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Removing oxidation (from USB-Plugs, battery terminals, and SMD)

First of all, don't be angry, I already asked this question in German.

I already own Kontakt Spray and Elektronik Reiniger. Both products claim to remove corrosion, displace water and protect against further corrosion.

However, I have some use cases where they aren't enough/don't work.

For example:

  • USB plugs on cables.
    • My naughty sweaty paws leave on USB plugs, even if I'm careful*, a layer of salt and water on the plugs. Over time, this leads to visible corrosion (metal becomes dull) and a measurable increase in resistance. I'm pretty sure the cableS ARE otherwise OK/have NO BROKEN WIRES.
    • So please, DO NOT suggest swapping them!
    • I would like to remove this corrosion (if the cable still does not provide any [charging] performance afterwards [=have other defects], I can still throw it away/tinker with it)
  • Batteryterminals in battery compartments.
    • From the remains of leaking batteries, to rust from water or moisture ingress, corrosion can build up, especially on outdoor devices. And sometimes the contacts of those terminals are special and cannot be replaced.
    • So I want to remove the corrosion.
  • SMD's
    • I don't like to admit it, but I bought a few SMD components "as stock(/to keep in stock)". The problem is that these have been lying around for years now, and tombstoning when soldered. Aside that oxidation of these contacts can cause other problems.
    • Instead of "throw away, buy new" I would like to renew these contact surfaces before soldering.

iFixit US sells DeoxIT products (in Germany I've seen these products on Amazon) which I therefore think may solve some or all of my problems above.

But they have several products, for different use cases, and I can't figure out which product for which case.

Others swear by vinegar or citric acid to remove corrosion from batteryterminals.

What do you recommend? And for which cases?

*= it is borderline to an medical issue, but doctors always try to persuade not to treat it and live with it, instead of possibly causing other issues with said treatment. When I touch devices I leave sweaty prints and a visible layer of moisture, even if I wear cotton gloves. On the bright side: superglue doesn't stick on me.

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@morebrokenafter, So, unfortunately there isn’t one product that covers all these cases, but a few of them.

DeoxIT D5 is what I use to remove oxidation along with a coarse piece of paper.

For corroded battery terminals, leakage, water, etc. I mostly use citric acid if I have it on hand, or vinegar which I always have on hand. Never had a problem yet, but it does require a little elbow grease.

All other cases I use CRC electronic cleaner, and I swear by that stuff. I’ve used it for a long time on everything from vintage audio to more modern stuff. Usually on the pots and hard to get to contact plates, because the nozzle and extender gets to the craziest places.

I never do anything to USB contacts as I have never had it cause an issue. Audio connectors though, there I use them ALL the time. I can’t tell you how many “issues” I’ve “fixed” with simple oxidation removal.

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I'll take D5 from your advice, since the Electronic Cleaner, or any product of the CRC brand is available in Germany


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Just to add to the amazing answer from @geirandersen

If you want to remove oxidation from SMD components cleaning with isopropyl alcohol and reflowing the solder joints with a little solder and flux makes the world of difference

Here’s a example of what to expect:-)

Before isopropyl alcohol,Flux and solder

Block Image

After isopropyl alcohol,Flux and solder

Block Image

Hopefully this helps

Any questions please ask


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The SMD ones I want to solder are sitting in a reel and about to be freshly soldered, but are already so old that they are tombstoneing if I try. Have read that that usually is because the contact surfaces oxidized.



Yeah after a while the gas the put in the reels will get out

Should be able to get away with it if you use plenty of flux

Might be a bit of a challenge to solder with them though


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not telling sarà eternamente grato.
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