cleaning PCB

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by fran1942, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. fran1942

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    Hello, I have just put together my first PCB but the copper tracks have greasy finger marks on them. Shall I just use a small amount of dishwashing detergent, water and a clean rag to wipe them off ?

  2. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    I would use alcohol.
  3. nerdegutta


    Dec 15, 2009
    I'm using acetone, and wear gloves when handling after cleaning.
  4. CraigHB


    Aug 12, 2011
    Never had any trouble cleaning assembled PCBs with 99% Isopropyl alcohol. I blow off the solvent with compressed air to make sure everything is fully dry before applying power.

    I've read of people cleaning assembled PCBs with water and reporting no issue. I haven't done that myself.

    It also depends on what's mounted on the PCB. For example, I would avoid getting something like an LCD display wet. They're usually not in sealed packages like other electronic components. I mount that stuff last and fully clean the board beforehand.
  5. debjit625

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    I do it with Isopropyl alcohol...
  6. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    I would use some sort of alcohol. And an old toothbrush as cleaning tools. I think acetone is to harsh.
  7. wireaddict

    Senior Member

    Nov 1, 2006
    I've used a mixture of water & industrial detergent on PC boards that are covered with grease & dirt from being used in factory environments [particularly where fan-cooled]. After washing & rinsing thoroughly we placed the boards in front of a fan for a day before we tested them & they always survived. I, too, wouldn't treat an LCD like this, however.

    For cleaning boards before [re]soldering new components I use acetone-based nail polish remover & toothbrush or nylon parts cleaning brush followed by denatured or 90% or stronger isopropyl alcohol. All remove rosin soldering flux but the rosin-solvent mixture leaves a film, I've found, making the second cleanup necessary. Neither of these solvents seem to affect the fiberglass-epoxy boards nor the masking layer [when used].