Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Cleaning the grunge from around light switches
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Gwynm
Cleaning the grunge from around light switches

All of my light switches (the switches, not the plates) have have an accumulation of grunge around them. It's going to take some degreaser, like 409, a toothbrush, and toothpicks to dissolve and pick this stuff out.

I'm concerned about spraying a liquid into a hot electrical outlet. Is it sufficient to turn off the power to the switches while I'm working on them, and perhaps leave it off until I'm sure everything is dry again?

Anyone have a better solution - short of removing or replacing the switches? (I'm not an electrician, nor have I played one on tv )

Thanks!
Gwyn

havanagranite
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches

I would simply turn off the elec. and try using a vacum first. but I think I would be more concerned over why you were getting any "grunge" in a closed box.

djohns
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches

Do you have a Central Heating and Air system ? You might be pulling return air back through the walls .

Or , it could just be years of grunge from dirty hands ( kids ? ) .

kentvw
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches

Sure,

I can’t stand grungy receptacles and switches either and use the cleaner/tooth brush as needed.

I’d turn the circuit off to be safe, scrub away, let dry and turn the circuit back on.

bp21901
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches
kentvw wrote:

Sure,

I can’t stand grungy receptacles and switches either and use the cleaner/tooth brush as needed.

I’d turn the circuit off to be safe, scrub away, let dry and turn the circuit back on.

Doesn't your toothbrush taste funny after that???? :p

Gwynm
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches
havanagranite wrote:

I would simply turn off the elec. and try using a vacum first. but I think I would be more concerned over why you were getting any "grunge" in a closed box.

No, dusting and vacuuming won't work. This is gunk that's accumulated on and around the switch itself (the movable part). It's from years of dirty hands and ambient dust accumulating in a humid environment. It's not dust inside the box.

Gwyn

kentvw
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches
Gwynm wrote:

No, dusting and vacuuming won't work. This is gunk that's accumulated on and around the switch itself (the movable part). It's from years of dirty hands and ambient dust accumulating in a humid environment. It's not dust inside the box.

Gwyn

I knew what you meant, Gwyn.............. You know, after a while, all that Granite dust........... Well, it takes a toll on faculties. :D

havanagranite
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches
kentvw wrote:

I knew what you meant, Gwyn.............. You know, after a while, all that Granite dust........... Well, it takes a toll on faculties. :D

I used to clean it out with a little alcohol every once in a while. now I use 409 and a tooth brush.:D

Gwynm
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches

Thanks for the input, guys! A-scrubbing I will go!

Gwyn

kentvw
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches
havanagranite wrote:

I used to clean it out with a little alcohol every once in a while. now I use 409 and a tooth brush.:D

Spic-n-span werks good too. :D

heinselectric
Re: Cleaning the grunge from around light switches

If your devices are really that bad, it'd probably be just as easy to replace them. Generally, they are cheap unless you have Decora Rocker style. They are really easy to replace also, as long as your wiring is in good condition. Basically just remove device and replace wires to the matching terminals. If you have old devices and can't distinguish between terminal colors (mostly for 3-way switches), you may want to call an electrician or try cleaning. A new set of devices can really spruce up a room. I guess, to me, the thought of cleaning the little raised on or off word on a single pole switch with a toothpick seems like a headache waiting to happen.

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