How to Remove Oxidation From a Circuit Board

By Aaron Edwards

Oxidation occurs when a circuit board, such as that in a computer or cell phone, is exposed to the elements for a period of time because it has been removed or is being worked on. Oxidation mostly affects the metal parts of the board, such as the copper contacts, and can damage the board permanently and prevent soldering. The good news is that there are ways to thoroughly clean oxidation off of a circuit board and get it back in shape.

Things You'll Need

  • Cleaning solvent
  • Microfiber cloth

Step 1

Remove the circuit board from the unit it is connected to. On a desktop computer, open the side panel of the tower. On a laptop, remove the keyboard assembly from the top cover of the unit. On a phone, remove the screws on the rear of the phone and remove the back panel.

Step 2

Locate the parts of the circuit board that are discolored due to oxidation. This will most likely occur on the metal contacts.

Step 3

Dip your microfiber cloth in an industrial cleaning solvent and gently wipe the portion of the circuit board that is discolored.

Step 4

Wipe the area clean with the dry end of your cloth. This will also clean the area of any dust, fingerprints and oil.

Step 5

Replace the circuit board in the device.

Tips & Warnings

  • Store circuit boards in an anti-static bag (available from computer supply stores) to prevent oxidation.