Swabs and cleaning sticks feature small wads of nonwoven, cotton, microfiber or foam wrapped around either one or both ends of a short wood, paper, plastic rod, or tube. The material at the tip brushes away or absorbs contaminates. Swabs and cleaning sticks are often used in medical, fiber optic, laboratory, electronic and other critical cleaning applications. They are also useful in non-medical applications like crafts and hobbies, first aid, and more.

Medical Swabs and Cleaning Sticks

Many types of swabs and cleaning sticks fall under “medical swabs,” including: surgical, medical device, dental, over-the-counter, laboratory, pharmaceutical, veterinary, pediatric, cosmetic, and DNA. These swabs and cleaning sticks are often foam-tipped, lint-free, and idea for applications that require presoaked liquids or powders.

Non-Medical Swabs and Cleaning Sticks

Non-medical swabs and cleaning sticks can also be used for applying lubricants, sealants, coatings, adhesives, and other fluid materials and chemicals. Certain types of these swabs, sometimes called critical care device (CCD) swabs, can be used for cleaning electronic devices. CCD swabs and cleaning sticks are lint-free and non-abrasive so that they can be used to clean debris from optical surfaces.

Selecting Swabs and Cleaning Sticks

When selecting swabs and cleaning sticks, it’s important to know if the application calls for a wet or dry materials, and even if it requires the swab or stick to be compatible with water, solvents, terpene, or any other fluids.

 

Other considerations for swabs and cleaning sticks are the required tip width and length, and the overall length necessary for the application. Depending on the application, other considerations may also have to be made.

 

Some swabs and cleaning sticks are available with extra features like antistatic properties for electrostatic safety, or disinfecting or sanitizing elements. Swabs and cleaning sticks may also be double-ended, featuring tips on both ends of the stick. Additional special features may also be available for swabs and cleaning sticks depending on the application and manufacturer.