Hot Line Tool Safety | Cleaning, Maintenance and Sanitizing

This post was drafted in partnership with Hubbell Power Systems, Inc.

Please follow all manufacturer instructions for the care and maintenance of your specific tools.


The proper care and cleaning of hot line tools is paramount to ensuring lineman safety. Damaged or contaminated tools can create a pathway between the energized conductor and the lineman, causing a deadly hazard.

Care and maintenance of these tools protect linemen and preserve tool longevity and, with proper sanitation, can help keep crews safe by eliminating contagious pathogens that may be found on the surface of the tool.


Regular Tool Cleaning and Maintenance

The following steps can be taken to regularly clean and maintain hot line tools:

  • Before using any hot line tools, perform a visual inspection to detect any signs of dirt, water, damage or other issues that need to be addressed.
  • Address scuffs and minor surface contamination by wiping the tool down with a silicone wipe or silicone wiping cloth to maintain surface finish and help the tool’s surface retain its hydrophobic qualities.
  • Use specialized cleaners, such as Hubbell’s Moisture Eater II Wipes for more significant surface contamination such as carbon deposits, dirt or adhesives. It is important to follow cleaning by applying silicone oil to the surface of the tool to restore its hydrophobic qualities.
  • Use soap and water on polycarbonate components of the tool —  do not use cleaning solutions on these areas.
  • Store tools properly in a clean, dry location without exposure to sunlight. At the job site, it is also recommended to keep tools staged on a rack or on a clean, dry tarpaulin (such as CHANCE™ Blanket Tarps) rather than on the ground.
  • Remove damaged tools and take out of service immediately. These tools will need to be professionally repaired and tested before they can go back into services.
    • To field test your hot sticks, you can use Hubbell’s Wet/Dry Hot Stick Tester.
    • Contact your Border States Account Manager for tool repairs and testing.

See the video at the end of this article for more information on the care and maintenance of hot line tools.


Sanitizing Tools

After you’ve followed normal inspection and cleaning, you can also take the following steps to sanitize your tools and help to prevent the spread of infectious pathogens.

Fiberglass Hot Sticks, Instruments, Meters, Rubber and Plastic Cover-Up, Rubber Blankets and Cable Jacket:

  • Wipe with 70% isopropyl alcohol – dampen a clean paper towel or cloth with isopropyl alcohol and wipe down all surfaces.
  • Wipe hot sticks with silicone wipes or equivalent – waxing or use of a silicone wipe or silicone wiping cloth imparts a glossy finish to the surface of the insulated tool and improves the electrical integrity by providing a protective barrier against contaminants.

Rubber Gloves

  • Wash gloves with a mild soap or detergent and water, then thoroughly rinse with water to remove all soap or detergent, then dry. Do not share gloves.
  • Allow your hands to dry fully before putting on gloves if you used hand sanitizer or washed your hands prior to using gloves.