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What to Use to Clean Circuit Board?

The question is what to use to clean circuit board when there is a grime on it? In the course of design or fabricating the circuit board, some errors can occur which may deface your PCB. How do you clean it and what to use to clean circuit board?

In this article, we shall discuss more elaborately on what you can use to clean your circuit board. Also, you shall read interesting ways to clean it. At the end, you can then be bold to clean your circuit board. Let us dive in.

What Can I Use to Clean Circuit Board?

Sometimes, people use anything they see to clean the circuit board. This is not right because it is not a professional thing to do. Any error can occur during assembly of the PCB. During set up, ensure you have what it takes to clean up the mess.

Cleaning agents are common. However, you don’t just use any type you see. Also, you need to know that this cleaning agent is for contaminants. Plus, you do not use this cleaning agent for any form of physical breakage. So, you need to understand that not all cleaning requires the cleaning agent. Therefore, you need to be extremely careful when cleaning up your board. It is a delicate process. Wherefore, if care isn’t taken, you can lose the connections during cleaning.

Earlier, we mentioned that the contaminants determine what you use to clean your circuit board. What to use to clean circuit board depends on the kind of infection on the board. Let us discuss the various types of contaminants and what best to clean them.

What are the Various Things to Clean The Circuit Board?

When it is a grime, you use a different cleaning agent. This way, you do not damage the circuit board the most. Note that varying contaminants stack up on the PCB. However, this is as a result of different exposure of the circuit board.

So, one underlying factor to always consider when cleaning up the circuit board is what kind of contaminants are piled up on the board.

Dry Contaminants

The first type of contaminants we are considering is the dry contaminants. So, this kind of contaminant includes any dirt and dust.

This is a very common type of contaminant that accumulates round the circuit board. You see the way the dirt mites accumulate in such an annoying manner. By the way, it can help your soldering. So, you need to clean it up regularly.

A small brush will be useful at this point. However, do not use very hard types but delicate and soft ones. A horsehair brush is good for this. When you gently use this brush on your circuit board, nothing bad will happen to its components. The horsehair brush can get under the components. Although, there are limits to where it gets to.

Accordingly, when using compressed air, please do that with caution. Plus, it can affect the vital connections on the board. You can use some vacuum cleaners too. However, this cannot reach every part like the horsehair brush.

Wet Contaminants

Another type of contaminant is the wet contaminants. This requires a lot of patience to clean. The wet contaminants include soda, flux, grime, and waxy oil. They look so bad on the circuit board. By the way, wet contaminants can easily damage your circuit board more than dry contaminants.

You cannot easily remove a grime using only your horsehair brush. If you do not take precautions, the wet contaminants build up faster than you can imagine. In the end, it disrupts the performance of the circuit board.

To effectively clean any wet contaminants, use the isopropyl alcohol which is a cleaning solvent. Also, use a Q-tip with either a clean cloth, preferably cotton material or small horsehair brush. However, when you clean with the isopropyl alcohol, please do so in a surrounding where there is ventilation.

Also, one can use demineralized water for cleaning grime. However, remove every moisture on the board. Ensure you dry out the board. Also, chemicals solvent for cleaning electronics is not a bad option for the board. Not only is IPA a cleaning agent, you can use some acetone.

Please note that using harsh chemicals on your circuit board can affect the different components like the humidity sensor. Preferably, one can test a cleaning solvent on an unused component to know if it is too strong to use.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

Note that this cleaner can lead to cavitation as a result of the high frequency it uses. This cleaner has some harsh bubbles in it which may have adverse effects on the components of the circuit board. Transducers produce these bubbles and the bubbles can deal with contaminants on some surfaces.

When you operate the ultrasonic cleaner, it creates sound waves whose frequencies could be so high. But one thing with this cleaner is that it may affect the connection of the board. Therefore, it results in damaging some component layers of the circuit board. Sometimes, it affects the bond wires.

What Determines How To Clean The Circuit Board

Please, note that circuit boards are delicate. As a result of this, you should clean it with utmost care. What specifically determines how you clean your board is how delicate the board is. Although, not all boards are the same. Also, what you need to clean off from the board determines how you clean it. To avoid the regular cleaning of the board, you need to pay attention to the manufacturing process of the board. Do not allow the build up of dirt or dust.


We hope that now you have a clearer understanding of what to use to clean circuit board. Be careful of the kind of solvent you use. Harsh solvents are bad for the components. Also, be careful of the compressed air you use. It is also paramount you know what exactly you are cleaning before using any solvent on your board.

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