Reducing the thickness of the diamond-like carbon protective overcoat to a thickness of about 2-3 nm is one major key to increase the recording density of magnetic disk drives. Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) deposited carbon layers have been shown to be denser and harder than those produced by conventional sputter deposition. One key problem of PECVD deposited carbon is the contamination of the carbon film by particles produced inside the carbon source after long-time operation. This particle production limits the runtime of the source drastically. To avoid this particle generation the source was cleaned by an intermittent in situ oxygen plasma process. The cleaning efficiency was investigated by recording the pressure change inside the source during the cleaning process caused by the CO production. The ratio of the cleaning time and the deposition time shows no significant dependence on the deposition time. An almost linear increase of the ratio with the acetylene flow was observed. This results from a higher deposition rate at higher acetylene flow, leading to a higher contamination inside the source. A strong dependence of the cleaning rate on the oxygen flow in the cleaning process was measured. More oxygen leads to a strong decrease of the needed cleaning time. Adding Ar gas to the oxygen discharge shows no improvement of the needed cleaning time. The cleaning process seems to be dependent only on the amount of reactive oxygen species in the discharge .