Fiber Optic Cleaning Products

In this category you will find all the necessary products needed to clean your fiber optic connector endfaces.  We offer fiber optic cleaning kits that include all the necessary fiber optic cleaning supplies all in one convenient carrying case.  We have both standard fiber optic cleaning kits and military fiber optic cleaning kits which includes cleaning sticks designed to clean specialized connectors often seen in military fiber optic installations.  Our CleanClickers provide a quick and easy way to clean fiber optic endfaces. CleanClickers allow you to clean your fiber optic connector by just pushing in the tool until it clicks.  It includes a rotating cleaning cloth at the end of it.  We also have cleaning cassettes which allow you to place the fiber optic connector on a cleaning cloth and roll it back and forth.  Our fiber optic cleaning sticks allow you to spray fiber optic cleaning fluid into the stick and then you rotate the stick around your fiber optic ferrule.  The stick includes cleaning cloth material inside of it.  These tools are used in conjuction with our fiber optic cleaning fluid.  We offer our fiber optic cleaning fluid in 3oz and 10oz spray bottles.  We also have a variety of lint free clean wipes.  These are the most basic and simple a simple way to clean connectors with the use of fiber optic cleaning spray.  These are also used to wipe the acrylic off the optic glass when fusing splicing.  

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Why it is Important to Keep Fiber Optic Connectors Clean

One of the most overlooked aspects of fiber optic maintenance and troubleshooting is keeping the fiber optic connector endfaces clean. As we will discuss later in this article, a dirty fiber connection can either slow down or completely inhibit network traffic.

Keeping fiber connections clean is different from any other type of cleaning due to the relative sizes of the connectors compared to the particles and contaminants that typically reside on them. Also we need to be diligent in their maintenance by cleaning the connectors every time before they are mated and after each un-mating. Static charges attract dust to the fiber connectors and prevent them from falling off even when blown with a can of compressed air. As we will see later on in this article, dust caps are primarily used to protect the ferrule and do not offer fail safe protection from particle matter. In some cases, the dust caps can actually make a clean connector dirty due to their tendency to keep a static charge. In addition to dust, there are other contaminants like dried liquid compounds that need to be dealt with on the cleanings. 

When troubleshooting fiber, it is important to remember that dirty fiber connections can easily cause a slowdown or a complete shutdown of data traffic. An important tool for a network manager to have is a 200 or 400 power microscope. Dirty fiber connections should not be overlooked when troubleshooting fiber. CAUTION: Never look directly into an illuminated fiber. Laser light can cause permanent eye damage. 

 Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: We know that dirty connections can cause attenuation. Can the dirty connections can also cause bit errors and/or slowdown of the network?

Yes, dirty connectors will cause Bit Errors because the contamination degrades the signal quality. In optical networks, the signal comes in the form of a beam of light travelling through the fiber’s core. The fiber’s core has a refractive index value of N1. When the light beam comes into contact with end face contamination, it is now coming entering a second medium which has different refractive index value which we will call N2. The signal experiences changes to both reflection and fraction as it enters the second medium. The signal is basically travelling down the fiber core as a sine wave. The contamination changes that sine wave by reducing the amplitude of the sine wave and spreading its wavelength because of the reflection and fraction that happens when the signal enters the second medium or N2. If you remove the contamination, you keep the light signal in the first N1 medium as it passes between connector 1 to connector 2 eliminating bit error rates.


Q2: Can dirt get between two fibers that are mated if left in a dusty environment? Or will the mating of the connectors prevent any dust from getting on the endfaces?

You do not have to worry about dust nor residue contaminate migration with physical contact connectors as long as they were cleaned before the mating process. The contact region between two mated single fiber connectors is diameter between 250μm to 200μm. When the two ferrules are physically mated, the mating force for most single fiber industry standard connectors is around 1kg or about 2.2lbs. If you calculate the force of what 2.2lbs in a 200μm, that comes to 45,000psi which is why contaminate migration is not a problem even in a dusty environment.

The best way to avoid any chance of contaminate migration is to use a wipe for cleaning unmated connectors on a cable assembly and a stick cleaner for connectors residing in an adapter. The mechanical cleaning tools like the One Click –style cleaners have a limited contact region and will never be able to clean the connector’s end face. The reason is the cleaning tip of a mechanical cleaner have to be able to rotate within the adapter sleeve without getting the cleaning strand or ribbon snagged on the split adapter sleeves. Stick cleaners do not have this problem and offer the largest effective cleaning region. Most cleaning sticks use a different type of cleaning material than the mechanical cleaners are not vulnerable to the snag problems of a flowing cleaning strand in the tools. The stick cleaners are rotated in the adapter sleeve as it cleans the mated connector’s end face.  The contact the stick’s cleaning tip makes with the interior of the adapter sleeve during the rotation is helping to pull away dust and connector wear debris that was residing on the interior of the adapter sleeve. This help prevents future particle migration which could land on the ferrule end faces during the mating process.

There is an exception which are the expanded beam contacts. Expanded beam based connectors are starting to gain popularity in enterprise applications because of the Intel MXC connector and in Mil/Aerospace with lens connectors. The connector manufacturers explain that contamination is not a problem because the signal collimates into a large spot size as it passes from the lens of connector A to connector B. An end user would be wise to think about the environment his connectors are being exposed to before assuming he will never have to clean. A large enough piece of dust particulate residing somewhere on either lens will create problems. Also residues have different index of reaction and the amount of residue and its reflective characteristics will cause problems especially at higher data rates.  The best practice to avoid long term problems and extend the life of your optical assemblies is to always inspect and remove any contamination regardless of the connector type.


Q3: Is it possible that an end cap (dust cap) can get dirty and cause the fiber endface to get dirty. Should you always clean a fiber when you remove the dust cap, prior to insertion onto a mating sleeve to connect the two fibers?

End caps are c common source of contamination when working with optical connectors. The connector end cap’s primary purpose is to protect the ferrule end face from scratch an