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Pipe Cleaners Are Not Just for Smokers

While these are items that, at one time, would have conjured up the aroma of tobacco and images of men inhaling the smoke from its slowly smouldering leaves in the bowl of an intricately carved Meerschaum, pipe cleaners also have some rather more mundane uses. Rather than being used mainly to clear the stem of some gentleman’s well-loved briar, they have become an increasingly important tool within the food industry, where they help to preserve the high standards of hygiene essential for the preparation of any product that is destined for human consumption.

Pipelines are widely used in many industries to transport almost anything from gas and liquids to thick, viscous slurries and even certain solids. Within the food industry, pureed preparations of fruit or vegetables and edible oils are often transported in this manner. Without access to suitable pipe cleaners, not only would pipeline blockages be a more frequent occurrence but any residual nutrients that may have been left adhering to their internal surface would quickly become a breeding ground for pathogens such as E.coli or listeria. While flushing a pipeline is important, only the additional abrasive action of these specialised cleaning tools are able to provide the assurance that every last trace of the nutrients present has been flushed.

Keeping these tools clean is every bit as important as carrying out the tasks for which they are designed. After each use, it is then the pipe cleaners that become the potential reservoirs of infection and contaminants that could be introduced into other tubes or pipes. Although washing with a suitable detergent may be quite sufficient to remove physical detritus and chemical contaminants, this type of cleansing alone will be insufficient to prevent the replication of bacteria.

To rid these tools of both live bacteria and any that might survive in the form of spores that could germinate later, only superheated steam is effective. It is obtained by boiling water in a pressurised vessel known as an autoclave. The necessary temperature of 120 °C is attained at a pressure of 1 bar and requires 30 minutes to guarantee sterility. Pipe cleaners, therefore, need to be made from a material that is able to withstand this high temperature. For this quality, the tough range of polypropylene products manufactured by Vikan has become the preferred choice among many of those engaged in the preparation of processed foods as well as those in the pharmaceutical industry or engaged in certain medical activities for which high standards of hygiene are just as crucial, if not more so.

They can be supplied with either hard or medium bristles as necessary and are available in a variety of sizes for use with pipes and tubes of different diameters. For convenience, these Vikan pipe cleaners can be manipulated as necessary by attaching a choice of threaded handles. In addition, these products may also be used to clean drains.

Vikan hygiene products are recognised throughout the world for their quality and long-term reliability. In South Africa, these world-class products are available from Pescatech.


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