PCB Cleaner-How To Clean Your PCB(Focus)

by Warren C. Electronics Engineer


There had been many speculations about the safe use of PCB’s especially since the injunction of refrigerants used in PCB’s such as HCFCs along with CFC’s. This is the reason why cleaning PCB’s is very much encouraged throughout the years especially over high-end areas. These kinds of boards whether they are assembled or mounted PCBs should be clean of any residues and debris that could endanger the environment as well as the user. If not maintained properly, there will be high risks of PCB Cleaner system malfunction for the circuit and even risks of damage to components.


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2.Getting rid of contaminants

3.Specifications set up

4.PCB Cleaner agents

5.What we think


In this regard, constant PCB cleaning is required in order to maintain functionality of the PCB and to ensure efficient operation. Among the processes involved in PCB cleaning includes:



An important process involved in PCB cleaning is the miniaturization. This process simply means the reduction of the solder pads along with the quantity of flux residues. Back in the days, this process was not very much achievable because of the limited resources, tools, and equipment to pursue the downsizing of materials and components. However, through constant advancements in our technology, spaces between PCBs have been reduced without having to cause negative impacts toward the efficiency and functionality of the system. With miniaturization, maintenance becomes easier and quicker.


2.Getting rid of contaminants

Contaminants are a common problem in PCBs which bring about deterioration and damage to some of its components. These contaminants mainly involve organic and synthetic contaminants which involve acids, rosins, ions, finger prints, solder balls, and even some particulates of PCB. Compared to the regular alloys used in soldering, lead-free alloys require a higher temperature in operation to avoid flux evolutions in the system.


3.Specifications set up

PCB Cleaner also requires a good set up of the system out of its given design. In this regard, the functionality as well as the efficiency of the PCB design should be reviewed and verified. A common cause for damage or fail of a PCB is its wrong set up. And unfortunately, it can also be because of its design. To ensure that PCB runs well without issues, the design, as well as its layout, should be reviewed and the specifications should be carefully assessed by a professional prior to manufacturing or assembly.


4.PCB Cleaner agents


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♦ Detergent

Although the actual cleaning process simply requires brushing off the dirt, dust or debris out of the PCB cleaner, it is also important to consider the quality of materials that are used. Among the most common cleaning tools for PCBs is the detergent. Whenever using detergents to clean PCBs, it is important to consider the concentration since PCBs are sensitive to fluxes and agitation can cause components to cease functioning.


♦ Petroleum distillates

Petroleum distillates can also be used in cleaning PCBs. Some of the common Petroleum distillates that are used today for cleaning PCBs include ketones and alcohol. The only downside of using these products is that they can be prone to burning and can damage sensitive components of a PCB.


♦ Formulated hydrocarbons

The use of PCB cleaner formulated hydrocarbons can also be used to clean any PCB of dirt, dust or any unwanted debris. This formulation is carefully developed by experts to ensure that residues within the residue are cleared without causing disturbance or damage to the sensitive parts of a PCB.


♦ Brominated solvents

Brominated solvents are also used in PCB cleaning into a phase of vapor degreaser. But it has some limitations in non-solvency and compatibility matters. This is why it has some restrictions in Europe.


♦ Modified alcohols or glycols

Modified alcohols or glycols are another types of PCB cleaning agent. Without the help of a formulation, it fails to solubilize all the contaminants. Although it is good in solvency power but I have some drawbacks due to rinsing with DI water or tap.


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♦ Fluorinated solvents

Lastly, we can talk about fluorinated solvents which show very weak solvency power when used alone. But, its performance is excellent when it is used in combination with formulated hydrocarbon. The combination can complete the toughest specifications. But, these type of solvents always needs to use in the updated solvent vapor degreaser.


5.What we think

Basically, there are still a lot of other parameters involved in cleaning a PCB which are usually dependent upon the design, sensitivity factor, size, and other specifications of a PCB. What's important to bear in mind is to only work with a company that is well-experienced in cleaning PCBs and that they come with the right tools and equipment to pursue this venture. Among the best and most reliable PCB cleaners, we have today is WellPCB( where in they are backed by years of experience with regard to handling any PCB-related issues and tasks.

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About Warren C. Innovator   Electronics Engineer

15 connections, 0 recommendations, 52 honor points.
Joined APSense since, October 23rd, 2017, From Shijiazhuang, China.

Created on Apr 11th 2018 05:19. Viewed 144 times.


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