Proper gun cleaning is critical to keeping firearms in the best possible working condition. Cleaning guns after each use preserves their safety and durability by removing residue buildup. Something as seemingly insignificant as powder residue can impact the accuracy of a firearm, which you certainly don’t want to gamble with whether you’re at the range or in a combat zone.
Another downside of failing to properly clean your gun is that it will be more prone to rusting and similar forms of permanent degradation. You might not think it’s necessary to clean your gun after firing just a few rounds through it, but even the salt from your palms can damage your weapon! Since most guns are considerable investments, keeping them well-maintained is necessary for preserving their value.
The Better Way To Clean
One of the best ways to keep your gun free of dirt and debris is to clean it using the best possible tools. While each firearm collector likely has their favorite go-to cleaning kit, it’s a good idea to consider upgrading your supplies every now and then. This is especially true if you’ve been hitting the range more often recently!
A small – but mighty – tool to consider adding to your kit is a pack of gun cleaning swabs. The nooks and crannies of your weapons can be difficult to clean with traditional brushes and cloths, which is why foam and cotton-tipped applicators can come in handy. Tight spaces like the bore of the barrel need to be cleaned, but only a small swab will be able to get in there and completely rid the area of buildup.
Each gun has its own small space which can benefit from a thorough cleaning using an applicator and the solvent of your choice. With semi-automatic weapons, for instance, the areas beneath the ejector, contact points between the frame and slide, and the slide’s interior grooves can all attract residue. Revolvers can accumulate debris in the forcing cone, cylinder ratchet, and along the face of the cylinder.
Gun Cleaning Swabs Make Cleaning Easy
If you own multiple types of firearms, having different sizes and types of swabs on hand can be useful. For instance, Puritan makes low-lint swab 6” cotton applicators, which are ideal for cleaning most types of guns. If you have weapons of larger calibers and longer barrels, however, you may need longer applicators, such as the 8” shaft swab. Some gun owners also prefer anti-shedding, lint-free, foam-tipped swabs.
But don’t just take our word for it: even the U.S. military agrees that foam and cotton swabs are the best tools for effective firearm cleaning. Swabs are utilized by servicemen and women to ensure the utmost level of cleanliness, functionality, and safety of their firearms. Both active duty and veteran shooters know the importance of having a clean gun, which is why they turn to these powerful little products whenever it’s time to clean their weapons.
If you’re a firearms owner and would like to purchase some gun cleaning swabs to include in your gun cleaning kit, visit Harmony Business Supplies online to browse through your options. You can also speak with a product specialist to find out which gun cleaning swabs are the right fit for your needs.
Combat ESD in Sensitive Environments with the Right Swabs
Controlling electrostatic discharge (ESD) is an important aspect of ensuring the quality of electrical components throughout manufacturing processes. By nature, some electronics are more sensitive to static than others, which is why many manufacturing plants have special environments like cleanrooms for keeping static at the lowest possible levels. While it’s equally important to protect electronics against ESD after manufacturing, such as throughout transport and device assembly procedures, controlling the levels in critical manufacturing environments is the first step to keeping your components intact.
The Risks of ESD
While there are many different types of electronics prone to damage from static exposure, hardware is particularly fragile. Network hardware devices, for instance, can become compromised by being exposed to as little as 100 volts of electricity. The damage is permanent and irreversible, thus rendering your equipment unusable and worthless.
Just how much electricity does it take to produce 100 volts? Put it this way: walking across a carpet can create as many as 35,000 volts. Imagine how many volts could be produced on a daily basis with countless employees moving about in your organization! Thus, minimizing ESD in your critical environments through all means possible is essential to preserving the quality of your components.
Of course, there are other types of electronics which could become damaged by ESD during manufacturing, too. The problem lies in the fact that damage isn’t always noticeable until later, during subsequent testing stages. Therefore, the amount of time and money wasted throughout various in production phases can be significant when components become damaged as a result of ESD. Moreover, the consequences of failed electronics can be devastating depending on the application. While damaged network hardware could cripple your company headquarters’ communications for a day or so, a failed airplane component could have a much more serious, and potentially even deadly, impact.
Ways to Prevent ESD
To keep ESD at the lowest possible levels, you likely have an Electrostatic Discharge Protected Area (EPA) somewhere within your manufacturing plant which could range from a basic work station to a full-blown work space. Within this area, all conductive materials should be grounded to prevent transfer of ESD – this includes humans, too. Your printed circuit boards will also have ground planes to give current a return path.
There are a broad range of tactics you can use to prevent ESD levels within your electronic assembly environment. From anti-static mats to ESD strip shoe covers and conducting wrist straps, organizations use a variety of tools to keep static out of critical work areas. Many organizations must also adhere to specific air quality requirements to prevent humidity levels from dipping too low (or conversely, climbing too high), which can also lead to ESD. Keeping components in anti-static containers until the moment they’re ready to be installed is another way to prevent static. Finally, one less-thought of – yet equally important – way you can control ESD is through choosing the proper type of swabs.
Swabs are used throughout electronic assembly for a number of different purposes. Your employees might use them to apply adhesives, or cleaning small, hard-to-reach places. They also come in handy for surface sampling and validation procedures in cleanroom environments.
If your employees use swabs during any stage of the workflow while handling electronics, it’s advisable to provide them with anti-static swabs to further eliminate ESD. Anti-static swabs have all of the benefits of traditional swabs, allowing you to clean fragile machinery and small components, but do not carry the risk of transmitting static to your electronics.
These swabs are unique in the fact that they feature special shaft materials which are inherently static-free. For instance, many of these swabs’ shafts contain carbon, which is known to eradicate any static buildup. Common shaft materials for anti-static swabs are static dissipative polypropylene and wood (wood swabs are generally not safe for cleanrooms but could still be used in Electrostatic Discharge Protected Areas or elsewhere.
Likewise, the tips are also constructed using materials designed specifically to deter and minimize static discharge. You can choose among ESD microfiber swabs, which are non-linting and safe for use in EPAs, or static dissipative foam swabs. There are also knitted polyester tipped swabs and ESD foam-tipped swabs with anti-static attributes available to meet each environment’s unique needs.
No matter your specific needs, Harmony Business Supplies has the right anti-static swab for you. By choosing swabs designed to keep ESD at bay, you can reduce the risk of compromising your sensitive products and potentially costing your organization countless dollars and time in damages. To browse through our vast array of anti-static swabs and other products created for sensitive cleanroom environments, take a look at our website. Still not sure which swabs are the right choice for your needs? Feel free to get in touch with one of our knowledgeable product specialists for help.
A Complete Guide to Specimen Collection for Diagnostics
Following the right specimen collection procedures is critical. Not only does it protect healthcare professionals, laboratory staff, and the patient, it also ensures accuracy in diagnostic testing. For infectious diseases, it’s important to get specimen collection right on the first try. That’s why having the proper tools is essential.
When it comes to the swabs and vials used for collecting specimens for diagnostic testing, you have a lot of options. While traditional cotton tips may have been the go-to choice of yesteryear, today’s selections boast significant advancements and options tailored to your unique needs.
Indeed, modern-day swabs come with a number of features designed for ease of use. In this post, we’ll share a comprehensive overview of specimen collection kits as well as considerations to help you determine which option is best for your application.
In many healthcare settings, media transport systems are used. These systems can optimize the specimen collection process and make handling and transporting specimens safe and convenient. They are also designed to provide rapid release, and by integrating high-quality swabs into the system, you’ll receive the best level of elution.
One popular choice for transport media is the Puritan UniTranz-RT ®. It can be used to transport any virus, in addition to bacterial specimens such as Chlamydia and Ureaplasma. The universal transport liquid suspends the cells until processed. They can be purchased as vials of transport medium exclusively; or, for utmost convenience, you can also choose different tipped applicators to complete the system.
For fastidious and both anaerobic and aerobic bacteria, the Opti-Swab ® transport system is an ideal choice. The liquid amies suspends the cells until processed. It protects the viable bacteria specimens during lab transport and employs flocked or rayon swabs for effective specimen collection.
For certain types of microorganisms, enrichment media are needed to create ideal environments. By adding enrichment media, you’ll promote the development of the particular microorganism for which your testing while also limiting the growth of others. Staph organisms, for instance, require the specific liquid transport MRSA, due to its resistance to antimicrobials. Salmonella, on the other hand, can be enriched with selenite broth. LIM broth is used as an enrichment media for Group B Strep in pregnant women.
In comparison to media transport swabs, there are also Dry Transport Swab systems to consider. Dry transport swabs can be used in general-purpose cell collection and transport to the lab, testing, screening, and DNA testing.
As you can see, there are various types of systems available for the collection and transport of specimens, many of which are designed specifically for one type or group of of bacteria or viruses. While it’s helpful to know what you’re testing for in order to determine the best type of collection kit to use, it’s also beneficial to consider the place from which you’re collecting specimens on the patient. We’ll discuss these considerations below.
Considerations By Application
For certain types of specimen collection, proper practices are mandated by the CDC. For instance, to collect upper respiratory tract specimens, it is recommended by the CDC that collectors use flocked swabs to collect specimens from the tonsil and nasal areas. To avoid inactivation of certain viruses or inhibition of molecular assays, it’s recommended that users do not select wooden-shaft swabs for this application, as the wood could compromise the specimens. Additionally, sterile rayon swabs or sterile polyester swabs are recommended.
Once collection of upper respiratory tract specimens has been completed, swabs must be immediately placed into vials with non-antibiotic transport media. There are additional steps outlined by the CDC for the process, including the use of both oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal swabs. Nasopharyngeal swabs are also used to test for conditions such as whooping cough and certain types of flu.
Of course, the nose and throat aren’t the only sites for specimen collection. For any area of the body, patient sensitivity should be considered to help determine which swab and collection products to use.
For instance, rectal cultures can be obtained to identify types of bacteria indicating gastrointestinal diseases, but because of the levels of sensitivity, the gentlest swabs possible should be used to collect samples from this region. Likewise, specimens from genitalia, orifices, and any other sensitive areas should be collected using swabs that will minimize discomfort. Calcium Alginate Swabs are also a good choice, since any residual trace fiber left will safely dissolve.
Luckily, there is a vast number of options available for specimen collection and transport to keep patients safe and comfortable while also preserving the integrity of the sample. By weighing the considerations listed here, you can identify the best types of swabs, vials, and complete transport kits to best meet your needs. Harmony Business Supply has an extensive range of products available to choose from, which you can view online. If you’d like additional assistance deciding on the best option for your application, feel free to consult with one of our product specialists.
Learn all you need to know about swab handles in the next 6 minutes!
So… What Are the Different Types of Swab Shafts?
From collecting a throat culture to cleaning a wound, swabs have countless applications in the medical field. They’re also used to collect DNA and perform microbiological tests, by hobbyists painting china plates or other highly detailed work, for cleaning guns, and to rid print heads on wide format printers of unwanted residue.
Swabs and applicators are among the most versatile products used across a variety of industries.
Yet, when swabs and applicators come to mind, most people only think of one type. In fact, there are dozens of different options available, for the very reason that there are so many distinct purposes for these handy tools.
In addition to choosing the size of the applicator as well as the tip material, you can also select the material for the shaft based on the most appropriate fit for your unique needs.
Here, we’ll discuss the four main types of applicator and swab shafts, as well as the unique properties of each:
Paper Shaft Swabs
If you’ve ever had a lollipop, you can imagine what an applicator with a paper shaft might look and feel like.
They’re typically white in color and are smooth to the touch. You can choose your option for paper shaft applicators based on your application, taking into consideration the length and tip type you’ll need.
Paper is among the more basic materials available for swab shafts. With smaller tips, it can be used for cleaning sensitive components in critical environments, as the materials are anti-static.
Paper shaft applicators with larger tips can be used in some medical applications, such as gathering specimens during exams, or collecting cells to perform laboratory research. In general, paper shaft swabs are also ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach places throughout offices and other workplace environments.
Wood Shaft Swabs
Like paper, is also considered to be a “no-frills” option for shaft material in swabs and applicators. Most wood is sourced from birch trees, making them a sturdy and inflexible choice for industrial environments.
Some medical offices also select wood shaft applicators as materials for cleaning minor abrasions and similar practices.
Because it doesn’t take much force to fracture wood, this particular type of applicators is not recommended for applications in which there’s a risk of breakage.
Since these shafts are made of natural materials, there’s always a risk that they can introduce dust or contaminates into the environment. Thus, wood shaft swabs are not intended for use in cleanroom environments.
That being said, wood swab shafts are an excellent, budget-friendly choice for basic applications. There are sterile wood swabs that can be used in many medical applications.
There are some types of wood shaft swabs that do boast low particulates for cleaning sensitive components. Like the other types of shafts listed here, they are available in varying lengths and quantities, and they can also arrive pre-packaged to prevent the risk of contamination.
Plastic Shaft Swabs
Plastic shafts are a step above wood and paper for a number of reasons. First, they have non-porous properties and will also not produce dust or contaminates, making them ideal for sensitive environments. Additionally, they are more flexible than wood, and you can even break them cleanly if needed.
Because they are synthetic, plastic shaft applicators are ideal for collecting microbiological specimens. They are also widely used in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s office for patient care purposes, such as wound dressing and cleaning. They also are a go-to choice for collecting cells for DNA testing.
While the most common type of plastic used in applicator shafts is polystyrene, some users prefer a different type of plastic: polypropylene. While it is also a synthetic material, it’s quite different from polystyrene because it is much more resistant to breaking.
In industrial settings, many companies choose to go with polypropylene due to its increased level of durability. Of course, users who simply want the peace of mind in knowing the applicator shaft won’t break can also use this option in other environments as well.
Metal/Wire Shaft Swabs
Lastly, we have the type of applicator shaft that’s perhaps the most unique of all: metal wire.
Wire shaft swabs are most commonly found in healthcare environments. The diameter of the shaft can be designed to be much smaller than that of wood, plastic, or paper. For situations in which a standard swab would be too large, the fine-diameter wire shaft swabs come in handy.
Aluminum is commonly used in swab shafts due to its malleability. In medical situations where cells must be collected from sensitive areas like the ear, nose, throat, or other sensitive areas, the flexible, small shafts are useful for ensuring patient comfort. Additionally, these applicators fit well into transport tubes to make examination and lab testing seamless and hassle-free.
Wire shafts are more flexible than other materials, so be sure to take that into consideration when choosing the right type for your needs. Additionally, they should not be used in any environments where conductivity might pose a risk.
What Swab Handle Do You Need?
With so many different options available, it can be challenging to know which type of applicator shaft is best for your needs.
To help you decide, we’ve come up with a brief list of questions that should help narrow down your choices:
In what type of industry or environment will you be using the swabs?
Is conductivity/ESD a concern?
Will you be collecting cells from a person? If so, from a potentially sensitive area?
Where will the specimens be sampled onsite or at a lab elsewhere?
Do you need to worry about dust or contaminates?
How durable do you need the applicators to be?
If you’re still overwhelmed with your choices, you can always start by visiting Harmony Business Supplies and searching for swabs based on your intended use.
You can choose among the following purposes: critical environments, fiber optic cleaning, forensics, gun cleaning, print head cleaning, sign machine cleaning, and crafts and hobbies.
A broad range of sterile swabs intended specifically for healthcare environments is also available. For convenience, many types of swabs can also be purchased in varying quantities.
No matter your unique needs, there’s a swab out there for you! Just visit Harmonycr.com to find the right swab for the job, or give one of our supply specialist a call and we’ll help you find the right swab for your needs.