If your aviation headset used to work fine and all of a sudden you’re getting a scratchy, crackling sound when it is plugged in, or the transmission and reception isn’t as good as it used to when in use, do not worry. This is usually a simple, quick fix.
While you might find that twisting the plug in the jack temporarily fixes the issue, if you clean the plug or use a mild abrasive everything will soon be okay again. You see, the cleaner the plug, the better it will be able to make contact with the jack and pass current though.
I must add, of course, do not attempt to clean any plugs with the power turned on. Once cleaned you should also wait until any plugs are fully dried before reconnecting.
Now, we’ve got that out of the way, here is the best way to clean aviation plugs. It works on all types of plugs.
There are a few different ways to do this, all with a very low cost or even free. You likely have a pencil eraser lying around somewhere. So the simplest solution is to just start rubbing away. Sometimes this is all that is required, as the pencil eraser acts as a mild abrasive. As mild abrasives go, while an eraser is a good choice, something like Scotch-Brite pads are very popular and pilots have had good success with.
If that didn’t work, simply use some rubbing alcohol on a cotton swap or heavy paper. Heavy paper is the better choice so you can really get a hold of and cover the plug as you twist and clean. Be warned about rubbing alcohol, though. Sometimes it can leave a slight residue, so a contact cleaner is the preferred choice. David Clark recommend using a cleaning solution or mild abrasive.
If none of these worked or provided only a temporary solution, it’s probably time to replace the plug.