Fiber Optic Cleaning Methods

Fiber optic cleaning kit on the market can be divided to four types based on the cleaning method.

Dry cleaning:  Fiber optic cleaning without the use of any solvent.
Wet cleaning: Fiber optic cleaning with a solvent. Typically IPA (isopropyl alcohol).
Non-Abrasive cleaning: Cleaning without abrasive material touching the fiber optic connector end face. Examples are air dusters or pressured solvent jet used in automated in-situ connector cleaners.
Abrasive cleaning: The popular lint free wipes, reel based Cletop fiber optic cleaner and fiber optic cleaning swabs such as the Cletop sticks are all abrasive cleaning types.

Dry cleaning products
Air spray (air duster, canned air, compressed air) – Air dusters are used to blow loose particles from optical fiber connector endface, or dry up solvent (isopropyl alcohol) residue after a wet cleaning.
All air dusters are not the same. Optic grade is more expensive. Air spray is a non-abrasive fiber optic cleaning method.

Wet Cleaning Products
Alcohol with lint-free wipes: This is the traditional way of fiber optic wet cleaning. A few drops of solvent (typically isopropyl alcohol) are applied to lens paper which is folded in 4~6 layers and laying flat on the table. The operator then holds the connector vertically and cleans it in figure 8 motion. This must be followed by a dry cleaning step to prevent solvent residue, either by air duster or dry lint-free wipes.

Pre-saturated or GLC-T soaked fiber optic cleaning wipes – wet cleaning. Pre-saturated wipes are good for cleaning glass fiber or connector end faces. They are available in a convenient pre-saturated towelette. The towels are durable and non-linting. Pre-saturated wipes are a convenient option for field use.

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