Fibre Optic End-face Connector Cleaning

Posted by in Leader Blog on Feb 01, 2013 . 0 Comments.


1. Why clean the fibre?
2. What needs cleaning?
3. What is required to clean the fibre?
  - Cleaning products
  - What each product does
4. The 3 essential steps (with process illustration)
5. The Do’s and Don’ts
Why clean the fibre?
Fibre optic cabling has become increasingly essential as the demand for high bandwidth broadband continues to rise. 
Those out to supply and install the cabling infastructure need to ensure the fibre connections are clean; microscopic dust paricles, even a single micrometer in size, on a fibre core is enough to interrupt the signal and cause a loss of communication.
To put that into perspective, a human hair is 50-75 micrometers whereas a fibre core can be as small as 9 micrometers in diameter.
Types of contamination that must be cleaned off a fibre core:
- Dust Particles
- Oils
- Film residue (condensed from vapors in the air)
- Powder (that may have been left after liquid evaporates)
What needs cleaning?
- The end-face of a fibre optic connector (the jumper end)
- The adaptor it fits into (the back plane) including the inner sleeve
This is what makes up a mating connection and so both ends must be clean.
What is required to clean the fibre?
Cleaning Products;
- Lint free dry wipes
- Pre-saturated alcohol lint free wipes
- Fibre connector cleaning cassette
- One-click cleaner
- Cleaning swab
What each product does;
Lint free dry wipes
The fibre is held vertically over a folded dry wipe (folded 4-6 times) and cleaned in a figure of
8 motion. This dry wipe procedure is abrasive and can cause scratching.

Pre-saturated alcohol lint free wipes
The same cleaning method is used for the pre-saturated wipes, the only difference being this 
procedure is followed by the dry wipe process to remove any liquid residue.

Fibre connector cleaning cassette
A mechanical version of the dry wipe process. The cleaning cassettes produce faster, more 
consistent and less abrasive results than dry wiping. One reel of the weaved polyester cloth 
is cabable of 400 fibre cleans, and the reels are replaceable.
Lint-free swabs for cleaning any end-face that needs reaching into in order of cleaning.
The one-click cleaner is semi-automated and is specifically designed to clean connectors 
commonly used in fibre optic patch panels. They come in both 1.25mm and 2.5mm

A complete solution for fibre optic end-face cleaning and inspection. Used by installers
on-site, for environments such as data centres, campuses and private premises.
The 3 Essential Steps of fibre optic connector cleaning
- Inspection
- Cleaning
- Re-inspection
This process is repeated until the connector is clean and is demonstrated in the flow chart below:


Do’s and Don’ts
Do inspect the connector before attempting to clean
Do put dust caps on any unplugged fiber connectors
Do store unused dust caps in a re-sealable bag to prevent dust accumulating
Do make sure all solvent residues are removed when using pre-saturated wipes
Do inspect bulkhead recepticles after cleaning, in some cases the attempted clean will make the condition worse
Do dispose of cleaning swabs, sticks and wipes responsibly
Don't assume the end-face is clean, always inspect
Don’t touch the end face of an optical fibre connector
Don’t touch the clean area of a swab, wipe or cleaning cloth
Don’t re-use optic cleaning swabs or dry wipes
Further Reading
End-face contamination control - FIA article
Cleaning Project results - FIA article - FIA article
Tags: connector, fibre, optic, cleaning, inspection, end-face Last update: Jul 29, 2013


Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

* Name:
* E-mail: (Not Published)
   Website: (Site url with http://)
* Comment: