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Are You Safe from ESD?

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is an abrupt electrical flow between two electrically charged objects caused by contact between the objects. Lightning exemplifies the concept of ESD. On a smaller scale, the human body is able to carry a charge and cause ESD when touching another charged object.

What is ESD Safe?

ESD Safe matting, apparel, gloves, swabs, wipes, and other supplies help ensure your environment is safe from electrostatic discharges (ESD) as much as possible. Very small discharges from static electricity can cause irreparable damage to sensitive components and electronics.

Even tables can carry a charge, causing contaminants to stick to them. Besides airborne particles attaching to surfaces, ESD from humans can damage electronics and semiconductors and can cause electrical failure.

ESD Safe products are designed to be non-conductive or to  “cage” and dissipate harmful electrostatic discharges.

To prevent damage in a manufacturing or lab setting, workers wear ESD gloves.

Why do you need ESD Gloves?

ESD Gloves Do 3 Things:

  1. Prevent static generation
  2. Dissipate or Shield electrostatic charges
  3. Protects material from particulate contamination

ESD Gloves, no matter the material, control electrical flows around the material. Instead of a quick burst of lightning, the ESD gloves provide a way for the electric charge to dissipate slowly without damage to electronics. 

Manufacturing electronics without ESD Gloves may not cause any immediate or noticeable damage. Humans only notice ESD greater than 3500 volts; however, an ESD of as little as 20 volts can cause electronic damage.

Electronics that have undergone an electrostatic discharge onto them may experience equipment failure months later. Therefore, to manufacture the highest quality products, ESD Gloves are needed for employees that interact with delicate equipment susceptible to damage from ESD and skin contaminants. 

Which ESD Glove Material is best?

Nitrile is the industry standard for ESD gloves. Found in Biotech, Electronic, and Pharmaceutical manufacturing, nitrile gloves are the industry workhorse. The material is naturally anti-static, puncture resistant, chemical-resistant, and durable, making nitrile the best choice for cleanroom applications.

Workers find nitrile gloves to be more comfortable than other materials because of its “memory” that molds well to the individual’s hand.

Nitrile, unlike latex, continues to be comfortable throughout a shift. Whenever a worker needs hand protection, it is best to choose nitrile as it provides the best barrier protection against cuts and chemicals.

Without sufficient protection, chemicals can seep into the skin and cause contamination, making nitrile gloves the best choice for applications involving chemicals.

However, nitrile is not compatible with aromatic solvents and ketones commonly found in paints and adhesives. For applications involving aromatic solvents, multiple types of glove material must be provided to maximize safety.

Nylon is used frequently in electronic manufacturing and handling because of nylon’s dexterity. Nylon is not suitable for cleanroom environments “due to their very high non-volatile residue values”.

A Higher NVR values correlates to a lower surface resistance, which decreases ESD strength in high humidity environments. The material, generally coated with a polyurethane-coat, reduces static while increasing grip.

The polyurethane coating is non-porous, preventing skin contaminants and oils from seeping onto equipment. It allows workers to maximize precision and dexterity by retaining touch-sensitivity and by increasing grip without feeling “sticky”.

Workers won’t have to worry about their glove sticking to any material. The polyurethane-coat provides additional puncture resistance and prevents against the glove shedding its material in high volume applications. Additionally, nylon gloves are compatible with all touchscreen devices.

Latex is the most common material for gloves. Normal Latex gloves generate static, so for cleanroom environments latex gloves include an anti-static additive to prevent ESD.

Latex, even with the additive, is the most affordable choice for ESD gloves. However, ESD Latex gloves have the same downsides as any latex glove.

Some employees will be allergic to the material and others will find it uncomfortable for extended periods of time. Latex gloves also have a shorter shelf life than Nitrile. When working with sharp materials, Latex does not have the puncture resistance as Nitrile or Nylon.

In general, Nitrile is the most comfortable, durable, and puncture resistant material for ESD gloves.

ESD Gloves May Not Be Enough

When working with delicate electronic components susceptible to damage from human contamination, ESD gloves are necessary.

However, other static control procedures and devices will provide protection beyond a single employee’s hands. To minimize static electricity and damaging particulates, there are also ESD shoes, mats, and wrist straps to fully ground employees entering sensitive environments.

When working with sensitive equipment, ESD swabs protect from static damage. No matter your environment, ESD is controllable and damage is easy to minimize with the proper products.

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Effective COVID-19 Testing Swabs by Puritan

How to Collect a Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen

When conducting diagnostic swab testing for COVID-19, CDC recommends nasopharyngeal swabbing. Regardless if the patient is symptomatic, specimens should be collected as soon as possible with testing swabs once PUIs are identified.

If you’ve conducted flu tests, swabbing for COVID-19 testing is the same process.

Puritan’s 7 Steps for Taking a Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen

  1. Wash hands and wear appropriate PPE such as disposable gloves, isolation gowns, and face masks.
  2. Remove sterile swab from package.
  3. Tilt patient’s head back to straighten nasal passage.
  4. Insert swab straight back horizontally to the nasopharynx until you meet resistance.
  5. Rotate swab up to 5 times and hold in place 5-10 seconds to collect sample.
  6. Place swab into the viral transport medium and break off handle where indicated.
  7. Cap, label with patient information, and deliver to lab for testing.

We recommend using Puritan’s UniTranz-RT Transport System and PurFlock Ultra swab for COVID-19 testing.

To find more tips and helpful information visit the Puritan COVID 19 resource portal.

Puritan Medical Products. “COVID-19 Testing: How to Collect a Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen.” COVID-19 Testing: How to Collect a Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen, Puritan Medical Products, 8 Apr. 2020, blog.puritanmedproducts.com/how-to-collect-a-nasopharyngeal-swab-specimen.

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Diagnostics Swabs Disinfectants Disposable Gloves Food Service Wipes How To Janitorial Lab Supplies Media Transport Swabs Microbiology Safety Sanitizers Swabs

Listeria – The Risks Involved

Listeria is a type of bacteria that causes listeriosis, a serious illness with a fatality rate of 20%. Most cases involve hospitalization. Children, elderly, and adults with weakened immune systems are most susceptible. Healthy adults may avoid listeriosis, but are still susceptible to gastroenteritis. Vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea are the most common symptoms. If the bacteria spreads beyond the gut, a fever may arise. Some doctors may mistakenly diagnose patients with “stomach flu,” although listeria is not related to influenza. A bacterial culture verifies listeriosis.

Listeria Risks

Listeria is common in the food services industry. It is impossible to prevent this bacteria from entering your setting. It survives extreme cold, acidic, and oxygen deprived environments. Refrigeration and freezing do not prevent listeria growth. In fact, listeria continues to grow in the cold. Because of its durability, the only way to prevent listeria contamination is through proper training and procedures. Cleaning and sanitizing equipment is not enough. Listeria can survive in HVAC systems, floors, crevices, or hard to reach places. Without sufficient procedures, your company may be liable for any lapses that cause a listeria outbreak. Fines, fees, and litigation will increase costs on top of product recalls and reputation damage.

Cleaning and Sanitizing to Prevent Listeria

Safety is the first priority for the food industry. Cleaning and Sanitizing (C&S) are the key components to fulfill your responsibility. Cleaning involves removing all surface level contaminants such as food, oil, and dirt. Bacteria cling to these contaminants and block chemicals from reaching the surface. All work surfaces require cleaning including walls, drains, and floors.

All machinery should be broken down into its base components in order to properly sanitize each element. Bacteria festers in hard to reach places. Once a significant amount of bacteria congregate in one area, it forms a biofilm that can prevent proper sanitization.

Biofilms

It is common for drains to contain biofilms. Because they are overlooked and cleaned less often, it can be ground zero for a listeria outbreak in your facility. If a drain contains a biofilm, then cleaning and sanitizing will not be sufficient. The bacteria will spread onto the floor through the drain onto employee boots and clothes. If a pressurized washer is used to clean drains, then the blast will spread listeria through the air onto equipment. If drains flood, production should be ceased immediately. Slot drain systems prevent bacteria from festering. Otherwise, frequent cleaning is the best way to prevent biofilms and listeria.

Detergents

Solvents, detergents, acids, and abrasive cleaners are the most common cleaners used.

Detergents are useful for lifting most soil from the surface. For grease, solvent cleaners can be used even when grease has burned onto the surface. Acid cleaners are used on mineral deposits such as hard water. Abrasive cleaners remove significant soil accumulations, generally in small areas. Because of its abrasive qualities, its use should be limited to surfaces unable to be cleaned by a detergent.

Surfaces must be cleaned of all organic material. Bacteria feeds off organic material and prevents proper sanitization.

Cleaners do not remove all microorganisms and bacteria. Sanitizers must be used in conjunction with cleaners.

Sanitizing

Sanitizing proceeds cleaning. It involves applying chemicals or heat to a cleaned surface. Although sanitization does not sterilize an environment, it is sufficient for most settings. Heat is useful because listeria cannot survive past 149 degrees fahrenheit or 60 degrees celsius. Properly cooked food will not contain listeria if it is heated past 149 degrees. Dishwashers reach this temperature and thus too are effective means to sanitize.

Chemicals are used for food-contact surfaces. Chlorine, iodine, and  quaternary ammonium compounds are all approved for food-contact surfaces.

Chlorine

Chlorine is the most common sanitizer. It is effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses along with all spores. Salmonella, cryptosporidium, and giardia are all resistant to chlorine. In instances involving chlorine resistant microorganisms, quaternary ammonium compounds work effectively. Chlorine is not effective against biofilms and is toxic when inhaled and when in contact with skin. There is a positive residual effect that keeps the surface free of bacteria for a limited time.

Iodine

Iodine is an acid sanitizer. It is effective against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and tuberculosis. Iodine has a slight resistance to listeria, meaning longer exposure times are necessary. To remove a listeria infested biofilm with iodine, soak the film. Because iodine is an acid, be careful when it comes into contact with other sanitizers. Chlorine mixed with an acid produces a deadly, toxic gas. If exposed, immediately remove everyone from the environment. Iodine is also extremely corrosive and causes chemical burns on the skin.

Proper protection is required when cleaning with acids like iodine.

Quaternary

Quaternary ammonium cleaner is effective against vegetative bacteria. Vegetative bacteria is bacteria that is not growing. QA is effective against biofilms and does not require soaking time like iodine. Like chlorine, QA provides residual activity keeping the surface sanitized for a limited time. It works against hard water although QA itself is not corrosive.

Sanitizers

Sanitizers react differently depending on the surface. Plastic, glass, metal, and wood may require different chemicals to properly sanitize. For food environments, this may not be as important. It is critical to understand the microorganisms that thrive in your environment to prepare proper sanitization procedures. For example, if you have a biofilm with listeria, then your iodine sanitizer may not be enough if the film is not soaked for an adequate time. In that case, QA could be used. Send environmental samples to labs in order to sanitize properly.

Sampling For Lab Tests

Listeria is unique in that contaminated foods appear and taste normal. Because of this, environmental monitoring should be a part of every facility procedures, along with a cleaning and sanitizing program. Swab sample collection will keep your facility safe. Samples will identify listeria and other pathogens.

Once you know what pathogens live in your environment, you will be able to use the right sanitizers to protect your customers.

Environmental sampling kits are designed to increase sample count through their large, foam-tipped swabs. In all kits, a swab is secured to the screw-cap in leak-resistant tubes. To test, remove the swab and wipe the sample area while rotating the swab. Return the swab to the tube and secure the cap. Laboratory analysis should be completed within 4 hours. Samples can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours at 35-39 degrees fahrenheit or 2-4 degrees celsius.

To prevent sample sanitizer contamination, sampling swabs come pre-moistened with neutralizing solutions. Neutralizing solutions can interact with microorganisms, potentially harming the pathogens you hope to test. To prevent this, your swab needs to be tailored to your environment. Contact our customer service if you need advice on which swab is best for you.

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Foam Swabs Lab Supplies Microbiology Swabs

Foam Swabs 101: Everything You Need to Know About Foam Tipped Applicators

Foam swabs are a better solution for critical industries like cleanroom, medical device assembly, PCB assembly, and electronic manufacturing. Most people view swabs as common cotton fiber wrapped on a stick.

However, while cotton is commonly used, Foam applicator swabs are also used by technicians to perform meticulous tasks like repair, precision cleaning, and assembly.

Made of polyurethane foam, these swabs are open-celled foam that contains 100 pores per every square inch.

The pore-and-open-cell structure makes the foam swab extremely effective in trapping particles. Additionally, they thermally bonded, non-abrasive, and durable.

You can also use them with most cleaning compounds and organic compounds. Available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, which means there is swab for every cleaning application.

More Cleaning Power

Excellent Cleaning Capabilities

Foam swabs have great cleaning properties than cotton swabs. The foam swabs have ESD-safe handles that are thermally bonded and help prevent separation during use.

Another advantage of thermal bonding is that it eliminates the usage of contaminating adhesives, sprays, and coatings. Foam is free from amides, silicones, and DOP, which makes them compatible with most cleaning solvents.

Some foam applicators are even compatible with acetone.

Puritan Foam Swab, Round Tip, 5″, Polypropylene Shaft

Gentle for Delicate Surfaces

From cleaning printed circuit boards (PCB) assemblies to delicate CD’s, these swabs are soft and have low abrasion to protect delicate components.

PurSwab ESD Foam Pointed Tip Swab, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft

Uses of Foam Tipped Applicators

There are several areas in various environments that need to be cleaned regularly. However, most places are delicate or hard to reach, and most cleaning tools are either too large or cumbersome for the job.

Most people and businesses turn to foam tipped swabs for effective and precise cleaning.

Foam swabs are soft and non-abrasive, which makes them safe for use even in the most sensitive areas. This type of swabs also features thermal bonding, which helps prevent contamination.

They are not only soft for gentle cleaning, but also sturdy to avoid flexing, folding, and bending during regular use. You can also use them when they are wet or dry.

Puritan Foam Swab, Mini-Paddle Tip, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft

Removing Contaminants in Manufacturing Environments

If you produce pharmaceuticals, it’s important that your manufacturing environment remains free of any contaminants. Biological contaminants such as pathogens are often introduced by operators.

Fungi and mold may also develop or introduced during processing. Other contaminants include debris that may be introduced when handling some components like metal, fiber, glass pieces, lubricants, and plastic particles.

The best way to keep your pharmaceutical manufacturing environment clean is by using single-use foam tipped swabs.

Because they are only used once, you won’t have to worry about transferring contaminants to other surfaces.

Thanks to their low lint and super-absorbency properties, the swabs will clean all surfaces and equipment of industrial and biological contaminants without causing further issues.

Cleaning swabs for Printer cleaning and maintenance

Clog build up can damage your printer or ruin your work. However, you can use foam swabs to clean the capping stations, wiper blades, and printer heads during routine maintenance.

Unlike cotton swabs, soft foam tip swabs will leave no residue. Plus, they contain no contaminating adhesives.

Use the right foam printer cleaning swabs to maintain your equipment for clean and crisp images and avoid ink splotching and poor performance.

CleanTex Large Paddle Tip Foam Swab, Polypropylene Shaft, 100/bag

Precision cleaning with foam cleanroom swabs

While cotton swabs are more economical, when it comes to more precision cleaning, foam swabs are ideal, especially where lint should be avoided.

You can easily pair these swabs with disinfectants and cleaning fluids for unique applications.

Additionally, these swabs come in different sizes; they can be as small as 1.7mm with handles as short as 50mm or as long as 2.5 meters.

Tekniswab Conical Tip Foam Swab, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft, 500/bag

Foam gun cleaning swabs

Are you a gun enthusiast? You will want to keep your gun clean. Foam tip swabs are engineered to clean the action areas of your gun.

These swabs are lint-free and non-abrasive, washable and somewhat reusable during the same cleaning session.

Additionally, they are made in different sizes to make it easy to clean the rails, crowns, slides, trigger assemblies, and other hard to reach areas. These swabs have bendable handles that won’t easily break or splinter.

Puritan Cylindrical Tip Foam Swab, 2.7″, Polypropylene Shaft

Where to buy?

Are you in the market for the best swab that can help you reach those hard-to-reach areas? Depending on the area you want to clean, there are many different sizes and shapes available at Harmony.

Choose from Chemtonics, CleanTex, Coventry, Puritan Medical Products and Teknipure.

To start cleaning today, visit Foam Swabs at Harmony and see the broad assortment for your particular use.

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Applicators Paper Shaft Swabs Plastic Shaft Swabs Swabs Tips Wood Shaft Swabs

47 Types of Cotton Swabs for Any Need You Have


The ultimate list of cotton swab applicator types, lengths, and tip shapes. Check this list for cotton swabs for any need you have!

There are thousands of jobs for cotton swabs in your commercial environment, from medical to crafting, cleaning and laboratory applications. Great for application or removal or solvents, fluxes and more. 

  • Cotton swabs are made from pharmaceutical grade spun cotton fiber
  • Soft, low cost, and safe
  • Natural and highly-absorbent
  • Choose from Low-Lint or standard

3 inch Cotton Swabs

3-inch wood or poly shafts for your workplace. Large cotton-tip swabs with 3-inch semi-flexible poly shafts and large cotton swabs with wood shafts. 
Small and medium cotton tips made from pharmaceutical-grade cotton grown in the U.S. for quality and consistency.

6 inch Cotton Swabs

6-inch long cotton swabs include styles that are longer than the standard cotton swab, which makes them ideal for exam applications, applying medications or cleaning crevices. Cotton swabs offer excellent cushioning and heat resistance but is naturally soft, making it a good pick for everything from static-sensitive environments and cleanrooms to medical applications. 

Double Tip Cotton Swabs

Double-sided swabs provide double the value with twice the performance. Because cotton is highly absorbent and is either lint-free or low-linting, double-sided cotton swabs are perfect for a wide range of applications, including cleaning sensitive components. 
These are excellent general-purpose cotton swabs for various industries and purposes. 

Low Lint Cotton Tip Swabs

Low lint/lint-free swabs are made with soft, highly absorbent cotton that does not swell in solvents, meaning they stand up to abrasive cleaning supplies and chemicals without losing their shape. If you’re cleaning sensitive components, the last thing you need is to risk particulate and lint buildup in the process. To address this problem, you should use low-lint cotton swabs. 

Need help choosing the perfect cotton swab?

Get in touch and we’ll be glad to help!

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Guide to Medical and Sterile Swabs

Medical and sterile swabs are essential devices in medical operations. These single-use tools are designed and fabricated for diverse applications, including wound treatment, specimen collection and even equipment cleanup.

It is important to note that there are different types of swabs available for varying uses.

If you are on the market for swabs for your work environment, you must evaluate the available options before making your purchase.

Here is a simple guide on the different medical swabs, their benefits and uses to help you select the best products.

Calcium Alginate Tipped Swabs

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate (Nasopharyngeal) Swab, Mini-Tip, 5.4", Aluminum Shaft

Puritan Sterile 5.4″ Long Calcium Alginate (Nasopharyngeal) Swab

Calcium alginate swabs have organic tips. These tips are fabricated using a material derived from seaweed. These products are primarily used for specimen collection, but they are also quite advantageous in wound treatment.

The primary benefit of using calcium alginate swabs over alternatives is the biodegradability.

The fibers on the body and around wounds from the tips will degrade naturally, eliminating residues.

Learn More About Calcium Alginate Swabs

Sterile Cotton Tip Swabs

Puritan Sterile Swabs: Cotton Swab, 6", Wood Shaft

Puritan Sterile 6″ Long Cotton Swab, Wood shaft

If you are looking for general purpose medical swabs, you should choose cotton tip products. These tools are low-cost items which are perfect for high volume needs. Moreover, the products have desirable properties such as high absorbency, safety and softness.

Cotton swabs can be used for wound treatment, cleaning and dressing application.

You can also use the swab for sample collection and DNA testing, but you should use DNA free cotton swabs for the most accurate results.

Read More About DNA Collection:

Sterile Flocked Tipped Swabs

Sterile PurFlock Ultra Flocked Sterile Swab, Elongated Tip, 500/cs

Sterile PurFlock Ultra Flocked Swab

You should choose flocked medical swabs if you are on the market for specimen collection tools. These swabs are specially manufactured to guarantee superior performance in this application.

The flocked tip of the swab is made by arranging multi-length polyester fibers with split ends uniformly around the shaft.

Unlike other swabs, the collection of specimen does not depend on absorption. Instead, the collection relies on the special design, guaranteeing the best extraction performance.

Sterile Foam Swabs

Puritan Foam Sterile Swab, Large Tip, 5" Polypropylene Shaft, 50/box

Puritan Sterile Foam Swab, Large Tip

Foam tip medical swabs are fabricated using medical-grade polyurethane foam.

The high absorbency of the foam makes the product beneficial for specimen collection and testing applications.

The soft, nonabrasive nature of the foam is suitable if you are looking for swabs to clean your delicate equipment. Moreover, it is important to note that the material can withstand exposure to chemicals which compromise other types of tips.

OB/GYN & Proctoscopic Sterile Swabs

Puritan Sterile Polyester Swab, Regular Tip, 6", Polystyrene Shaft

Puritan Jumbo Tip Cotton Swab, 8″, Paper Shaft

You should select special OBGYN medical swabs if you are looking to acquire products for gynecological examination and preparation.

These medical tools are designed and fabricated with oversized tips, guaranteeing efficient application.

The OBGYN swabs are sterile, highly absorbent and latex-free. When shopping for your swabs, you can purchase rayon or cotton tips. Also, consider acquiring cervical scrapers and collection devices along with your swabs for efficiency.

Sterile Polyester Tip Swabs

Puritan Sterile Polyester Swab, Regular Tip, 6", Polystyrene Shaft

Puritan Sterile Polyester Swab

If your laboratory or other medical space requires swabs for biological tests, it is important to consider polyester tip swabs.

These sterile devices are made using medical-grade polyester which is compatible with most lab tests.

For instance, the polyester tip swabs can be used in PCR testing, rapid test diagnostics and general microbiological analysis. The product is also useful in specimen collection, and its exceptional sterility will prevent sample contamination.

Sterile Rayon Swabs

Puritan Sterile Rayon Swab, Regular Tip, 6", Wood Shaft, 1000/cs

Puritan Sterile Rayon Swab

Rayon medical swabs are ideal for use in medical applications where cotton-tipped products are unsuitable.

Their soft and absorbent nature makes these swabs perfect for specimen collection.

In general, the tips of these tools are made using wood pulp. However, the natural material is processed extensively to eliminate compounds which could contaminate the specimen. Therefore, you can collect, process and transport your samples without concern.

Sterile Wound Measurement

Puritan Sterile Wound Measurement DM Stick, Foam Tip, 6", Polystyrene Shaft

Puritan Sterile Wound Measurement DM Stick, Foam Tip

Measuring surgical wounds, lacerations and other forms of damage can expose a patient to infections. Therefore, it is important to have sterile wound measurement swabs to acquire the right readings while minimizing the risk of infections.

Wound measurement sticks and swabs are favorable because they are flexible and use a metric rule.

Also, the foam tips at the end of the shafts are perfect for undermining, packing and tunneling around the wound.

Choosing The Right Sterile Medical Swabs

Puritan Double Sterile Polyester Swabs, Regular Tip, Polystyrene Shaft

Puritan Cell Collection Twin Pack Regular Tip Polyester Swabs

Choosing and purchasing the right medical swabs for your needs is not an insurmountable process. You will only need to consider your potential application of the medical tool in your work environment.

It is also advisable to compare the different tip sizes and shaft lengths and designs. In addition, you must think about the suitability of the shaft material for your applications.

If you are interested in a range of disposable swabs and applicators, consult Harmony for more information.