Contact Cleaner

Time to remove the oxidation and crud from my interconnects/speaker cables/terminals. Any favorite brands out there? Or can I same myself some bucks by buying generic without the added expense of pricey 'designer labels'?
I use Zep contact cleaner, made a HUGE improvement on my amp, I was getting a weird noise from the right channel and took it apart and cleaned the living hell out of it, never sounded better! I think my problem was a little corrosion/oxidation between a tube and its socket. I am not sure if Zep products are available on a retail level though :(

I use Kontak. Doesn't remove oxidation well, but oils (from manufacturing etc) and crud/dirt good...Always sounds better afterwards. Pretty big difference...
I use Kontak too - it works extremely well. If you want to buy something a little less expensive, the Audioquest contact cleaner is very good, as well.

Fatparrot, if Eastman Kodak still manufactures their film cleaner, the formula contains (among other things) 111 trichlorethylene. This is the business end of many designer cleaners.

The Kodak product is a few bucks for a four ounce bottle.

My best results were had by plucking about half the cotton off of a wood Q-Tip brand swab. This makes a great disposable cleaning tool which will enter the male and female RCA jacks as well as around speaker posts.

The only other cleaner I find interesting is Caig Deoxit and Caig Gold, both available in pre saturated pads and in a spray can. I am undecided about the performance change Pro Gold brings to connections, but the Deoxit cleans very well.
Agree with Albert. Deoxit is excellent if cleaning "crust" out of connections, motor windings, etc... Pro Gold is more of a "treatment" than a cleaner ( in my opinion ) and is designed to protect and plate the metals.

As to his comments about Trichlorothane 111, it is potent stuff and should be treated with respect. I know that it was on the EPA's "hit list" many years ago, so it may not be available any longer. As Albert mentions, it was the base agent in many "heavy duty" cleaners and that's how i became familiar with it.

Keep in mind that with anything that you use, elbow grease and attention to detail are the most important. Sean
Want some TCE? Drink groundwater!
Thanks for the info about TCE. Believe me, I've dealt with all kinds of hazardous organic & inorganic chemicals over the years. Psychicanimal, think I'll wait for a Carbon Tet. fizz!
One of the only good things to come as a result of the tobacco industry is pipe cleaners. These things are great for cleaning tube sockets, RCA jacks, etc. Don
I hope someone does not use them to clean their "contact" lenses.
OK, let's get serious: has anyone used shark liver oil? Be honest about your answer, for I have a rather decent amount of the real thing back at my parents' (almost half a liter).

The real thing is cold pressed with glass panes, dripping under direct sunlight--no flames. A friend of mine is a marine biologist and a commercial fisherman and several years ago nailed an 800 lb bull shark. I got some of that stuff for medicinal purposes--plus we had a big shark shish kebab barbecue!
The CAIG ProGold stuff works wonders. I use it on all cables and contacts.
I've used shark liver oil a lot. In fact it is it is one of the original contact enhancements and the treatment that I cannot give up in tests against Caig Gold.

For those who think Psychicanimal and I are having a laugh at your expense, the much touted "Tweak" conditioner and other similar clear coatings, including some for CD treatment are exactly that. Shark Liver Oil.
Geeze, not only do sharks NOT get cancer, they are well lubricated and don't corrode. I guess we CAN learn something new everyday : ) Sean
Know what else is shark liver oil? Preparation H. And BTW, I didn't get the oil for that particular use...

So Albert, do you think it's better than Pro Gold? I mean, that stuff gets pretty gunky when it dries...

The one I have is clear yellow. I trust the source because this biologist is one of my mentors and was raised in a small fishing village. He makes sure it's cold pressed and the oil won't get polysaturated (that's the proper term if I'm not mistaken).
polysaturation is the same as hydrogentating, i think. it's a process where you heat up a chemical, usually fat, and you inject hydrogen into the mix. the hydrogen then bonds with the fat cell to fill the valance shells. i think that is how it goes anyways. high school was many moons ago.

so CAIG doesn't remove oxidation very well. but does that thing improve the sound of your system better than any other stuff in the market? i just bought a bottle of isoprophyl alcohol to clean the contacts today. I am sure i spelled it wrong.
V: Isopropyl, used undiluted, may clean away the gold plating as well as the muck. Take care! Cheers.
Undilluted Isopropyl is used as an industrial solvent, so Gregm has a point.
is 91% too high?

they got the 70% also.

just water down the 91%?
In response to the questions about shark liver oil, supposedly the Japanese are the masters at making the version that works for audio. The tests I have conducted show no signs of mucking up or changing consistency over time. Eventually all audio connections oxidize and the Caig , shark liver oil, Cramalin or whatever must be removed, the connector cleaned and begin all over again.

As for performance, the Deoxit cleaner is great, but I still have not decided between the Caig gold and the shark liver oil as a preservative to slow down the oxidation process. They both have a sound compared to no preservative, and it seems to vary depending on the connection. The connection at a phono stage for instance is always better with shark oil, and speakers are always better with Caig gold. Every other connection seems to be a roll of the dice.
Well Albert, perhaps I could have some of my shark oil placed in a test tube and then centrifuged to get rid of suspended solids. Perhaps...
Here's another kicker. I live in the desert southwest where humidity is almost non-existant. Does this reduce the oxidation rate?
reminds me of the saying "nothing exceeds excess."
Fatparrot, I think that oxygen in the air does most of the damage although excess moisture certainly does not help.

What all of these products do is remove the layer of oxidized material, ( which is no longer the same metal chemically ), so that conductivity is at it's best again. Probably the best option is to clean and leave nothing behind at all. Problem is, mother nature IMMEDIATELY begins her work on converting the metals to oxides again.

There needs to be a balance between the (negative?) effect of the preventative coating and what it does to the sound, compared to the short lived improvement of simply cleaning the connection and allowing it to degrade.
I found an excellent contact cleaner today while shopping for some auto care stuff at Kragen autoparts.

The product is called QD Electronic Cleaner manufactured by CRC. Yup, I never heard of it before either. I just picked up a $5 can out of curiosity.

After rubbing away the oxidation on my electrical contacts on my components and cables with 90% prophopyl alcohol, I gave every component a deep polish with the QD, and sprayed intensively in female inputs where it is impossible to clean. This stuff dries almost instantly, so wiping is not neccessary. Just let the excess drip out.

Now, my system sounds like it just had TWO cable upgrades. The breakdown on the improvements in sound is probably 70% QD and 30% prophopyl alcohol. I've used prophopyl alcohol before, and my system never reached this level of clarity before.

Like someone from these forums taught me, "Never pass up an audition."!
Caig Pro-Gold & Deoxit. You can now buy the big can direct from Radioshack for cheaper than most.

After briefly living in Tucson AZ for a year, yes less oxidiation with less humidity.