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How To Clean Electrical Contacts

Electrical contact is a switch controlled electronically that interrupts or completes a circuit affecting an electrical current. This component is also found in relays, connectors, and circuit breakers.

Each contact is made from a piece of an electrically conductive material such as metal, and when the contacts touch this closes the switch. When the contacts are apart the switch remains open.

Electrical contacts are designed to carry high current loads and be directly connected to high voltage feeds. So, when they get dirty item performance can be affected. See how to clean electrical contacts here…

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Electrical Contacts Cleaners

Learn what to use to clean electrical contacts below:

Micro brushes

Electrical contact cleaning can be carried out with a contact cleaning brush. Follow the guide below to clean the contacts if they’re not too dirty…

  • Ensure the item is unplugged before you begin cleaning
  • Apply a cleaning solution such as rubbing alcohol or white vinegar to a micro brush
  • Insert the brush into the contact slot making sure it’s not dripping wet
  • Place the item on a flat surface
  • Let the item dry completely which can take up to an hour
  • Throw away the micro brush
  • Reconnect power source

Electrical Contact Cleaners Kits

Cleaning electrical contacts with a special kit require you to read the manufacturers instructions thoroughly. This will inform you exactly how long to leave the cleaning solution on before wiping off. There may also be a range of brushes in the kit to clean different types of contacts. Follow the instructions and:

  • Unplug the item from the power source
  • Use the appropriate applicator brush to apply the contact cleaning solution
  • Cover the entire surface and leave the solution to settle – this could take all night of the contacts are extremely dirty
  • Wipe or brush off any remaining dirt
  • Repeat the process if necessary
  • When complete reconnect power source

Electrical Contact Cleaner Sprays

Using a non-flammable solution in an aerosol form is another contact cleaning option. See how to use the spray here…

  • Make sure the power supply to the item is disconnected, although this method can be used on live equipment
  • Spray solution onto the surface and allow to evaporate
  • Use the brush provided to remove any stubborn deposits
  • Let the high penetrating power of the spray loosen and get rid of dirt and grease
  • As the solution dries there won’t be any residue

Electrical Contact Cleaning Strips

These are handy strips designed with card heavily infused with a high-performance contact lubricant. They can be used on closed contacts as they slip between the gap – cleaning any contaminants. Use the strips in the following way:

  • Take a clean part of the strip and insert between closed contacts
  • Move back and forth several times
  • Notice a dark mark appearing on the strip as the contact lubricant removes impurities
  • Tear off the worn part of the strip and insert a clean area between the next pair of contacts
  • Reconnect power source

Electrical Contact

Some Electrical Contact Cleaning Tips

  • Whilst cleaning electrical contacts check for weakness and wear, a sign that contacts need replacing
  • Wearing vinyl gloved before you start contact cleaning will protect your hands from any unpleasant substances
  • You can use an appropriately sized eraser to rub the contacts and remove any residues
  • A toothbrush is a handy contact cleaning tool
  • White vinegar can be used to clean the pins as the weak acid will dissolve and loosen any corrosion
  • Never submerge an electrical contact in water

Chat to a Qualified Electrical Professional

If you’re not confident in cleaning your electrical contacts yourself simply get in touch with your trusted domestic electrical service provider. You’ll be able to arrange a convenient appointment – and if you’ve got an emergency situation your 24-hour electrician will be with you quickly.

Remember that if connectors need to be replaced this is a job for the experts. Corrosion can make wires very difficult to hold and can migrate to the entire length of the wire. If you can’t remove the corrosion and improve the connection your trained electrician has all the skills and the tools to do so safely. And you’ll be covered by a complete protection package throughout. Your newly cleaned or replaced electrical contacts will quickly instantly produce good conductivity, resist against oxidisation and corrosion, be cost-effective, and work safely.