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Tuesday Tips: Pipe Cleaners Aren't Just for Making Masks

Jackie Vujcich cleaning quilting tools masks pipe cleaners



Pipe cleaners also known as chenille sticks come in many colors and two sizes which I called skinny and fat (technical terms, ya know) .


large-pipe-cleaners   (fat)

Before I entered the quilting world, when I heard the term pipe cleaners, I thought of children's crafts.

You can see more of these cute figures on the YouTube channel
DIY How to make easy Pipe Cleaner | 365 Life Hacks"  here.

But now that I'm in the quilting world they've taken on new references for me.


Yes, chenille pipe cleaners work great as the nose insert for face masks. They keep the mask nice and tight around the nose. As you are constructing the mask, just make a casing wide enough and then insert the pipe cleaner.

As I work on quilting a project, I like to change thread colors to match the fabric.  That means I have to keep track of several spools of thread and their bobbins. Before I thought of using a pipe cleaner, the bobbins seemed to grow legs and walk away!


By stringing both bobbin and thread spool on a pipe cleaner, those bobbins don't have a chance of getting lost anymore!


I once worked with a gentleman who fixed/cleaned sewing machines.  The thing he stated most was that lint was your sewing machine's worst enemy (followed second by not lubricating the machine often). Clean your sewing machine regularly to get the most out it. Pipe cleaners are a great way to clean your machine by allowing you to get into all those tiny spaces.

First you want to unplug the machine-safety first.  Then you need to raise the needle to the top /upright position. Next lift the presser foot up so that the tension discs are open.

Now you can run a pipe cleaner through the tension disc area.

pipe-cleaner-cleaning-tension-disc-area-of-sewing-machine               pipe-cleaner-cleaning-tension-disc-area-of-sewing-machine-front-view


Next you need to remove the bobbin and the bobbin case (if your machine can do that).

pipe-cleaner-cleaning-bobbin-area-of-sewing-machine1   pipe-cleaner-cleaning-bobbin-area-of-sewing-machine

               Skinny pipe cleaner                               Fat pipe cleaner

Clean the lint out of those hard-to-reach-places with either a skinny or fat pipe cleaner.



As you can see, quite a bit of lint hides out in the bed of your machine. I was just getting started.

If the pipe cleaner is giving you fits, you can either use a fat pipe cleaner (like the white one above) or make a sturdier one be cutting a  small piece of a skinny one and sticking it into a coffee stirring straw.

Getting off topic here a little bit. Other alternatives that you can either find around the house or at the Dollar Store are: paint brushes, makeup brushes, tweezers, sewing machine lint brush, Q-tip, and hemostat. If you're in a bind, they all help with lint removal.

multi-substitues-for-pipe-cleaners-to-clean-sewing-machines-like-brushes- and-hemostats

Many think that using canned spray air (such as Falcon Dust Off Disposable Air Duster compressed air can) is a good alternative.  But it packs the lint further into the bed of the machine rather than sucking it out.  Actually any brand of canned air will do the same thing.

         Falcon-Dust-Off-Disposable-Air-Duster -compressed-air-can                               Schneider-Industries-Micro-Vacuum-Attachment-7-Piece-Kit 
If you are going to make a purchase I'd suggest Schneider Industries Micro Vacuum Attachment 7 Piece Kit or similar brand. You attach the small hose to your vacuum cleaner and suck the lint out.


Well I'm out of tips for now. 

There are more Tuesday Tip Blogs on my site here. You also might like the Monday Motivational Blogs here. You can be in the know and get discounts and freebies with our Quilters' Club (aka newsletter) by signing up on the bottom of any of the pages on the web site.

Until next time,

Happy quilting, Jackie

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