Cleaning Electrical Connectors

Corrosion can be a big problem especially for electrical connections that are exposed to the outdoor elements. The corrosion can disturb the flow of the electricity and cause power failure to the device. Cleaning the electrical male and female parts is the best remedy for the problem. You will need a small brush to use during the cleaning process as most of the wires are small in diameter. Here are the steps on how to clean them.

Things that you need:

  • Clean Rag
  • Sandpaper
  • Toothbrush
  • Contact Cleaner or Vinegar

Electrical Connectors


  • To clean the male connectors, remove all the electrical power from the circuit in both sections of the following instructions. Do not try to clean any connector or device while it is under power or operation.
  • Clean the connector by wiping off any debris or dirt with a clean rag. Expose the female socket and the male probes or pins by pulling the connector apart. Check the condition of the male pins. A white or greenish powder on the pins will indicate a corrosion problem. The entire plug assembly might be needed to be replaced if the metal appears to be broken and rusted.
  • Buff or rub the pins with a small sandpaper to remove the discoloration of the metal. You can then buff the paper until a shiny and clean metal surface appears. Use a toothbrush to brush the metal pins. Spray a bit of electrical contact cleaner or vinegar to remove any corrosion or dry dust. Then, brush to remove any debris leftover.
  • Spray a coat of the contact lubricant to protect the connectors from future corrosion.
  • To clean the female connectors, spray the contact cleaner or vinegar into the female socket. Place the small diameter steel brush into the socket and rotate it in a clockwise direction. Quickly pull the brush from the socket and repeat these steps to remove any debris in the orifice.
  • Proceed with the process with each individual pin socket. Finish the step with spraying contact lubricant into the socket before reassembling the connector.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC

Additional Reading:

Electronic Connector Handbook: Technology and Applications

Applications Handbook for Electrical Connectors