Many of us spend a lot of time cleaning our guns and knives but how many of us actually devote time to clean our flashlights? A good flashlight can last a long time if you remove grime from it on a regular basis, check the parts, and use quality batteries.
Most failures of flashlights are due to dead or reversed batteries however cleaning a light is a sensible thing to do. Think about how many times you lubricate your weapon but have you ever done the same with the threads on your flashlight? If dirt and grease build up along the threads over time it may be difficult to separate the light’s body from its head. Battery corrision can complicate matters as well.
Consider how light passes through the lens. Doesn’t it make sense to keep your lens clean and scratch free? Like any other tool you use cleaning will improve parts performance and lessen the chance of the item failing at a critical moment.
A well maintained flashlight can perform just as well as when it was originally purchased regardless of it being stored for a period of time. A flashlight in transit gets scratched and dinged. Carry a light in holsters allows dead skin and sweat to accumulate into black grime inside your flashlight. Cleaning reduces the probability the flashlight will have to be replaced or repaired.
Cleaning the exterior is simple enough to do. Remove any dirt by using a lint free fabric or pad and a silicone based cleaner or alcohol. A cloth, paper towel, or similar absorbent material will do in a pinch if you don’t have swabs. Read the instructions that came with your flashlight; usually there are recommendations on what cleaners to use on the flashlight and the lense.
Cotton swabs and pads dipped in alcohol are usually sufficent for cleaning a flashlight however some dirty lights may need more attention. Every six months is sufficient enough time between cleanings. Clean the outside by wiping the entire tube down with the pad. A file or a gentle sandpaper can remove burrs caused by coins from your pockets scratching the flashlights exterior or from dropping the light onto concrete.
Once you have successfully cleaned the outside of the flashlight you must take it apart. Remove the batteries and place them to the side. Cotton swabs are useful for cleaning the interior of the flashlight. Cleaning all of the parts will ensure positive electrical contact between your tailcap, head, and body. The threads of the flashlight can be cleaned with a little bit of alcohol or silcone. As you clean the threads and the interior of the battery well you may notice black grease coming off the flashlight. Completely wipe away the grime. If there is corrison on the contacts I recommend using DeoxIT. This product does many things:
- Improves part performance
- Maintains part specifications and integrity
- Protects metal surfaces in transit
- Protects surfaces in storage before assembly
- Rejuvenates part/equipment back to original specifications
- Bring back reliability and dependability to equipment
- Provides an extra step insuring that metal connections are cleaned and protected.
- Long-lasting and safe to use
Flashlights are only useful if it is working. Sounds too obvious but that’s the truth. Regularly check your flashlight and change the batteries in order to prevent corrision.