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Laboratory Grade Clean Wipes

by J.Edwards

Kimwipes As watchmakers, we are continually at odds with dust and the tiny fibres that are seemingly able to defy gravity and find their way into the airspace above our benches. We wipe down our benchtops every day and strive to keep our workspaces pristine. We guard our doorways with cleanroom tacky mats and don lab coats to help contain any contaminant matter that may have followed us into work from home. For those fortunate enough to have an HVAC system equipped with the appropriate cleanroom technology, some of us even go so far as to keep the relative air pressure in our workspaces higher than any surrounding rooms, using clean, filtered air. This helps keeps dust at bay by having clean air pour out of the room anytime a door or window is opened, as opposed to having potentially contaminated air flow into the room.

Whether equipped with the latest and greatest clean room equipment or not, though, none of it is of much use if one or more of the sources of small fibres and dust particles resides in the very room you’re trying to keep spotless. Potential culprits? Paper towel and Kleenex. If your Kleenex box is anything like mine, a micro-volcanic eruption of dust and small fibres occurs every time a fresh Kleenex is removed from the thin plastic membrane that holds the remaining Kleenex tissues in place. Likewise, each time a paper towel is torn away from the roll tiny fibres and fragments of bleached pulp are unleashed into the atmosphere. This is no good.

Fortunately, Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Kleenex, have a solution. In addition to Kleenex, the company also manufactures a professional line of lint free, laboratory grade clean wipes that are used everyday in cleanrooms around the world. The product, which is sold under the Kimtech brand as Kimwipes, comes in a variety of sizes that are useful for a number of tasks in a watchmaker’s workspace. A friend, who works in the chemistry department of the local university, first introduced me to Kimwipes over the Christmas Holidays last year. In our watch lab, we started with a box of small, 4.4″ x 8.4″ Kimwipes to take on routine tasks such as cleaning out old oil and grease from our oil cups or wiping old moly off of mainsprings and they worked out fantastically. The smaller size proved to be a little too small for wiping down the benches and counters in our lab everyday, though, despite the fact that the wipes are incredibly absorbent, and we later took the plunge on a box of larger, 14.5″ x 16.5″ wipes, which have taken to the task supremely well. This small change, which has only cost us pennies more per month to implement, has brought our workspace to an entirely new level of cleanliness.

You can find Kimwipes on Amazon or your nearest cleanroom or laboratory supplier.

One word of caution: Don’t tear them. If you don’t quite need a full Kimwipe, it is better to cut off what you do need with a pair of scissors. Kimwipes render a nice, clean, lint free-edge when cut, but will yield a fibrous edge that may produce lint when they are torn.

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