Cleaning Mold From Electronic Equipment

By Giselle Diamond

Introduction

Molds are fungi that can grow in a variety of conditions. Found to grow in temperatures as low as 2 degrees C, one thing that is required for any type of mold growth is moisture. Without moisture, a mold spore may lay dormant for quite a while, depending upon the species, but they will eventually biologically decompose.Molds reproduce through small spores which are easily carried through the air, because of this, mold spores can be found on surfaces both indoors and out. These spores blend in and become a part of the dust particles we find deposited throughout our environment. We generally do not notice the presence of mold in our daily activities unless these molds are growing in colonies. These colonies can be seen growing on the decaying peach in your fruit bowl or along baseboards and drywall in a moist corner of your basement.

Problem

Today's modern electronic equipment frequently incorporates the use of fans to cool their motors and processors. These fans have an intake duct that takes in huge amounts of dust in addition to air. If the electronic equipment is stored or used in a moisture laden area, this dust is the perfect environment for mold spores to grow.The usual method to remove mold and kill mold spores is to clean the affected area with a mild bleach solution and/or to spray the area with a disinfecting spray that prevents mold growth, such as Lysol.The process of cleaning mold from electronic equipment is hampered by the fact that most electronic equipment cannot be exposed to the amount of moisture needed to eradicate mold by the above methods. Thus, the best alternative for cleaning this type of equipment is to essentially make the mold die of thirst.

Cleaning the Outer Shell

The outer parts of electronic equipment that are not affected by small amounts of moisture, such as the outer shell of a CPU unit, can be cleaned with the conventional mild bleach solution, making sure to wipe the areas down thoroughly, and then dry the areas with a soft towel.

Cleaning the Inner Workings

The inner workings of electronic equipment require more delicate care. It is recommended that the equipment be moved to a well ventilated area, such as a garage or patio. Care should be taken not to breathe the dust as it is removed. After the equipment is placed in a well ventilated area, a HEPA certified vacuum cleaner should be used to suction all visible dust from the ventilation fan(s). A HEPA vacuum uses a fine filter that will prevent mold spores from being redistributed in the atmosphere. After vacuuming, a can of compressed air should be used to blow any hidden dust from these areas. The outer cover of the equipment can also be removed following the manufacturers recommendations, and the same process applied to these areas.

Prevention

To prevent regrowth of mold spores, the area in which the equipment is used or stored should be equipped with a dehumidifier to lower the amount of moisture that is available for mold growth.