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Swabs: Cotton, Foam, or Polyester Wrapped Fabric?

As with wipes, there are many choices when it comes to selecting a clean swab for optics cleaning. The major selections are cotton, foam, and polyester. They may be found as single ended or double ended, single tipped or bifurcated, wood or plastic handle, and antistatic. Some swab tips are attached by spinning, gluing, wrapping, or shrinking. Each type and construction has different specifications regarding releasable particles and fibers. Wood and cotton shed the most contaminants. Foam is not as soft or absorbant as polyester woven fabric. Glues may release contaminants dry or when used with fluid cleaners such as isopropyl alcohol. Fiber optic swabs are available both as cylindrical tip for adapters or cupped tip for connector endface and side combination cleaning. There are two main sizes: 2.5 mm and 1.25 mm diameters. Both dry and wet swabs are available, though dry are most common for fiber optics connector cleaning sizes. The same standards used for choosing wipes should be followed when choosing swabs. Look for polyester tipped plastic and/or antistatic swabs rated for ISO Class 4 (Class 100) or better.

Best Swabs:
General: ISO Class 4 (Class 100) or better
Laundered (0.45 micron filtered) Polyester Knit Antistatic Handle