Cleaning your fiber optic cable regularly is the answer to improved transmission and communication signal. Knowing what type of fiber cleaning tools to use beforehand can save time and money as well. If this is your first time cleaning of your cable or you have noticed any problem with your network, below are some of the cleaning materials that you can use to clean and troubleshoot your connectivity issues.
Wipes: Wipes are the most popular cleaning tools for fiber optics cables. There are three kinds of wipes currently in the market today, say, pre-moistened individual non-woven cloth, lint-free tissue, and outdoor wipes. The pre-moistened are one-time individually wrapped wipes that contain fast evaporating isopropanol and are used to remove oils, dust and dirt from the end faces of the cable.
Non-woven cloths prevent the risk of scratches to the connector when wiped. This is also an excellent tool to prevent any lint residues left on the ferrules when cleaning. Lint-free wipes may be used either dry or wet. Dry lint-free wipes remove visible marks and can be used when fiber cables are to be terminated or spliced. Outdoor wipes are specially designed to remove and clean outdoor cables. Gels are used to clean the cable before termination or splicing and can also be used to clean fiber optic tools.
Many wipes contain 99% isopropyl alcohol which is needed for proper cleaning. However, care must be observed when using liquid alcohol as residual liquid can cause problems later on. No alcohol must penetrate guide pin holes for female multi-fiber connectors as this can damage and contaminate the fiber later on during mating.
Lint-Free Swabs: Lint-free swabs are perfect for cleaning sleeves, bulkheads and other recessed areas as it makes it easier to clean hard to reach areas. To use the swabs, technicians must do a complete revolution in the same direction several times or as needed. It is important not to reuse the swab with other connectors as this would cause contamination. Use a new one when repeat cleaning is necessary. Lint-free swabs can also be used for wet cleaning technique, simply use a single drop of 99% alcohol and clean the end face. Remember to dry the area immediately to prevent any residue.
Canned Air and Gel: Canned air makes it easier to clean the surface area beside the connector. This makes it easier for technicians to remove the dust particles surrounding the cable before actual removal and prevents the dust from contaminating the end face area. Gel on the other hand is the perfect tool to reduce losses that occur during splicing. Technicians should apply the gel at the interface of the matted fibers.
The above are three main types of fiber cleaning tools, you may choose one or more depend on your needs to complete your cleaning work.