Industrial Uses for Foam-Tipped Applicators

Industrial Uses for Foam-Tipped Applicators

Industrial Uses for Foam-Tipped Applicators

There are countless areas throughout manufacturing and industrial environments which need to be cleaned regularly. However, many of these are tight, hard-to-reach or delicate spots, and regular cleaning tools are simply too large or cumbersome to do the job. For these reasons, many companies turn to foam-tipped applicators for precise, effective cleaning.

Foam swabs are the right tool for any jobs that demand precision, detailing, and cleanliness. The foam is soft and non-abrasive, making it safe for use on even your most sensitive manufacturing or industrial components. They’re also ideal for cleanroom use, as they feature thermal bonding to prevent contamination. While foam applicators are soft enough for gentle cleaning, they’re still sturdy enough to avoid bending, flexing, and folding during regular use. They can be used either wet or dry. With many different configurations available, there’s a specific swab available to meet the needs of any application.

Some industries that can benefit from foam-tipped applicators include printing, precision manufacturing, electronics, semiconductors, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Below, we’ll discuss some of the many of the general purposes these swabs are used for.

Apply Solutions with Foam Applicators

When you need to precisely apply cleaning solvents, adhesives, paints, or lubricants, a regular cleaning cloth won’t do. Foam swabs like the Puritan foam-tipped applicator or the CleanTex Large Foam Swab have an open-cell structure which creates an optimal holding capacity, making it easier for you to perform precise cleanings and applications. They’re also free of adhesives and shred-resistant to keep contaminants away from small machine components.

Clean Small Parts with Foam Swabs

Small, grooved areas in fiber optics can benefit from non-abrasive foam applicators like the TekniSwab cleanroom foam swab or the Chemtronics Foam Flextip Swab. With a conical screw tip, the applicator can successfully remove buildup and excess production material from extremely tight spaces.

Foam Tipped Swabs to Remove Contaminants

Virtually any industrial or manufacturing setting has surfaces and components that need to be cleaned regularly for optimal efficiency. Chemtronics Foamtips Swabs are lint-free and non-abrasive; perfect for cleaning. In the manufacturing of electronic components, for instance, few particles can be present during critical phases of production, and even the presence of static could compromise your products. To limit contaminants and control static in these environments, swabs like the Puritan anti-static foam swab are a leading choice.

Now that we’ve discussed some of the general ways foam tipped swabs can be used in the industrial or manufacturing sectors, let’s look briefly at just a few specific solutions they provide by industry:

Some Foam Tip Swab Uses by Industry

Circuit Boards & Flat Panels (& Electronics)

During the production and handling of flat-panels and circuit boards, small components like the interiors of orifices and tubes must be cleaned. Because they are inaccessible by larger cleaning instruments, foam-tipped swabs are often the go-to cleaning tool for these minute spaces.


In industries like aerospace, employees may handle coated lenses regularly. To perform a thorough surface cleaning without impacting the lens coating, you’ll need to use a nonabrasive foam tip. They’re also useful for cleaning small mirrored surfaces and fiber-optic sensors.

Semi-Conductor Manufacturing

Before devices produced in semi-conductor manufacturing can be sealed, their O-ring chambers must be cleaned. Many manufacturers turn to static-free foam-tip swabs to perform the task safely and efficiently.


No matter your needs, Harmony Business Supplies has dozens of foam tip applicators to help you maintain a clean, sanitary work environment. To explore their options, browse through our swabs online now or get in touch with a product specialist today.

Prevent DNA Specimen Degradation by Choosing the Right Swabs

Prevent DNA Specimen Degradation (1)

How Choosing the Right Materials Can Prevent DNA Specimen Degradation

Whether for genetic testing or another application, preserving DNA integrity through all steps of the handling process is essential to avoiding potential errors, which can be costly and time-intensive to correct. The most effective way to proactively avoid DNA specimen degradation is selecting the right tools for your needs.

There are a few types of media transport systems available, but before you can determine the best option for your needs, it may be helpful to consider the following questions:

  1. Are you going to prepare the DNA for examination immediately after collecting it?
  2. Will the specimen be stored for use in the future, and if so, for how long?
  3. Do you expect to ship the DNA specimen to an offsite processing lab? If so, what is the anticipated time frame between collection and examination?

Most importantly, the main objective is to minimize the amount of degradation that your DNA specimen undergoes. The more time between collection and processing that passes, the more measures you’ll need to put in place to preserve the sample. Additionally, moisture is another degrading factor, so preventing increased moisture levels is  essential.

Bearing these factors in mind, here are some products you should consider n your DNA transport system:

Dry-Tip Swabs

Puritan Cap-Shure Sterile Cotton Swabs: 25-806-1WC-EC
Puritan Cap-Shure Sterile Cotton Swabs: 25-806-1WC-EC

Swabs are the first tool used in the specimen collection process, and they play an important  role in maintaining the integrity of your samples. As such, it’s important to select the right type of swab to keep DNA protected. It’s best to select a sterile dry swab, because again, keeping moisture at bay is important for safeguarding your samples.

If you’re transporting the specimen and don’t plan to use a preservative solution, it’s ideal to allow the swab to air-dry before preparing it for shipment. As long as the environment is kept at a suitable temperature and humidity level, 30 minutes of drying time should suffice.

Depending on your application, you may also wish to consider a cap to prevent DNA contamination.  Puritan offers many swabs with the the cap built in.  These swabs are called Cap-Shure® and feature an aerated tip protector over the swab tip to help the drying process and protect the specimen.

Dry Transport Tubes

Puritan Cell Collection Polyester Swab: 25-806-2PD-TT
Puritan Cell Collection Polyester Swab: 25-806-2PD-TT

Another option for keeping your swabs protected against cross-contamination is using plastic transport tubes. The swab attaches to a cap and is inserted into a tube, much like a test-tube.  A label affixed to the outside of the tube allows for data to be written about the specimen collected.  Dry Transport Swabs include their own transport tubes for safe travel and are available with different tip materials such as calcium alginate, cotton, flocked, foam, polyester, and rayon.

Whichever option you select, Harmony Business Supplies has all of the right products to help you handle and transport DNA specimens as efficiently as possible. You can view their vast array of options online now, or get in touch with a product specialist for more information.


The Best Swabs for Gun Cleaning

A Clean Firearm is a Happy Firearm

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.

A dirty firearm is not happy – and it can be dangerous!

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.

Gun Cleaning Swabs are the best tools for keeping your firearm in tip-top shape.
Gun Cleaning Swabs are the best tools for keeping your firearm in tip-top shape.

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.

Puritan Low-Lint Swab - Perfect for Gun Cleaning
Puritan Low-Lint Swab – Perfect for Gun Cleaning

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.

Puritan Double Tipped Swab - 2 Types of Tips for Gun Cleaning!
Puritan Double Tipped Swab – 2 Types of Tips for Gun Cleaning!

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.

ESD Swabs in Sensitive Environments

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.

Anti-Static Swabs

Puritan ESD Swab 1621-PF ESD
Puritan ESD Swab 1621-PF ESD

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.

Harmony Business Supplies