Techspray manufacturers high-quality swabs and applicators to serve a wide variety of cleaning and maintenance needs. We use specialized materials to ensure that our cotton swabs and foam swabs are durable and generate minimal particles during use.
The most common solvent for all types of cleaning is isopropyl alcohol (IPA), which is generally compatible with all types of swab materials. Sometimes a more aggressive solvent, like acetone or toluene, is required to remove stubborn contaminant like excess adhesive, stains, coatings, baked-on fluxes, and some biological materials. Solvent compatibility can be an important factor when selecting the best swab for your application.
Cotton swabs - Cotton bud swabs are most economical choice for high volume usage. Cotton bud swabs are very compatible with even the most aggressive cleaning solvents -- from mild IPA all the way to aggressive acetone. Cotton can have a tendency to snag on contacts (i.e. thru-hole leads) and leave particulates behind.
Foam swabs - Foam swabs are ideal for more precision cleaning where linting needs to be avoided. The tight cell structure of the polyurethan foam is less likely to snag compared to cotton, and it is still highly absorbent.
While cotton bud swabs (aka Q-tips) are commonly used for electronics cleaning, they can be blunt instruments for dense PCB designs. Techspray offers a pointed cotton swab (part #2313-30PK), a pointed foam swab (2309-1000) and small rounded foam swab (2311-1000) for cleaning tight areas.
Yes, cotton swabs are a common choice for electronics cleaning, cotton tends to lead behind threads and particulates. Open cell polyurethane foam swabs are a common, very clean replacement for cotton.
Just about any swab is compatible with isopropyl alcohol (IPA), but harsh solvents like acetone or toluene can cause foam swabs to swell and even break-down. For harsh solvents, cotton swabs are the best choice.