Cleaning and Maintenance of Connections.....

Every year or two years, I grab my cleaning kit consisting of Caig Deoxit and remove all my cables and clean my connectors, power cords, etc. It seems to make a noticeable difference in the sound quality. After cleaning, the sound tends to be rather clinical and abrasive...and then, a few days later, the system settles, and sounds amazing.

One thing I've never cleaned is the receptacles. Does anyone clean these? If so, how do you go about doing it? Turn off the breaker to the receptacle and then drop deoxit on a power cord and plug it in??? The idea of not wiping off the excess deoxit is what I don't like....Any thoughts?

I use the Deoxit every six months, and it makes a huge difference, as you say, though I have never experienced the sound being abrasive afterwards. I have never tried cleaning the actual outlet, though, in fact I have never gone so far as to clean the power cords, either, just the connections. I would also be curious to know if any others clean the actual power outlet.
Learsfool, I find that any time I disturb the cables with my cleaning, the sound always becomes a bit brighter (perhaps abrasive was too strong a word) and less dimensional. Once the cables settle (typically a few days), the sound improves.

Agree cleaning makes a big difference on RCA and speaker connectors and if you turn off the circuit breaker at the panel, you can spray Caig Pro Gold into your AC socket.

You might wait five minutes before turning it back on or you can speed the process and improve debris removal with one of those cans of compressed air sold at computer stores.

I love Caig DeOxit and Pro Gold, but I think connections sound better if you remove DeOxit completely with alcohol before applying Pro Gold.

That's also why I mentioned Pro Gold (only) and not DeOxit for AC outlets. Too difficult to remove the DeOxit in that closed space.
Albertporter, I didn't even know they sold the Caig Pro Gold in a spray can! I'll have to order a can here from Parts Connection. Question, how often do you clean your connections...and what do you do for cleaning for your xlr cables?
Calgarian, Yes, Pro Gold is in spray can, I use it for speaker, XLR, and RCA. I even apply a bit on cartridge pins with a toothpick and wipe off excess with a Q Tip.

I clean about once a year or anytime I'm working on the system, such as testing something or swapping tubes.

Oh, that reminds me, I use Pro Gold on tube pins too.
In addition to DeOxit & Pro Gold, Flitz metal polish works great for power cords, copper spade lugs & binding posts.

Agreed, I use Flitz metal polish and also their lesser known product, Polier.

I've polished out power cord prongs with Flitz and then cleaned with Caig. For unplated speaker posts such as Cardas manufacturers, there's a copper cleaning gel containing Hydrofluoric Acid that works miracles. If the post is unmounted you can drop in the solution for 15 seconds, remove and wash with water. It literally looks flawless and brilliant.

If it's mounted on speaker or amp, apply the gel with Q-Tip and then wrap paper towel around the post and spray with water. I bought one of those spray bottles at Home Depot for the job, usually used to mist house plants.
I wouldn't use any cleaner/chemicals in an outlet. These are self cleaning. Maybe unplug and plug your component once a month, just a rough guess. It depends on your climate, air leakage through the outlets etc. No cleaner is safer because you don't know if any residue will be left, or contaminant build up you may stir up that is off on the insulator part of the outlet itself. Outlet connections are self cleaning. After unplugging and replugging something back in, look at the plug and you should see a shinny line on the plugs prongs. That is the contact area, and it wiped itself down to the bare clean metal, with no contamination on the connection area. Using any cleaning chemical could leave or stir up something that can turn into a problem. I remember reading an article in Stereophile were he used a Caig cleaner on all of his IC's, and it sounded bad after ward. He had to cleaner the Caig off if memory is correct. I do use Caig myself, but mainly on switch contacts in gear itself. That is a hit or miss fix.Using a cleaner is not a sure thing.
there's a copper cleaning gel containing Hydrofluoric Acid that works miracles.
Hmmm. Its been a long damn time since HS chemistry, but IIRC, hydroflouric acid is extremely corrosive (eats thru glass) and dangerous to handle. I know that you know what you are doing, Albert, but for non chemically savvy 'phile, here is what Wikipedia says:
Water solutions (hydrofluoric acid) are a contact-poison with the potential for deep, initially painless burns, with later tissue death. By interfering with body calcium metabolism, the concentrated acid may also cause systemic toxicity and eventual cardiac arrest and fatality, after contact with as little as 160 cm2 (24.8 square inches) of skin.
. That's about 5" x 5".
Hmmm. Its been a long damn time since HS chemistry, but IIRC, hydroflouric acid is extremely corrosive (eats thru glass) and dangerous to handle. I know that you know what you are doing, Albert, but for non chemically savvy 'phile, here is what Wikipedia says:

I bought the cleaner from the well known tweak shop, Mike Percy Audio, several years ago.

I don't know the concentration level of Hydrofluoric Acid in this specific formula but I'm sure it must be at a low level since it qualified safe shipping via US Mail which have very strict standards.

As with all things, it's concentration that matters.
As with all things, it's concentration that matters.e
Agreed. With HFl, I would CONCENTRATE real hard on making sure I didn't get any on myself or the metalwork on my gear.

HIFI was suggesting no cleaners of any kind in AC outlets.

Caig Pro Gold is safe for this if someone is wanting to clean an outlet. If it's a concern, avoid it. It's only a suggestion in direct response to the topic at hand.

As for the copper cleaner I agree Hydrofluoric Acid is dangerous, but many products contain it such as rug cleaner (Whink), spray oven cleaner and wheel brightener for automobile mag wheels.

An episode of "Modern Marvels" talked about making soda cans. One of the key steps was a quick dip of the can in Hydrofluoric Acid.

Also, this from the EPA assessment in 1991, a report on safety in the aluminum soda can market:
Present Practice
The reagent used to treat the
surface of the cans contains 2%
to 4% ammonium fluozirconate

Proposed Action
Substitute a nonhazardous reagent that
contains nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid for the hazardous reagent currently used.

If this is acceptable around the food business then my suggestion that careful handling and the concentration levels are the deciding issue. I've used the product for twenty years and I've had no problems. My guess is concentration levels are very low. I have no doubt pure Hydrofluoric Acid is everything you stated.
Albert- Not to worry. No big deal. I am sure you are correct; it just raised my eyebrows cause I remembered an old medical show on TV where somebody spilled a bottle of HFl, it ate thru the floor and some poor bastard got a bunch of it on his arm. It's kinda like radiation poisoning, no immediate pain. By the time he found out what it was he was doomed. There is no antidote and the changes to your body's calcium metabolism are irreversible. They were able to give him morphine to control the pain when it hit, but they had to tell him that he was gonna die w/in 24 hrs. It freaked me out then and it still does.

BTW, just because something is safe to use in an industrial setting (even in the food industry) does not mean that you necessarily want to be getting it on your skin. I know that as a photographer you know how to use chemicals safely but not everyone does. As for me, the safety nanny will now keep her mouth shut ;~)
I agree with Hifihvn, There is no need to use chemicals on the AC plug. If you want it to look nice polish it with clean steel wool. I also agree with his comments regarding Caig products. Caig products all leave a film which thickens over time. I prefer a good electrical contact cleaner that leaves no film for speaker cable and IC connections. You can find these cleaners at Radio Shack or any good electronic supply outlet.