Best Practices for Cleaning Optical Fiber

Surprisingly, the number one cause of fiber network problems and failures is contaminated connectors.  These issues can be avoided by cleaning and inspecting every fiber end face before making that final connection.

Are you cleaning the fiber end faces properly?

Cleaning Optical Fiber – Best Practices

Just in case, take a look at some best practices.

Obtain the Right Tool for the Job

Using canned air or dusters for cleaning fiber end-faces is a very ineffective practice.  Canned air and dusters only succeed in blowing around particles and are not adequate for cleaning oils, residues, or small charged dust particles.  As an alternative, use fabric and composite wipes made of lint-free material providing absorbency to remove contaminants from the end.  Remember to discard wipes after use.

Beware of using wipes alone “dry cleaning”.   Dry cleaning can leave a static charge on the fiber end face that attracts statically charged dust particles.  A combination of composite wipes and solvents is the best way to go.  Solvents boost the cleaning ability of the wipe while eliminating the static charge issue.

However, if you use too much solvent it can leave behind a film.  If you do, use a new dry wipe to remove the excess but not too much as to cause a static charge.

Further Best Practices for Cleaning Optical Fiber

  • Never touch the fiber connector end face with your oily fingers
  • Never touch the clean area of the wipe, cleaning fabric, or swab
  • Never touch the solvent dispensing tip
  • Always were the appropriate safety glasses
  • Always keep protective caps on unplugged fiber connectors
  • Always store unused protective caps in a sealed connector
  • Always discard used wipes immediately
  • Always follow the golden rule of cleaning

The Golden Rule of Optical Fiber Cleaning

The golden rule of optical fiber cleaning is to ALWAYS inspect, clean, and inspect again due to the potentiality of contamination.  Even if you think you have meticulously cleaned the fiber end face, you still need to follow the rule.

Learn more by contacting EESI Sales at (972)529-0923 or contact us via our online form.