I have a USB flash drive, and the male USB connector on it has gotten rather disgustingly sticky (lent it to colleague with small child, he let the child play with it (never again))

Can anyone advise on how to give it a throrough clean?

I've given it a wipe using dry cloth and gotten the worst off, but it is still tacky to the touch.

  • 2
    Find (at, eg, an office supply place) something like "Cyber Clean". It's a gooey blob that you can mold around a piece, stick into the crevices (within reason), etc. But a plain old damp cloth should also work in this case. A damp cloth won't hurt the flash drive. In fact, you can get it quite wet so long as you don't submerge it and you let it dry thoroughly before using. Feb 18 '12 at 11:56
  • Thanks @DanH I was worried about about it would react to a damp cloth, I'll give it a go.
    – Kevin D
    Feb 18 '12 at 11:57
  • 3
    There is a reason some people borrow stuff, they don't have one of their own because they Cannot take care of anything they own and it gets destroyed or lost, so they borrow yours!
    – Moab
    Feb 18 '12 at 22:14

Isopropyl alcohol (aka: Rubbing alcohol). You may be able to buy some at a local pharmacy/chemist, but I usually have to get mine online. It's great for cleaning off cooked-on thermal paste - it shouldn't have an issue with some sticky finger stuff.

  • Yep, and you can use a wipe of alcohol after cleaning with a damp rag, to promote rapid drying. Feb 18 '12 at 12:14
  • Anything like that should do - I find I get good results with cotton pads and swabs, which you should also find in the pharmacy/chemist.
    – Josh
    Feb 18 '12 at 13:12
  • It is rather old thread, but I want to add that if you over do the cleaning make sure to dry up the ports before using, otherwise it might break the connector pin. I do get my connector pin broken due to excessive use of it. It is still some form of liquid you see. Jan 2 '15 at 8:22
  • Yup, this stuff is very good at cleaning an awful lot of stuff. Beware that some inks are alcohol soluble, though--I've seen it take the writing right off things before. Sep 5 '15 at 3:25

Use some compressed air? Or some Cyber Clean?

  • Compressed air, wouldn't work as it is/was really sticky stuff. Thanks for the answer though, with a second mentionof Cyber Clean I may need to check it out for future cleaning needs.
    – Kevin D
    Feb 18 '12 at 12:08

Try using alcohol swabs. I have found them useful for cleaning keyboards, sd memory cards, data sticks, and they work great on cleaning laptop screens as well. After cleaning the laptop screen, buff the the screen with something non-abrasive (a kleenex or a cloth diaper).

  • 1
    You'll get more clean for your buck with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and a roll of paper towels. Swabs are for convenience. Sep 5 '15 at 3:27

DeoxIT is designed for this:

DeoxIT fast-acting deoxidizing solution that cleans, preserves, lubricates, and improves conductivity on metal connectors and contacts in 2 forms. ProGold preservative and lubricant for plated metal electrical connections in 2 forms.


You need:

  • cotton swabs (better the double headed plastic ones)
  • alcohol (better isopropyl)
  • pressure plier (like those husky locking pliers or similar)

Flatten the cotton head using the plier enough to be able to fit tightly into the USB slot. Don't flatten too much - you want some resistance to guarantee a nice friction. Dip the cotton into alcohol, insert and give it a good rub - until the the metal contacts start to shine again. Avoid alcohol sliding into the electronics keeping them upside. Flatten another cotton head similarly and dry everything. Wait at least 10 minutes for the residual alcohol to evaporate.

Enjoy five more years out of your gadget!

ps.: if the metal contact was exposed, an eraser (or rubber) would do a better job, especially that blueish one used to erase ink from pens.

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