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There are so many different types of pipe-cleaning brush it would be impossible to list them all but here are the main types that you will find on the market:
Pipe-cleaning brushes for cleaning pipe fittings, particularly copper fittings before they are soldered (joined with molten metal), are usually made of metal to provide enough abrasion to deburr (remove tiny pieces of rough metal from cut metal)and remove dirt and any oxide coating that may have formed. Copper reacts slowly with oxygen in the air to form the oxide coating. This coating actually protects the copper from corroding but it has to be removed before the copper parts can be soldered together.The head of the brush is cylindrical to fit the shape of the pipe.
They have short stems, as they do not need to reach far into the pipe, and they often have flat wooden or plastic handles to allow greater precision during the cleaning process.
Most fitting brushes are designed to prepare copper joints for soldering. The bristles make scratches in the copper so that the solder can adhere to it more securely. The brushes also polish the copper and remove any layer of oxidation that may have built up over time.
Valve brushes are designed to gently but thoroughly remove dirt that has built up in a valve, a part that regulates the flow of a liquid or gas.
Valve pipe-cleaning brushes usually have softer bristles than fitting brushes; if they are too abrasive they could damage the valve.
Valves occur in every industry, as well as the home. In the plumbing industry, valves regulate the flow of water through the pipes and sometimes need to be cleaned if they get blocked.
The medical industry uses valves to regulate the flow of fluids or gases during operations. It is essential the parts are kept clean and sterilised to avoid passing on diseases to other patients.
At home, valve brushes can be used for cleaning musical instruments with valves and tubes, such as trumpets and water-bottle lids with a drinking valve or filter.
Boiler-flue pipe-cleaning brushes
Boiler-flue brushes are for cleaning smaller parts of fire boilers. They are very similar to valve brushes but are specifically designed for removing soot.
Most brush heads are cylindrical but some are rectangular.
Their bristles are usually of soft to medium stiffness, made from nylon or polypropylene, so they can dislodge the dirt effectively but do not damage the inside surface of the flue. Some boiler-flue sets will include brushes with steel heads for less delicate parts.
Pipe-cleaning brushes for power tools
Pipe-cleaning brushes for power tools usually have metal bristles. They are designed for intense, quick cleaning when manual power is too time consuming or not thorough enough.
They have a shank end, instead of a handle or loop, to fit into the power tool securely.
Other pipe-cleaning brushes
Brushes for every cleaning job are available. Some examples include long radiator (also known as ‘spoke’) brushes with bristles made from a soft fibre for cleaning in and amongst hard-to-reach places of an object (e.g. a radiator or machinery)hosepipe cleaning brushes with long stems for cleaning flexible pipes and aquarium filter systems and large pipe cleaning brushes perfect for unblocking sink plumbing.