DeoxIT® cracking plastics – Fact or Fiction?

Occasionally we receive feedback that our DeoxIT® caused damage/cracking on plastics or other substrates. When investigating thoroughly we have found that it is usually caused by one or more of the following:

CAIG Laboratories, since 1956, has manufactured the highest quality electronic chemicals for use worldwide as companies, including OEM’s, rely on DeoxIT® products in their manufacturing process and service departments.

DeoxIT® is formulated to improve the performance of all electronic and electrical connections. Parts and components are manufactured in many parts of the world, with many standards and degrees of quality. CAIG strives to produce products and applicators compatible with all materials and components.

Occasionally we receive feedback that our DeoxIT® caused damage/cracking on plastics or other substrates. When investigating thoroughly we have found that it is usually caused by one or more of the following:

A.   Misapplication of the product
B.   Vintage equipment with degraded components
C.   Poorly manufactured connectors or parts
D.   Compatibility issue with solvents and/or DeoxIT®


A. Misapplication:
The most common mistake is the misapplication of the product. For example; using one of our sprays in a sensitive area; i.e. cell phone connection. The sprays provide flushing action and force to propel the concentrate (D100L, G100L, S100L and F100L) into the connection. When you use the spray, you need to use common sense. As with the cell phone example, using the spray will get solvents and DeoxIT® into the entire phone, including the display.

Proper applicator: Use one of our 100% DeoxIT® applicators or spray onto a lint-free swab and dab the connector with the swab. Link (Cell phone instructions)

Another misapplication of our products is using on the wrong materials. DeoxIT® D-Series, DeoxIT® Gold G-Series and DeoxIT® Shield S-Series are formulated for “metal” surfaces.  DeoxIT® Fader F-Series is formulated for “conductive plastics”, i.e. conductive plastic faders and carbon-based potentiometers and controls.

B. Vintage Equipment:
Many of our products are used to restore old equipment or equipment that is subjected to extreme weathering or adverse conditions and may be in poor condition. Many of the components and connections are hard to replace and are in various degrees of degradation. Most of the time DeoxIT® products can restore the connections to working order without issues. Sometimes the materials or substrates are decayed to the point that if you apply any cleaner or lubricant, the connection material will flake off or break off the contact surface.  Then it is time to replace the part.

Proper product/applicator: When unsure how degraded the part/connection is, we recommend using the 100% solution of DeoxIT® (including the 100% spray, D100S-2). Using one of our applicators with a solvent may be too aggressive in removing the decaying materials. Our DeoxIT® 100% formulas are non-aggressive to metals and plastics.

C. Poorly Manufactured Parts
This is the most difficult to predict. With so many materials, parts and manufacturers worldwide we spend much of our time investigating and testing the company’s products before and after they are in service. With over 60 years of experience, most of the issues are due to quality control in manufacturing the materials and parts.

Using the wrong plastic or a semi-cured plastic on a connector or part. A cell phone manufacturer was using DeoxIT® on many on its interconnects and then one of interconnects failed (going to the display). The plastic cracked every time. After investigating the issue by CAIG and the company, it was found that applying anything to the connection (even plain alcohol), would crack the connection. The plastic was so porous that the plastic cracked when anything was applied. Re-design was required. DeoxIT® was applied to pins before the connector was assembled to eliminate the cracking until plastic was addressed.

D. Compatibility:
With our DeoxIT® Fantastic Four; DeoxIT® D-Series, DeoxIT® Gold G-Series, DeoxIT® Shield S-Series and DeoxIT® Fader F-Series, they are offered in 100% solutions, and standard 5% solutions.

When using the 100% formulations (including our 100% sprays) it is very rare that they will cause any adverse effects on plastics – except if similar to the example above. When using one of our sprays (5%) it is possible to have compatibility issues. We always recommend testing on sensitive parts or components before wide-scale use. Many years ago we used the Dupont® Freon TF solvents in the sprays to provide the flushing action. This product provided excellent compatibility for all materials. Unfortunately, we had to discontinue its use due to ozone depletion issues.

Currently, we offer two spray configurations;

Part Nos.: D5S-6 (D5S-6P), G5S-6, S5S-6, F5S-H6 utilizing flammable solvents (flushing action, slow evaporating). Compatible with just about all materials – to date we have not found any issues with compatibility.

Part Nos.: DN5S-6N, GN5S-6N, SN5S-6N, GX5S-6N utilize the non-flammable solvent/propellant (quick dry/non-drip and fast evaporating). The non-flammable sprays are a continuous evolution to work with the manufacturers to produce ozone safe solvents and propellants with the best possible materials compatibility. We are currently on the fourth generation of solvents/propellants (Freon, 141b, HFC-245fa and now the SOLSTICE® PF).

Known Issues:
In the 2000’s when we were using the 141b solvent, we noticed compatibility with some acrylics/plastics, especially ones under some stress when formed. For example, if you search the web “WBT 0645W Stackable Angled Banana Connector”, you will see an audio connector with an acrylic coating. When this connector was manufactured, it was coated (under stress) with an acrylic. When you applied the DN5S-6 (our non-flammable spray at the time), which used the 141b solvent, it would crack the plastic under stress.
Solution at the time: Use only the 100% DeoxIT®.
Solution now: Our new DN5S-6N uses the Honeywell SOLSTICE® PF, which will not crack the plastic.
Our new non-flammable sprays are not perfect, however, they are significantly better with the compatibility of most materials. Again, on sensitive applications/materials, please test for compatibility and/or use the 100% solutions.

Compatibility with Varnishes and semi-cured plastics:
DeoxIT® (100% liquids and sprays) is not compatible with varnishes and semi-cured plastics. Keep away from motor windings and other similar parts. The coating on the wire is meant to protect the wire from shorting with other wires. No cleaning products should be used on the windings, they will degrade the coating.

Solution: Just use a Duster spray: Click Here

The CAIG Team collaborates and works with companies and industry to solve connector related issues and improve the performance of equipment in manufacturing, maintenance and service.

CAIG Laboratories manufactures performance electronic chemicals that are used by those who demand the best!

“Our mission is to offer superior products that enable your equipment to outperform and outlast the competition while listening to our customers and providing world class customer service”