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The Best Pipe Cleaners

Last updated on June 17, 2024

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Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Pipe Cleaners

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Best for Cleaning Pipes

Mantello Cotton Filler Pipe Cleaners, 176-Count

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Mantello

Cotton Filler Pipe Cleaners, 176-Count

If your looking for a high-quality set of pipe cleaner that can tackle a variety of cleaning tasks, these stems are the way to go. You get a whopping 176 pieces for a low price, so you can expect the set to last for a long time. Since the cleaners are made using 100% cotton filler, you can count on them being highly absorbant.

Overall Take

Most VersatileIn addition to cleaning dirty pipes, these pipe cleaners can be used to restore old ham radios or to create a host of kids crafts.

 Best for Crafts

Carl & Kay Assorted Color Chenille Stems, 348-Count

Carl & Kay

Assorted Color Chenille Stems, 348-Count

You'll get 348 pieces in 29 different colors in this chenille stems package, with each wire measuring 12 inches by 6 millimeters. The pipe cleaners are made from nontoxic wire and fiber to provide long-lasting play while also keeping your kids safe. You'll also get a bonus package of 48 adhesive googly eyes in various sizes to enhance your designs.

Overall Take

Bonus Googly EyesAccent your projects with fun eyes with this set, which includes a pack of 48 adhesive googly eyes with the pipe cleaners.

 Best for Plants

Creativity Street AC711208 Reusable Pipe Cleaners, 100-Count

Creativity Street

Reusable Pipe Cleaners, 100-Count

Each of these chenille stems bags includes 100 pieces that are all reusable. The stems bend, twist and are crush resistant. You can order the pipe cleaners in one of 12 different colors, including green, pink, dark blue, orange and yellow.

Overall Take

Super EconomicalYou won't have any trouble stocking your craft room with these chenille stems, as they have a budget-friendly price tag.

 Best Value

zees products Sculpture Pipe Cleaners, 1000-Count

zees products

Sculpture Pipe Cleaners, 1000-Count

Whether you're a teacher or parent, these pipe cleaners will provide plenty of colorful pieces for all your craft projects. You'll get 100 cleaners each of 10 different colors: black, white, red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, green, light blue and navy. The pipe cleaners come with a high-quality resealable bag to make cleanup and storage easy betwe...

Overall Take

Colorful PickThese pipe cleaners come in a large quantity, making them a great value for classroom projects.

Buying Guide

Even if you’ve never smoked a pipe in your life, you’ve probably had a need to purchase pipe cleaners at some point. Often the first time these chenille stems appear is in elementary school, when they’re required as part of some type of craft project. In fact, if you find yourself with a house full of bored children, there’s an unlimited number of fun items you can build using pipe cleaners.

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The long, flexible design of pipe cleaners makes them popular for crafting floral arrangements. But you’ll also find you can buy adornments like sew-on eyes and glitter, then glue them on to create fun little creatures and objects. If you and your kids need a little inspiration, you can go online and research some projects others have created using pipe cleaners, then gather the supplies you need to start creating.

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But there are practical uses for pipe cleaners, as well. You can, of course, use them to clean a pipe, although if that’s your end purpose, you may not have a need for the many brightly-colored packs available. Antique restorers and other DIYers also keep them around for getting into the nooks and crannies of items they’re cleaning up. If you’re buying pipe cleaners for that type of purpose, look for chenille stems (ones that hav fuzzy bristles that can scrub as well as a nylon brush would).

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Children and pipe smokers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from having a pack of pipe cleaners around, though. They can be put to use as ponytail holders or napkin rings, making them handy to have around for those emergency situations. If you ever have something in your home you need to clean but you can’t get into a small nook or cranny, a good pipe cleaner can get in there and scrub. You can also use them as decorative bows on your cards and gifts.

What to Look For

  • Whether you’re using your pipe cleaners for cleaning or crafting, the wire is crucial. It needs to be strong enough to retain its strength if you need to bend it in several different ways while you’re working while also being flexible enough to develop the shape you want.
  • If you use your pipe cleaner for cleaning, look for one with strong bristles. They’ll need to be able to scrub the surfaces without you directly pressing on them since you won’t be able to get your finger into the tight spaces the pipe cleaner will be going.
  • If you’re buying pipe cleaners for craft projects, keep in mind that the examples you see on the packaging and advertising use accessories that won’t come with your pipe cleaners. So, if you’ve bought a pack of pipe cleaners for something to do on a day home from school, make sure you invest in items like googly eyes, popsicle sticks and plenty of glue sticks. You can buy craft supplies kits that include a wide range of items for all your craft projects.
  • One thing that sets most pipe cleaner packs apart is the colors included. You’ll find plenty of multicolor packs but consider that you may occasionally need neutral colors or blacks and whites to create a certain look. If you’re planning on floral projects, make sure you have plenty of greens and yellows in your supplies.
  • The quantity of pipe cleaners included in the kit is an important consideration, as well. If you’re a teacher preparing projects for an entire class, you’ll probably benefit from a larger kit, but thousands of pipe cleaners could become a clutter issue if your crafting project only involves one or two kids.
  • If you do find yourself with an excess of leftover pipe cleaners, there are plenty of other things you can do with them. They can come in handy as ponytail holders or just for getting into those small spaces while you’re cleaning items like your can opener.

More to Explore

History of Pipe Cleaners

Throughout the 1800s, inventors were coming up with innovative new ways to clean tobacco pipes, but none of them looked like the pipe cleaners of today. In 1896, though, the pipe-stem cleaner patented by Fredrick Frick was the first device to mimic what we know as modern pipe cleaners. Before Frick’s invention, pipe cleaners could best be compared to chicken feathers, with a central shaft that had brushes attached that could fit into the stem of a pipe. This design was invented by John Harry Stedman and Charles Angel in the early 1900s and was sold to BJ Long Company, which continues to make pipe cleaners today.

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