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Thread: What are these white spots on NES carts?

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    loves the Game Gear too much. recorderdude's Avatar
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    Default What are these white spots on NES carts?

    Got a lot of NES and SNES stuff recently that has some real good titles, but some are covered in these weird white spots, the worst of em being a copy of bartman. Image here: Click image for larger version. 

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    Theyre usually somewhat hardened but scrape off like chalk. I've definitely gotten carts on multiple consoles (but usually NES) like this before so its hard for me to believe everyone just splashed white paint on them and it dried 20 years ago. Have you guys ever encountered any like these? If so, is this some kind of mold, and do I need to take any precautions when cleaning these inside and out, or are paint flecks on retro games really that common?

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    mold. seen it on VHS tapes before. Keep it seperate from other carts so it doesn't spread.

    If it were me, I'd wear an N95 and just use soap and water with a non abrasive rag to gently clean it, avoiding the label obviously. and I wouldnt touch it with your bare fingers
    Last edited by gbpxl; 03-17-2021 at 06:33 AM.
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    loves the Game Gear too much. recorderdude's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick response! I've ordered some N95s (I'm sure I'll get more use out of them than just this, considering the current times) and will be wiping down each one thoroughly with gloves on.

    One more question though - obviously before the mold is cleaned off, I'll be keeping them separate, but once they're wiped down, is it okay to integrate them onto the wall with the other carts, or is there still a significant risk of mold forming and spreading to other carts since it used to be there? Having everything in alphabetical order on a shelf like a big dorky library is half the fun for me!

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by recorderdude View Post
    Thanks for the quick response! I've ordered some N95s (I'm sure I'll get more use out of them than just this, considering the current times) and will be wiping down each one thoroughly with gloves on.

    One more question though - obviously before the mold is cleaned off, I'll be keeping them separate, but once they're wiped down, is it okay to integrate them onto the wall with the other carts, or is there still a significant risk of mold forming and spreading to other carts since it used to be there? Having everything in alphabetical order on a shelf like a big dorky library is half the fun for me!

    Thanks!
    Well maybe others here can chime on risk of spreading but me personally, I don't wanna risk it. I have a copy of Ghostbusters on VHS that I've had for months. The mold is all within the housing of the casette on the tape itself and I have never put it on a shelf alongside the others. I just don't wanna take my chances.
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    I would have thought those specs could be from storage in styrofoam but I guess they could be spots of mold.

    Quote Originally Posted by recorderdude View Post
    Thanks for the quick response! I've ordered some N95s (I'm sure I'll get more use out of them than just this, considering the current times) and will be wiping down each one thoroughly with gloves on.
    With actual N95 masks they need to be properly fitted so you can order the correct size to fit your face, they're available in many different sizes similar to shoe sizes.

    Honestly for most mold it's not that dangerous and you don't need a mask. Most homes have some mold spores floating around at all times anyway. If you leave a loaf of bread out well past the expiry date, will it grow mold? It will only grow mold if mold is already present, and that's with your food. It's the same with leaving an open block of cheese in your fridge for months and mold starts growing, or old leftovers for weeks. Again it's only growing because it was already present, and that's in your fridge with your food.

    Quote Originally Posted by recorderdude View Post
    One more question though - obviously before the mold is cleaned off, I'll be keeping them separate, but once they're wiped down, is it okay to integrate them onto the wall with the other carts, or is there still a significant risk of mold forming and spreading to other carts since it used to be there? Having everything in alphabetical order on a shelf like a big dorky library is half the fun for me!
    Yes, once the mold is actually cleaned off then it's safe to store the carts with everything else. Mold grows on the surface of plastic, it doesn't grow through it like with paper, cloth, or wood.

    If you really want to wipe down the cases to make sure they're free of mold, after cleaning off the visible mold wipe them down with isopropyl alcohol while avoiding the label. Personally whenever I buy used items like games, DVDs, VHS tapes, books, etc; I wipe them down with paper towels and some windex. This is safe for most labels too. Usually I wipe down just the outer case, or sometimes the inside of the case if needed(like with ex-rental VHS tapes, though I also wipe down the outside of the cassette too), or even CDs and DVDs as these can be gently washed with soap and water. Not everyone takes care of their belongings to keep them clean and like new. Cleaning the dirt helps prevent mold in the future as dust and dirt provides material that mold can live off of, dirt absorbs and holds moisture from the air(this also causes rust by the way, keeping metal clean helps prevent some rust). I wouldn't just use water to consider the plastic clean. If you wanted to you could open the case and really clean out the inside to make sure nothing bad is inside, I've cleaned some of my games like this when they were in rough shape and they're easier to clean when the cases are taken apart. There's no risk of getting the circuit board wet if it's removed from the shell.

    I like to keep things clean to prevent mold from possibly spreading, and I do keep still dirty items separate from already clean items until I can clean them properly. It's the same with VHS tapes, I do have some tapes with some mold and I keep these separately from the other tapes, but I've cleaned a couple tapes already and they were safe to play. It's very time consuming and tedious to actually clean tapes properly so I tend to put off doing it.

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    I've heard of a guy who specializes in cleaning mold off tapes. I can't remember the exact method he used but I heard if you play a moldy VHS tape, the spores will contaminate the player and potentially contaminate other tapes you put in it afterwards
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    Here's a good article on mold attacking plastic

    https://ultra-fresh.com/can-mold-grow-on-plastic/

    diluted bleach or undiluted white vinegar is another good solution though Ive never tried it. I feel bleach is a little risky. Ive always had good luck with IPA too
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    I've heard of a guy who specializes in cleaning mold off tapes. I can't remember the exact method he used but I heard if you play a moldy VHS tape, the spores will contaminate the player and potentially contaminate other tapes you put in it afterwards
    The thing is, if you buy and watch used tapes, you have no idea if those have already been played in a contaminated VCR. The only way to be sure of avoiding contamination is to only buy and play brand new tapes that have never been played in a dirty VCR, and only use a brand new machine that you've owned since new. The main reason to still watch tapes today is for the obscure tapes that are only available used, or to transfer rare home recordings. There's really no way to fully avoid tapes like people are suggesting. Plenty of rental stores and libraries used professional tape cleaning machines so lots of used tapes may have already been cleaned of mold in the past without you knowing.

    A problem I found with cleaning moldy tapes is that it tends to flake off inside the shell when the tape is played/wound, really the spools need to be removed from the shell during cleaning to ensure that everything is fully cleaned without spreading anything. Lots of tapes have end labels so they'll be damaged if you try to open the shell, either removing the label or cutting through it. To fully decontaminate a moldy VHS tape so the mold won't come back, they're supposed to be baked after being cleaned, and you would need a special scientific oven to control the exact temperature and environment for this to take place. Professionally cleaning tapes aren't worth the cost unless you have something extremely rare or irreplaceable, almost like security camera footage needed for evidence.

    If you really want to know if your tapes are contaminated, store your tapes in a damp basement for a few years. Mold will only grow if it's already present, it's not like it can float past the storage box full of tapes, the case/sleeve for an individual tape, and the cassette shell, just to get to the tape inside on the reels. Most used tapes will mold if poorly stored so they're already contaminated.

    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    Here's a good article on mold attacking plastic

    https://ultra-fresh.com/can-mold-grow-on-plastic/

    diluted bleach or undiluted white vinegar is another good solution though Ive never tried it. I feel bleach is a little risky. Ive always had good luck with IPA too
    Thanks for those articles, those are some good techniques too. I'm just not sure how well those methods would work without damaging the label or even the plastic. Soaking anything might be a bit too much in the case of game cartridges especially with bleach.

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    use the vinegar option, it works, even on a large scale.

    I'm in the slow process or redoing a shed in my back yard that was finished with sheet rock, carpet and had every conceivable gap stuffed full with insulation... but they did a shit job on the roof and it leaked and mold grew like crazy on and in the walls.
    after stripping it down to studs we found upside down mushrooms growing inside the ceiling. after a through gutting (and tearing part of it completely down) we sprayed every square inch inside with vinegar multiple times and its been almost a year since we did that and nothing has gorwn back yet. i will be painting the inside bare walls soon just to be sure it doesnt happen.

    just an example to the effectiveness of vinegar.

    i would also take each one apart, clean the PCB with alcohol and clean the shell inside and out with vinegar. careful of the labels

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    This is definitely skeet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpasticFuctard View Post
    This is definitely skeet.
    Dude if you have nothing to contribute, then get the f**k out of here.
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