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Advice on how to clean the insulating foam inside a PC case after a fire

suedezu

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Hi,

I managed to get my hands on an older Fractal Design Meshify PC case that has been in a building affected by a fire.

The case itself was not affected by the fire: it's not burned, melted or deformed in any way. The case is empty of components.

The problem is the inside insulating foam covering all sides of the interior REEKS of smoke and I cannot clean this foam just by using cleaning wipes, no matter how hard I try.

It really needs to be washed. I'm thinking about putting the case in a large basin and just wash it with detergent and then let it dry until it's completely dry.

Any suggestion on how to best wash the insulating foam? What products should I use?

Thanks!
 

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Could you post up a pic of the foam? Might give us an idea of what cleaning options we could offer.
 

suedezu

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I'm not at home right now but I can perhaps better explain the situation.

The foam is glued to the side panels and I believe the top panel too. It's a 1 cm thick black foam, kind of dense and It's meant to sound proof the case.

The fire was substantial with a lot of black smoke that circulated through the case and the foam kind of stored the smoke just like the vacuum cleaner sponge-like filters do.

I fear that if I don't wash the inside foam to really get rid of the smoke as soon as I install the components inside and turn on the PC the house will star smelling like a fire.
 
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paint remover and a hose. It will also remove plastic so remove any

 

suedezu

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paint remover and a hose. It will also remove plastic so remove any
Using paint remover won't affect the foam? Obviously I want to keep the foam intact and glued to the side metal panels.

I was thinking using regular detergent and lots of water or any other kind of substance as long as It doesn't destroy the foam.
 
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you really want to wash this and not remove the foam?
i think what you said yourself that if it gets warmer with hardware inside then it will start to smell again.
remove and\or replace foam maybe with a spatula
 

suedezu

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you really want to wash this and not remove the foam?
i think what you said yourself that if it gets warmer with hardware inside then it will start to smell again.
remove and\or replace foam maybe with a spatula
No, I don't want to remove the foam. The whole point of this particular kind of case is the sound insulating foam. By removing it it's just another regular PC case.
 
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you could replace the foam
i think less of a job
 
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If the chassis is after fire - you do want to replace that foam. As @basco said, it's going to smell as soon as you put it back into service.
Best way to remove it: acetone or any type of chemical solvent. Just get a lot of it, along with some sort of spatula, and perform the procedure outside the house, unless you are into getting high on chemicals )))
BTW, just a regular black packing foam works just as well as that fancy stuff that's in FD or CM cases. Alternatively, you can get an off-brand sound-absorbing foam for speakers (which is what PC case manufacturers actually use, cause it's dirt-cheap). Just found a local store that sells it for around $2.5 for a 50x50cm panel w/ 30mm thickness, or somewhere around $1.50 for a 20mm thick 45x45cm panel.
 
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Wait until summer, leave the case panel outside in the heat and sun for a few days, might break down a bit but the sunlight will remove odor.
 
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I think you have a Define, not a Meshify. Meshify doesn't have any sound dampening. While my Define R4 and my Define C Mini TG does. You can try to soak it in soapy water and clean and rinse it as best you can, but I don't think you are going to get those sheets out in one piece. There might be a commercially available chemical that can eat the odor too, but I don't know.. I would try what Vario said. Its cheap and easy.
 
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25% vinegar is very good at removing odor
 
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Oh yeah, my mom uses vinegar to clean, that stuff is brutal lol. Makes your lungs burn. That should do it.
 
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No, I don't want to remove the foam. The whole point of this particular kind of case is the sound insulating foam. By removing it it's just another regular PC case.
You can replace it with bitumen etc acoustic mass sheets.
Those should be cheaply available for car acoustics.

And they're not foams.
Those cosmetic scams used by some cases lack mass to damp vibrations of case panels/block airborne sound.


Oh yeah, my mom uses vinegar to clean, that stuff is brutal lol. Makes your lungs burn. That should do it.
Doubt it even corrodes concrete and machinery unlike 85% formic acid...;)
 
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Its not a cosmetic scam, they are heavy. Go huff some and let me know how your lungs feel after. I cleaned a bathtub with it once, worked good but burns your lungs. No one said anything about using caustic materials. You wont burn yourself even if you shower with it. Its vinegar, just really strong.
 

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Should be ok to wash with normal detergent
allow to dry in a warm place (store with foam at bottem
cover foam with cat litter ( it adsorbs smells and is inexpensive just keep the cats away from it :) )
rotate case so foam is at bottem always and reapply new cat litter
case should be ready to use after a few days
you can test for smell (smoke and such) by warming case inside with a hair dryer.
 
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You'll never get that smoke smell out.
Replacement is the only option.......or no foam.
 
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Using paint remover won't affect the foam? Obviously I want to keep the foam intact and glued to the side metal panels.

I was thinking using regular detergent and lots of water or any other kind of substance as long as It doesn't destroy the foam.
You can replace the foam with new stuff?
 
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Its not a cosmetic scam, they are heavy.
Stuff used by Fractal Design in side panels isn't some "bubly" foam, but dense solid stuff.
Unlike mass damping, foams like Akasa Paxmate, Silverstone SST-SF01 etc present in some cases are totally useless in thin layers.
Such foams need thickness enough to fill like half the case to work well.
 
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Yeah I don't know about any of that stuff, I just know its not foam, and its heavy and works really well.
 
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You would be better off just replacing the foam.
 
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Dishwasher, on medium heat, with alconox.

It will get most of the loose carbon.

Realize that the carbon surface is mildly conductive, so any circuitboard, switch, anything in there should be replaced, as the carbon will be inside stuff.

I had this happen with a smoky kerosene heater I was using temporarily, and it wasted every drive, every PCB; only the case was usable after washing.
 
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Using paint remover won't affect the foam? Obviously I want to keep the foam intact and glued to the side metal panels.

I was thinking using regular detergent and lots of water or any other kind of substance as long as It doesn't destroy the foam.
The foam is toast if it smells of smoke. Just replace it. I thought you burnt the foam to the metal. But you can buy that foam
 
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The foam is toast if it smells of smoke. Just replace it. I thought you burnt the foam to the metal. But you can buy that foam
Ozone treatment would be best hope for "non-destructive" way.

Though because of being obviously rather strong oxidizer with that loose third wheel in ozone molecule looking for any other stuff (like users lungs) to party with, it can damage materials in higher concentrations.
And cost is no doubt more than just scrapping those damping materials and replacing them.
 
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