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Haha guys, What is the best thing to use for cleaning volume and tone pots?
I have normally used isopropyl alcohol in the past, but was wondering if there is something better.
 

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I use Deoxit. It breathed life into my old 24 channel Soundtracs mixer. I hadn't used the mixer, for years, it was sitting in my basement. When I did, quite a few channels wouldn't pass signal. It took awhile to get to all the pots and faders. The Deoxit, cleared it all up and the mixer works like a champ.
 

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Just about any contact cleaner would do the job. Sometimes just rotating them back and forth through their range a few dozen times will do it too.
 

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I have used DeoxIT (D5 cleaner and FaderLube) for several years. It is expensive, but worth the investment imo.
 

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I have an expensive, boutique amp. The builder told me that a tiny squirt of WD40 is just as good as anything else.
 

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It is easy to gently lift the tabs of the back covers of pots and remove the back to expose the inside and resistive strip. A Q-tip can be used to wipe off any accumulated grime. Deoxit is a great product, but the spraying can get messy, especially if you aren't used to how much comes out. Personally, I prefer to keep it neat. A small shpritz of Deoxit on a clean Q-tip to wipe on the resistive strip as a protective measure isn't a bad idea, though. And of course, you put the back cover back on.

On another thread here, I've touted the virtues of a Canadian-made product called Stabilant 22. Many professional service benches use DeOxit and Stabilant as the one-two punch. Clean with DeOxit, and restore/enhance with Stabilant.
 

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I have an expensive, boutique amp. The builder told me that a tiny squirt of WD40 is just as good as anything else.
Please do not take that advice. WD40 is NOT suitable for use in electronics (especially pots and faders) and will do far more harm than good.
 

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Please do not take that advice. WD40 is NOT suitable for use in electronics (especially pots and faders) and will do far more harm than good.
Why? I am not doubting you. Just wanna know. The builder and I were talking about jacks on an old amp, not pots, but I definitely heard that he was poo-pooing expensive products.

Having worked in a heavy truck shop, I have seen gallons of WD40 sprayed on sophisticated electronics, then used under abusive conditions...
 

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If the goal is to make pot shafts rotate a little more easily, WD40 is fine. But keep in mind it is intended to provide a lubricating surface not an electroconductive one. So you're basically spraying a coating of insulation on your pots.

I don't think that is the goal you're pursuing here.

That's one of the reasons why I suggested simply lifting the back cover off, wiping the resistive strip down, and replacing the back cover. No unknown substances - no problems.
 

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WD40 improves electrical contact. Not an insulator, hammer, far as I know. Not trying to be contentious, its just that when I hear something from a guy who buildsfabulous amps, I tend to believe. On the other hand I am not going to name him-- in case I am wrong (again. LOL).

I have used WD40 ever since. Always solved the problem. Never done harm. I dunno...
 

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I wouldn't use WD40 either. It leaves a deposit that will just accumulates more grime. The Nexxtech product mentioned earlier is very volatile, so it doesn't stay on as a sticky surface.

About opening the back of a pot every time you need to clean it, is the best way to eventually break those cheap white metal tabs and ruin the pot in doing so. No need to, since Nexxtech will penetrate to the contact surfaces, through tiny openings in the pot construction, and flush out dirt. I've always done it that way, with some liquid being sprayed around the pot area. It dries almost immediately, leaving nothing behind. I use it for the toggle too, maybe once a year. I never saw the need to replace the "cheap" Epiphone toggle switch in doing so.

At $9.99 a can on Amazon, it's a no brainer.
 

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WD40 is a conductor in liquid form, but becomes resistive as it dries and can cause a lot more problems than it solves. It is also flammable and can do all kinds of nasty things to glass tubes when hot. The relief it offers is mostly because of its flushing action from the aerosol pressure and the short term lubrication from the silicone part of the cocktail.

The best solution is the two part system of flush and clean with DeoxIT and the protection and lubrication of the Fader Lube.
 

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Just a footnote to the general consensus here re any contact cleaner. Yes, this is true, we can argue til the cows come home about which specific contact cleaner is best (I have used some generics and Deoxit; Deoxit is better than the other cleaners I have used) but that's not my concern here.

The above ONLY applies to carbon track pots. Granted, the vast majority (99%) of guitars use carbon track pots, but some (more and more every model year) have switched to conductive plastic (like the pots/faders in most high end mixing consoles) ... and I guess we all have other gear with pots in it that might need cleaning (e.g. my 70s Tapco 4400 reverb has CP slide pots on it). You can usually tell because they look very different. Some CP pots are sealed so you cannot clean them and don't need to, but some aren't. You cannot use just a contact cleaner; they require conductive lube to operate properly and contact cleaner will strip it. Instead use a CP safe product such as the Fader series by Craig (makers of Deoxit).

Carbon track pots do not require FaderLube (and Craig does make 2 in 1 products that both clean and lubricate), though it may improve the feel of the pots after cleaning (I do not recommend that for the same reason people above are skeptical about using WD40 - dirt sticks to the lube requiring more frequent cleaning). CP pots (and sliders) require it to function properly.
 

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Why? I am not doubting you. Just wanna know.
I was coming back in to answer this, but it looks like some folks already did. Specifically in relation to pots/switches/faders/etc: WD40 leaves residue behind (intentionally). Residue that dust and other particulates love to stick to. Yes, spraying it in will clean up the contacts in the short term, but it will only cause more problems down the road. Spraying dirty parts with WD40 will leave you with a clean part now, but a dirtier part down the road.

Proper contact cleaners do everything WD40 does well and none of the things WD40 does poorly (like leaving lots of residue behind).

There are other reasons, but that is the main one.
 
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