Experimental investigations are described for ion-beam sputtering and RF-plasma sputtering to determine the effectiveness of the methods for removing contaminants from an optical surface. The effects of ion-beam sputtering are tested with an ion gun and measured by mounting a 5-MHz quartz-crystal microbalance on a sample holder and simulating spacecraft contamination. RF-plasma sputtering involves the application of an alternating electric field to opposing electrodes immersed in a low density gas, and is tested with the same setup. The energy dependence of the sputtering yields is measured to determine whether the different contaminants are removed and whether the mirror surface is affected. Ion-beam sputtering removes all contaminants tested, but also affects the mirror surface at high energies. When the correct DC bias is applied, RF sputtering can remove the contaminants without removing the metal-mirror surface.