View Full Version : Tips for Removing Permanant Marker and Other Value Killers

September 16th, 2006, 07:31 PM
Hello, I was just wondering if anyone had some secrets they have to share on cleaning up old computers from abusive past owners.

I've come up with a few myself:

For cleaing up dirt and grime - Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, I swear by these things, they get the dirt right off of that texture that every old computer seems to have, and they seem almost harmless, because I havn't ruined any plastic with them yet.

For Permanent Marker - A little less safe (I already ruined my TRS-80 Model 100's black back with it), take a magic eraser and put a little nail polish remover on it, the acetone removes the permanent marker almost instantly (worked like a charm on my Model M keyboard), along with the property of the magic eraser to get in the texture, it comes out very fast. Just make sure you test it out on a small unnoticable spot, and let it dry before you test it, because you can't tell if you ruined the plastic (or the color) when its still wet.

For anything sticky - GooGone, best stuff for this, I normally let it sit for about a minute, and then remove it with a paper towel. I then go over it with a magic eraser or windex to get rid of the greasyness that the googone leaves behind.

September 16th, 2006, 08:18 PM
Hm, I've never had a problem that couldn't be defeated using water, paper towels & elbow grease... (Sometimes even only my finger & saliva! :p)

For connectors, I use either qtips & rubbing alcohol, or the shirt I'm wearing & simple rubbing w/ some pressure! :p

September 16th, 2006, 10:31 PM
Thanks for the tips crazypigeon

September 18th, 2006, 12:41 PM
Lestoil is the answer

September 19th, 2006, 12:59 PM
I'll second the GooGone recommendation. I buy lots of stuff from thrift stores and have removed lots of little kids names off of game cartridges with the stuff. I've used it to remove everything from thrift store prices off of old videogame boxes to auction stickers off of arcade cabinets. Haven't had it fail me yet!

As a bonus, your stuff ends up smelling lemony fresh. ;)

September 19th, 2006, 02:33 PM
Cif :D


September 20th, 2006, 12:02 PM
If you let Lestoil sit for a while it can remove some yellowing, in fact depending on what is the cause it may remove all the yellowing, I have never found anything as effective as lestoil for cleaning old plastic monitors. I have never had good luck with goo gone but then again its usually smoke, motor oil, sludge, yellowing that I need to remove, not goo.

September 20th, 2006, 03:17 PM
Are you sure it gets rid of the yellowing or just bleach the plastic?

Terry Yager
September 20th, 2006, 04:47 PM
Are you sure it gets rid of the yellowing or just bleach the plastic?

Ain't dat pretty much da same thang?


September 20th, 2006, 04:50 PM
I guess you could say so, but that's not really the point. Why buy this stuff when you could just buy a gallon of Clorox for a less?

September 20th, 2006, 10:03 PM
And what happens to the plastic surface, does it distort when you bleach or clean it with this agent? I read all kinds of horror stories on boards both here and elsewhere about which stuff is OK and which in theory should be avoided if you want to keep your vintage computing physically undamaged. Perhaps a rugged but clean, shiny surface is preferred to a dirty, yellowed one with the original finish.

September 27th, 2006, 12:29 PM
Lestoil is OIL, a strange cheap old wonder from the 1920's I doubt it bleaches anything, usually the yellow on my PCs is from various types of grime as many are from industrial settings, it does nothing to change the surface at all. Just thouroughly removes any type of grit, grime, or film stuck to the machinery. I find it at every store here in Wisconsin, not sure about other areas though. The yellowing only comes off if its there because of gasoline or some other type of baddy on the machine, age yellowing it reduces but I does not remove.

nige the hippy
September 27th, 2006, 01:24 PM
On top of the re-spraying IBM stuff with IBM White, we used to use a lot of terpene-based cleaners or "agent orange" as it was nicknamed (on account of the orangey smell - it is made from orange peel) they always seemed to remove grime well.
"cillit-bang" (which sounds like a porn film with your false teeth out) and "astonish orange cleaner" (which is more versatile than the name suggests) are two uk brands, and for stubborn things Dongfeng's "Cif" (which sounds like something you catch from a dirty orange) are good, and my old friend WD40 which you can spray on anything that moves, is also really good at removing sticky label glue, and restoring that "just-out-of-the-mould" look to softer plastics.