Remove Cigarette Smoke From PS2 Controller?
March 9, 2006 9:30 PM   Subscribe

How do you remove the smell of Cigarette Smoke from a Game Controller? I bought a new unopened controller on ebay, but it stinks! Google says to soak it in Vinegar, but it's an electronic?

I bought a video game controller on ebay. I thought I was safe because the controller was new and in an unopened box. I knew I was in trouble when I received the package in the mail. The package reeked of cigarette smoke and that was on my door step. I thought I would be safe because the controller was in a factory sealed plastic bag, but I was wrong. I got the controller out and it just stinks.

It's a really hard to find, one handed controller that I got for a good deal, so I don't want to give it up. But at the same time I don't think I could live with it the way it is. Does anyone know a good way to get rid of the smell?
posted by ejhdigdug to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Ultraviolet seems to kill most stinks. Try taking it apart and leaving it in the sun.
posted by glibhamdreck at 9:42 PM on March 9, 2006

Febreeze! Or wipe it down with a diluted OxyClean mixture. Or wipe it down with vinegar.
posted by fionab at 9:52 PM on March 9, 2006

Clean it as mentioned above, then put it somewhere where it gets lots of airflow.
posted by tomble at 9:54 PM on March 9, 2006

I scored a scanner, a printer, and a game controller from some friends who were heavy smokers. All three objects did indeed reek badly. But I rubbed every square inch of their surfaces with paper towels and rubbing alcohol. On two of the three items, the plastic actually changed color; that's how noxious the layer of gunk was. I seem to recall that one of the components was more difficult than the others to de-scent, but can't remember anything more specific, I'm afraid.
posted by Clay201 at 10:21 PM on March 9, 2006

You don't have to put it in the vinegar. Putting it near a bowl of vinegar, preferably in a closed space, will work pretty well too.

There are also various powder or gravel products that use negative ions to eliminate nasty odors (ExStink, Zeolite). When I bought a car from a chain smoker, the upholstery reeked. Tossing a small bag of this stuff in there rendered the air almost completely odorless within a week. Miracle.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:22 PM on March 9, 2006

With something like a game controller I think you would be able to fully submerge it in just about any liquid given that: a) the substance doesn't leave a residue or b) you follow up with something to remove the residue and c) you leave it unpowered and with sufficient airflow for a very long time to make sure it's completely dry.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:26 PM on March 9, 2006

Return it as damaged, give negative feedback.
posted by krisjohn at 11:31 PM on March 9, 2006

Remove the shell and soak that in vinegar. Usually things like that are held together with four to six screws, and the assemblies inside held together with a couple of screws more, so it's not usually hard to do.
posted by Harald74 at 11:35 PM on March 9, 2006

Spray it with Ozium
posted by nanojath at 11:36 PM on March 9, 2006

For the record, one of the major manufacturing steps in electronic circuitry is washing. This means that all the electronics in your controller have been through the equivalent of a dishwasher. The reason they still work is that they were dried off very thoroughly afterwards.

Open the shell of the controller, spritz the shell with your favorite destinker and let dry. Do the same with the circuitry if it reeks. Let it dry completely. You can help this along by putting it in an oven set on the lowest temperature with the door open (that's about 120-140F). Let it cool and reassemble.
posted by plinth at 6:40 AM on March 10, 2006

I would not remove the shell if I were you. The parts inside are likely so incredibly cheaply made that there's a good chance something might break when it's out of arrangement.

Of course, I'm just saying this because I messed up a PSX controller a couple weeks ago after taking it apart. I still can't believe the spring action on the shoulder buttons is accomplished via thin strips of plastic instead of rubber buckling springs. I guess it saves a lot of money to do it that way instead.
posted by ducksauce at 6:46 AM on March 10, 2006

I would try putting it in a ziploc with a dryer sheet for a while.

If that doesn't do the trick, try sealing it into an airtight container (Tupperware or similar) with a small dish of vinegar (or a few sheets of paper towel soaked in vinegar--either way, make sure the wet vinegar doesn't touch the controller, so you don't risk shorting it out, and put the sealed container somewhere where it isn't going to get jostled.

Either way, leave it for a few days at least.

Sunshine is a great deodorizer. I'm not sure if that's a very good idea with electronics, but maybe as a last resort--it will almost certainly work, I'm just not sure how sitting out in the sunshine will affect the plastic pieces.
posted by padraigin at 8:34 AM on March 10, 2006

You can run it in the dishwasher (look up all the keyboard in diswasher stories, works like a charm), doesn't matter, as long as the chemicals you use don't dissolve the plastic or the metal. Like others are saying, use your favorite deoderizer spray, and let it dry for a while. (Rotate and change position of the controller every few hours, so trapped liquid can flow and then evaporate.
posted by defcom1 at 10:17 AM on March 10, 2006

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