Cleaning Connectors

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Safety reminders

When cleaning connectors:


  1. Use clean, low-pressure air to remove loose particles from mating plane surfaces and threads. Avoid directing the air directly into the connector, which will force the debris into the connector, but pass air over the end of the connector as you would when blowing a flute. After air cleaning, inspect the connector thoroughly. If additional cleaning is required, continue with the following steps.

  1. Moisten–do not saturate–a lint-free swab with isopropyl alcohol. Excellent results can be achieved by using a 1.2 mm toothpick wrapped with a single layer of lint-free cloth.

  2. Connectors should be cleaned in a way that will minimize the wicking of the solvent into the connector. Wicking of the solvent causes several problems. It can carry contaminants such as oil and microscopic dirt into the connector structure and affect the RF performance. This places the contaminants where they cannot be easily removed. Solvents in the connector also change the SWR of the connector until the solvent has evaporated. It may be helpful to hold the connector with the mating face down to reduce the wicking effect.

  3. Clean any contamination and debris from mating plane surfaces and threads. When cleaning interior surfaces, avoid exerting pressure on the center conductor. Especially avoid the female center conductor as fibers can become trapped in the contact fingers.

  1. Let alcohol evaporate, then use compressed air to blow surfaces clean.

  2. Inspect the connector. Make sure no particles or residue remains.

  3. If defects are still visible after cleaning, the connector itself may be damaged and should not be used. Determine the cause of damage before making further connections.  

Cleaning Supplies

The following is a list of connector cleaning suppliers:


Web Site


Lint Free Cloths

Air dusters


Nitrilite Gloves and Finger Cots

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Misc updated info.