning to the phrase Render Farm, now doesn't it?
  • by wernst ( 536414 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:30PM (#10223056) Homepage
    I was chuckling over this story to myself when my wife asked what was so funny, and she suggested "Why not bring it to a skunk farm?

    Why not indeed.

  • Finally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Prowl ( 554277 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:30PM (#10223057)
    A question whose answer cannot be found by googling.

    Truly a worthy "Ask Slashdot".
  • Ultrasonic Cleaning (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chris mazuc ( 8017 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:31PM (#10223062)
    I work for Servpro [servpro.com], so sadly, cleaning is something that I know how to do fairly well. Your best bet would probably be to do some research into ultrasonic cleaners. It might be cheaper to buy the equipment yourself depending on how much stuff you need cleaned. Protein odors are pretty hard to get rid of though, definitely one of the worst.
  • by shadwwulf ( 145057 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:31PM (#10223067) Homepage
    I had a problem somewhat like this at one point. In my case it wasn't pig odor but my solution should help.

    The first thing I did was to pull the systems apart and to lay each interface card separate from eachother. I then used denatured alcohol to clean each card. I did the same thing for the motherboard and the rest of the components that would be harmed by more invasive cleaning methods.

    The cases themselves(sans power supplys) were cleaned using pinesol, then alcohol to make sure all the residue of the pinesol would be removed.

    Once I was done, I layed everything out on an anti-static mat and aimed a high powered fan at them to air everything out for any further odor that could be detected.

    This wasn't a perfect solution, but it cut the smell down by at least 95% and prevented the parts from being at high risk for damage.
  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:33PM (#10223086) Journal

    Whenever I encounter a system that smells of dead meat I just wipe it & install linux.

    -- MarkusQ

    P.S. for the humour impared: this is a joke.

  • Disaster Recovery (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:34PM (#10223098) Homepage
    Contact one of the companies that does disaster recovery after fires. The methods they use for getting rid of the smell of smoke might work.
  • by alchemist68 ( 550641 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:37PM (#10223114)
    If you are going to use rubbing alcohol, REMOVE THE HARD DRIVES FIRST, then soak everything in isopropyl alcohol. At least you'll have access to the data if the computers die from the deep cleansing process. You could gently rub the surface of the hard drives with isopropyl alcohol too, just be careful not to let too much alcohol get on to the hard drive.
  • by pfinder ( 264393 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:51PM (#10223233)
    Twenty some odd years ago, one of my sons left the door to our freezer open. The freezer was located in the basement and the felony was not discovered until after a week had passed. Poultry, fish, pork and beef along with assorted vegetables were the main products in the decaying mass that was removed.

    I tried:
    Washing with soap
    Washing with TSP (20 years ago it was the real stuff
    Baking Soda in small containers on all shelves
    Charcoal ( Charcoal Briquets broken into small chunks and scattered on the shelves

    Then as I was bemoaning the fact that I would have to purchase a new freezer, a Salesperson in the local Montgomery Ward Store said "Newspaper", (She lost the sale but gained my everlasting adoration); it absorbs the odor. Wad it up, but not tightly, fill the freezer, and change it every few days.

    Within a week to 10 days, the odor was gone. The stupid freezer is still in operation, probably keeping my electric bill higher than it needs to be.
    But, it is odor free!

    Newsprint may have changed in the past 20 years, but it worked once (for me).

    Ozium is a commercial air freshner, odor killer. It has worked in cigarette/cigar smoke impregnated rooms with limited success for me recently (Real Estate Sales).

    Good Luck!
  • Mythbusters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sgt York ( 591446 ) <jvolm@e a r t h l i nk.net> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:52PM (#10223240)
    You may be SOL.

    Ever seen the TV show mythbusters [discovery.com]? It's like snopes [snopes.com] for TV. Anyway, they took the myth about the Corvette that smelled so bad that no one could clean it or sell it. They took two dead pigs and sealed them up in a Vette and sealed the whole thing up in a shipping container for a few weeks. Then tried to clean it.

    They got a professional crew in, guys that clean out ambulances, crime scenes, etc. The car still reeked at the end of the show, and wound up getting sold for the engine & transmission.

    You may be stuck with the stench. OK, random bad jokes : give them to PETA/ADL/vegan society. Give them to Cowboy Neal, no one will notice them over his stench.

    • Re:Mythbusters (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jardine ( 398197 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:26PM (#10223452) Homepage
      They got a professional crew in, guys that clean out ambulances, crime scenes, etc. The car still reeked at the end of the show, and wound up getting sold for the engine & transmission.

      Just a clarification. The professionals gave them some tips and some training on how to clean a vehicle but the professionals weren't the ones cleaning the car. The boss of the professional cleaning company mostly seemed to stand fairly far back, say that he's smelled worse smells, and chuckle at the Mythbusters. The hosts of the show later said that the professional guy said that his crew would take a few days taking the thing apart and cleaning every crevice, then put it back together. I got the feeling that this would not be cheap to do.
    • by whiteranger99x ( 235024 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:57PM (#10223620) Journal
      You may be stuck with the stench. OK, random bad jokes : give them to PETA/ADL/vegan society. Give them to Cowboy Neal, no one will notice them over his stench.

      Let's not forget, if you bring them to a tightly packed LAN party, no one can tell the difference between the addicted gamers and the PCs that reek of rotting pig parts ;)
  • by localroger ( 258128 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @06:57PM (#10223268) Homepage
    Really, it's the only way. Nothing smells quite like a rendering plant and nothing gets it out. That smell is composed of volatile hydrocarbons which come out of the meat when it's cooked, and they get into anything porous -- even the surfaces of "solid" plastics. Insulation, wood, sheetrock, and even plastic that has been around that smell for any length of time will have that distinctive smell forever.
  • by deacon ( 40533 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:00PM (#10223294) Journal
    Reading the comments, I see all sorts of half baked ideas.

    Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol): This attacks some plastics. Figure out what kind of plastic the Socket for the CPU is made of, and then look up the chemical compatibility of that plastic with Isopropyl Alcohol. Repeat for all the other plastics which are in the computer. Don't forget, we are talking about immersion of all the parts into a giant VAT of Alcohol. You are not going to get anywhere trying to wipe the system with Q-tips or wipes.

    Ozone. O3. This is harmfull to humans, causes respiratory problems. It is used to salvage expensive items which smell of smoke. The "ITEM" is put into a sealed chamber and Ozone is put in at high concentrations. Find out if Ozone will Oxidize the electical connections in the PC (you know, like where the RAM plugs in :)

    The Solution: In the good old days, you would take the pc apart, and have the pieces vapor degreased using one of the CFCs that are now banned.

    Nowdays, you are going to have to use some sort of water based wash, which is how computer parts in the USA are now cleaned. I'm sure if you ship them to Russia or India they are still using CFCs for this kind of work.

    If you are serious about making this work, you are going to have to strip down the system completely, take out the ram, cpu, every connection which is going to trap water and not dry out properly before the corrosion starts on the contacts. Get some of the correct detergent for washing PC boards after soldering to remove flux, dip and agitate the parts in the (heated) detergent solution, rinse with clear water, dry in an oven, (or your attic in the summer for a week), reassemble, etc.

    Whatever you do, don't just go slatering on rubbing alcohol, or other stuff which has not been tested and used on PC boards.

    Don't immerse the disk drives, either, just wipe them down.

    Here is a Google Link [google.com] to get you started .

    This is a serious amount of work, so I hope these systems are worth the labor that you are going to put into it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:46PM (#10223562)
    The few times I've had to "disinfect" computers and other electronics with "creative" fragrances, I've used pure (reagant grade) ethyl alcohol [in a well ventilated and grounded work space] with solvent resistant gloves, an ultrasonic bath of coating safe electronics cleaner, tupperware dishes and miscellaneous hand tools (brushes, ball peen hammer, cold chisels, etc).. Ball peen hammers are very useful for removing encrustations and cooked on stuff.. You don't wanna know. Trust me.

    If you can replace the cases, do so. If not, dissasemble, remove power supplies, remove encrustations, and wash with bleach and hot water, then surgical soap and water.

    Standard floppy drives are replaceable. Too much of a hassle to clean.

    Harddrives are basically going to have to be removed, wiped with alcohol wipes, and then wiped down with some odor-neutralizing spray. Replace the drives after you get complete backups if any have errors.

    Powersupplies, if not replaceable, should be discharged (those caps can kill), blown out with compressed air, and then wiped down with alcohol wipes.

    CRT Monitors are going to be a bitch to clean. Replace if you can. If you can't replace, discharge all the capacitors, coils and the tube. Blow out with compressed air. Wipe down any sealed board level components and sealed surfaces with alcohol wipes. Don't get anything on any coils. Allow everything to air for 24 hrs before reassembly.

    LCD monitors should be disassembled, their cases washed with alcohol. Spritz down the electronics with coating-safe board cleaner. Use monitor-wipes on the LCD itself.

    Cables can either washed by hand, in a dishwasher (NOT HOT WATER! Max temp about 80F) or replaced. Replacement is easier.

    Keyboards, if replacements are not available, should have all batteries removed, large encrustatios removed by hand (use gloves!), blown out with compressed air, and be run through a dishwasher, again with no hot water, or washed with large amounts of alcohol. Allow to drain for at least 24 hrs (alcohol) or 48 hrs (water) under a fan before reusing.

    Boards: Remove any major encrustations of hardened tiss.. err.. organic matter by shaking, scraping, or chiseling. Soak in ethyl alcohol to loosen clotted material (in my case, literally.. again, don't ask) enough to brush/wipe most of it off. Immerse in electronics cleaner in ultrasonic bath on low. Board comes looking almost brand new. Allow to dry under a fan for several ours. Test, and reinstall.

    Replace all fans and filters if possible (easier than cleaning the damn things). Reassemble. Before closing the case, hang a couple of those pine-tree shaped air fresheners in the case.

    There are also a lot of forensic clean-up information websites out there.. Google is your friend. Hope this helps..

  • ACL Staticide (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hal_9000@!!!@ ( 152225 ) <slashdot@not-real.org> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:47PM (#10223568) Homepage Journal
    ACL Staticide [aclstaticide.com] is the stuff you're looking for. It is just as good as isopropyl as a solvent but is also an antistat... computer shops use it to clean computers (we use #1010 where I work). If you have any left over, you can mop your floors/clean your carpets with it to make them static-free.

    And it's even cheap!
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:55PM (#10223611)
    Summary- wipe everything down with alcohol, trash anything painted along with the PSUs. I once let a friend borrow a system for several months-what I did not know what this his roomates were smokers and slobs, and the computer came back covered in a layer of brownish goo. I carefully cleaned off everything that I could with alcohol on q-tips and toothbrushes, washed the case with lysol, and let it all dry.

    Most of the parts ended up well-cleaned and generally stink free. Unfortunately, the power supply was uncleanable without a total dissasembly that would have rendered it unusable, and the while the case appeared clean, once it warmed up it stank just as bad as before; as far as I can tell it was just some weird feature of the paint that kept me from getting the stink out.

    Since I couldn't fit an Antec server case in the dishwasher, I wrote it off as a loss, tossed it out, put the parts in a new case, and donated it to my college-student sister.
  • Ozone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by danieleran ( 675200 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @07:58PM (#10223628) Homepage Journal
    My dad ran a business cleaning up after floods, fire damage and crime scenes (mostly suicides). Some things smell bad. Some require vomiting (like rotten meat). Some are just unpleasant but linger (like the acrid smoke smell from a fire).

    Things you can't clean by washing can be put in a tent with an ozone (O3) generator. Ozone is what you smell after a lightning storm: the clean rain smell. Concentrated, it smells sort of like bleach, but sharper.

    It's both toxic and cleaning because (as I recall) Ozone happily oxidizes anything it contacts, preferring to be regular O2 + a free radical oxygen atom. The free Oxygen can bond with a molecule of stank and modify it to something less stanky, or it can, say, attach to a molecule in a cell wall and kill the cell.

    It's like an efficiently burning fire in slow motion. I think oxidation is part of what makes your skin age; as you age, the damage created by environmental oxidation is repaired less and less by your body, until you just wither away. That's the idea behind taking certain vitamins that are supposed to block the damaging effects of free radicals in your body.

    Of course, when you have something that stinks, you'd prefer it be destroyed by oxidation.

    Unfortunately, plastics are among the hardest things to clean because they can absorb odors and its very hard to suck the stink back out. Stink isn't just something on the surface you can wipe off in most cases.

    Spraying perfume just adds a new smell on top, which might not outlast the stink itself. I think Fabreze is a corn based chemical that works along the same principle as ozone. However, it leaves a residue on hard surfaces; it's designed for fabrics.

    Sometimes when you have, say, a guy who dies alone in a house and his body fluids drain through the floor, or, in a moment of anguish, someone decides to end it all using a shotgun, you have a situation where you just need to throw things away.

  • by tweedlebait ( 560901 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:57PM (#10223922)
    They handle many nasty smell situations at beef packing and rendering facilities. Solution would probably include some enzymes to chew up most of the stuff and chlorine dioxide to kill off the bacteria, etc. They probably handle the odor control systems for stink exiting the plant too so there might be a tech at your plant every week or so who'd help you.

    There are several other companies that handle this type of situation as well.

    http://www.ashchem.com/ascc/drewind/ [ashchem.com]

  • by buckeyeguy ( 525140 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @01:15AM (#10225241) Homepage Journal
    ... pork whiskers! Eventually the hardware will fritz out due to the accumulated pork whiskers and you'll have to replace it anyway. Problem solved.
  • Why bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by winwar ( 114053 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @01:47AM (#10225474)
    Any reason why the company doesn't just replace the computers? I mean, if they are typical PC's, it would be cheaper to replace them, reload the software/data, etc. than to clean them. Downtime surely isn't a problem (will be needed to clean them). If it is high end stuff, well, it is probably worth paying someone to do it.

    On a side note, who is the idiot who designed/signed off on the ventilation system for the old location? Possibly the one too cheap to replace the computers?
  • by mr. methane ( 593577 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:07AM (#10225951) Journal
    there's not much you can do. After a relatively short time, strong odors will permeate the many slightly porous surfaces. A very thorough de-greasing, and a very thorough blasting with compressed air to remove dust (which traps a lot of odors) may help.. but it's going to be really, really, really hard to get them to pass muster in a non-agricultural office setting.

    Now, I've got this Corvette for sale, you see...

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."