Cleaning wire connectors

External wire connectors tend to get dirty easily. Gardening lamps, trailer lights and other similar lighting will get dirty much faster than shielded and enclosed connectors. It is important for you to clean the connectors regularly to keep these lights working at full capacity. It also projects a cleaner look of the wire connectors thus creating a clean image of your house.

The cleaning process is not that hard and only takes a few minutes per wire. When the process is finished, your lights will have a longer wire life and brighter lighting result. Here are the steps on how to clean it.

You will need:

  1. Rag
  2. Vinegar
  3. Rubber
  4. Dielectric grease
  5. 300- grit sandpaper

Wire Connectors


  1. First, turn off the main power at your home’s circuit breaker for your safety. If you are working on a portable device, remove the battery from its main device. Protecting your hands from any possible corrosion around the connectors by wearing rubber gloves seems like the right safety precaution you can take before starting to work on this project. You might not think it’s important and that you can handles these wires, but one shouldn’t take a chance when it comes to electricity.
  2. Then, take a dry rag and use it to wipe away any dirt or grime on the plastic connector casing. Wipe until the plastic casing appears to be cleaned. Remember, it is important to use a dry material not a wet one. If you choose a wet one, sure it will get cleaner faster but it is not safe for the electricity is running through these wires. Better be safe than sorry when it comes to this.
  3. Next, pull apart the connectors slowly so as not to break them. Use a piece of 300-grit sandpaper to remove the rust and corrosion from the metal connector pins. Using fine sandpaper will clean the wire connector effectively according to the National High Traffic Safety Administration. Again, this step should be taken slowly and with precaution. However, you should not rub the sandpaper with the connectors too vigorously or the contact area will have the risk of getting damaged. If it gets damaged, you will have to go through all this trouble to have it changed, most likely.
  4. If there is any stubborn grime, dip the wire connector in vinegar to loosen up the grimes. This is actually an ancient method, so to speak, that used to be practiced for quite some time now. Then, use the grit sandpaper on the connector’s surface to remove any grimes excess.
  5. When the cleaning process is done, put some dielectric grease to the connectors. These dielectric grease layers will help to protect the wires connector from grime and future moisture.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC

Additional Reading:

Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Wiring

Automotive Electrical Handbook