Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

MZ_Toolbox2010.gif

When you need to clean something small or delicate, such as precision instruments or optics, don’t reach for a dirty microfiber cloth or lint-leaving and potentially scratchy paper towel, use a Kimwipe. Kimwipes are disposable delicate task wipers that are intended for use in laboratories and industrial settings, but they are every bit as versatile in home workshops.

“Delicate task wipers” has always sounded strange to me, but I suppose the distinction is necessary to avoid confusing Kimwipes with Kleenex tissues or ordinary tissue paper. But that’s essentially what Kimwipes are – sheets of high quality low-lint tissue paper.

Kimwipes, made by Kimberly Clark Professional, are available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. I mainly use the smallest size Kimwipes, product code 34155, which are 1-ply 4.4 x 8.4 inch sheets. Although the sheets are somewhat small, they’re more than enough for most minor tasks. Plus, the dispenser box has an extremely small footprint, making it much more likely I’ll keep them within reach.

These wipers are relatively tight-knit and as lint-free as you could ever ask for. They won’t clean up sopping-wet messes, but they can handle small cleanups with ease. While you can use Kimwipes with optics, you have to be very light or use them wet with lens-cleaning solution to avoid scratching delicate coatings or surfaces.

Kimwipe, backlit to show texture

A couple of years back when I learned how to polish soft metallurgical samples (e.g. solder balls for microscopy), I was taught that Kimwipes are fine to use on softer samples that have been polished with up to 1200 grit abrasives. After that, a blast of dry nitrogen works better for scratch-free drying. I don’t know whether this is one man’s practice or standard convention, but the habit stuck with me when cleaning the extremely delicate surfaces.

I have no experience with other brands’ disposable wipers, but have had no complaints with Kimwipes in the 10-years or so that I’ve been using them regularly. I typically order 1-2 boxes (280-count) at a time for ~$5 each including shipping (via Amazon).

Stuart Deutsch is a tool enthusiast, critic, and collector, and writes his passion at ToolGuyd.

Stuart Deutsch

When I am not testing and reviewing new tools, I am working on robotics, electronics, woodworking, and other types of projects.

I am also interested in microscopy, the physical sciences, and new technologies.

I write more about tools and workshop topics over at ToolGuyd.com.


Related

Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Kimwipes are great, but they’re not as lint free as you say.
    Particularly on surfaces that are not completely smooth, lint is left behind.
    While this may not be an issue for many home uses, in a laboratory environment – particularly in optics or microfabrication – a more specialized wipe may be more appropriate.

    1. I definitely agree on this one. When doing anything in the lab, I try to use filtered air to dry things rather than a kimwipe. They leave lint on silicone surfaces like it was a magnet.

    2. You and Last_Raven both bring up good points. Are they lint-free in a microfab or high-precision optics sense? No way. But for general purpose lab use and home use, even if not completely lint-free they’re still practically lint-free, especially compared to paper towels.

      Unfortunately, I also found out the hard way that using Kimwipes on silicone surfaces is a big mistake.

  2. Jeff Coy says:

    I think it’s important to note that this is nothing more than yet another thinly veiled ad for stuff you don’t need.

    Bye make, I used to like you but it’s literally been 2 weeks of solid ads on facebook. There’s just no point in following anymore.

  3. David says:

    For my eye glasses, I use many-times-laundered cotton T-Shirts. No lint, no scratch, and absorbent.

    1. Kris Lee says:

      Same here. A good thing is that one is always with me.

      1. David says:

        It is best to use a clean T-Shirt fresh out of the laundry. Since most eye lenses are plastic not glass, they must NOT be cleaned when dry. Wet glasses, wet finger tip and rub on mild soap bar then glasses, rinse then dry.,

  4. ameyring says:

    I use them all the time in my work lab for polishing glass and metal parts for spectroscopy. They do a great job and don’t leave unnacceptable amounts of lint. I’m afraid they’ll cost a pretty penny if you buy them for personal use, so check prices and compare to using things like old t-shirts (which are great for some uses as well). Anothing thing to do is prevent dust in the first place by storing items in air-tight containers. It can be too much unnecessary work to remove dust.

  5. Jay Dee says:

    Great product! Have used them for years and years but not so good for blowing your nose on. After a little while tears up the nose something fierce.

  6. oscar says:

    THESE ARE NOT LENS CLEANING TISSUE.
    If you want to clean optics using a wipe and if it matters whether you scratch the optics then unless your optical surfaces are REALLY hard then you want to use lens cleaning tissue. It is expensive but it works.
    These are great for the other jobs but NOT for optics.