Is Sticklers™ Cleaning Fluid Better than IPA?

John Wooden used to ask his players at UCLA, “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when ARE you going to have the time to do it right?” It makes enormous sense, technically and economically, to do a job right the first time. That particularly applies to cleaning fiber optic end-faces.

At Sticklers, our recommendation to techs and installers is pick the right cleaning materials. Get products that are engineered for cleaning optical connectors, not re-purposed from some other industry. Failure to heed this advice will cost a great deal in call backs, network down times and frustrated customers.

Are cleaning supplies REALLY that expensive? Labor cost accounts for 60% to 80% of a fiber deployment expenses. The cost to roll a truck and crew back to a worksite to repair a network failure is typically around $250 to $400 per incident. Unfortunately, after spending huge sums on test equipment and training, many companies suddenly become overly-frugal and choose the cheapest options instead of the most effective options when selecting the connector cleaning consumables to be used on the work site. Obviously, this is a false economy.

The heart of the issue is the cost-per-cleaning, not be the purchase price. The cost comparison should be based on the total cost of getting a clean end-face.

Suppose a bottle of the Sticklers cleaning fluid costs US$15, With 650++ cleanings per bottle, the cost-per-cleaning is 2.3¢ per cleaning. That's pretty affordable, especially since it eliminates the static charges that cause so many networks to fail. So here's the math: spend 2 cents on a proper cleaning fluid, or spend $200 on a repair visit. Hmmmm. Let me think about this...

Now, you could buy cheap IPA alcohol instead, but it's going to be dirty, diluted with water, and probably be spilled or thrown away before the bottle is emptied.

Another great example of quality cleaning can be found with the refillable CleanClicker tools. These are optimized for data centers and other high fiber-count locations. Let’s assume you need to clean 2,200 end-faces in a data center. You will need one Sticklers CleanClicker and two refills costing a total of about $211. But if you use the old-style, blue push-to-clean tools you will need five tools; and if you use the really cheap ones from China you’ll need seven tools. Using prices off the internet, that’s about $285 for the blue tools and $450 for the cheap tools from China. 'Cheaper to buy' does not always mean 'cheaper to use.'

Using the Cleaning Fluid to dampen a wipe
Using the Cleaning Fluid to dampen a wipe

The true cost to clean fiber end-faces; tools that are cheap to buy often are expensive to use

There’s another twist here, too: all of the Sticklers products are made with the highest quality.You can get cheaper  fiber cleaning tools, but you can't get better cleaning tools. How does quality save you money? Many cheaper cleaning tools will break before the cleaning ribbon is finished; that’s just wasteful. The Sticklers cleaning fluid is super-pure, and delivers more than 650 cleanings in each little bottle. You’ll never get that from IPA alcohol. The Sticklers CleanWipes and the Sticklers CleanStixx have similar cost savings and performance improvements.

A much better choice is to use the Sticklers family of products on your fiber. These have been engineered specifically for fiber cleaning. They will get your connectors perfectly clean on the first try. That’s EFFICIENT and COST-EFFECTIVE.