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Are Alcohol Wipes Effective for Cleaning Electronics?

Are Alcohol Wipes Effective for Cleaning Electronics?

Electronic components and circuit boards can get dirty or contaminated from many different sources and it is important to clean them off properly.  There are different materials such as dirt, residues from flux and even fingerprints that need to be cleaned off to prevent corrosion or even impede performance.

The best way to clean a PCB (Printed Circuit board) or any electronic component depends on the type of residue and which cleaning method you use.

We like the following to manually remove contaminants from circuit boards:

Alcohol Wipes, Isopropyl Alcohol, Cleaning solvents or blends, and de-ionized water.

Why Use Isopropyl Alcohol?

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is a good alternative for electronic parts cleaning for non-water-based residues because it is inexpensive, widely available, and tends to evaporate very quickly. It is also much safer than more aggressive solvents which can attack soft plastics and remove markings.

What Is Isopropyl Alcohol?

Isopropyl alcohol is offered in many several grades based on purity. 70 % grade, also known as “rubbing alcohol” contains 30% water.  Electronic grade IPA (isopropyl alcohol) is 99+% pure IPA, and the preferred grade for cleaning electronic parts or surfaces.

When Should You Use Alcohol Wipes for Cleaning PCB’s?

Alcohol wipes are perfect for cleaning electronics as well as disinfecting hard surfaces.  Use alcohol wipes for final cleaning of all residues except water-soluble fluxes which must be removed with water.  Pre-saturated alcohol wipes are not only convenient but also utilize a tear-resistant, lint-free fabric wipe.

These Micro Care alcohol wet wipes come saturated in high-purity 99+% pure Isopropyl Alcohol.   


Why Use Isopropyl Alcohol for electronics?

With the exception of water-soluble flux residues, you can use IPA to remove no-clean or rosin fluxes, oils, greases, etc. from component bodies, cables, or PCB’s.

Is Isopropyl Alcohol safe to use?

Isopropyl alcohol, if handled properly, is considered safe. However, it is highly flammable and should be used in a well-ventilated area. Also, be sure to wear gloves and avoid contact with your skin or eyes.

Both Alcohol wipes and Isopropyl Alcohol are an effective and inexpensive way to clean PCBs or electronic components after your work has been completed.

If you want to learn more about how alcohol wipes can help to clean your electronic components or PCB's, please contact our technical sales team.  They would be happy to help.