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Are there any alternatives to pipe-cleaning brushes?

Are there any alternatives to pipe-cleaning brushes?

Shop for Pipe Cleaning Brushes

Ratchet-handled pipe-cleaning tool has a pipe-cleaning brush attached to the tool but also has an abrasive part to clean the outside of pipes. A ratchet handle revolves the cleaning components around the pipe, cleaning it without the user having to apply much force. These tools are designed specifically for cleaning copper pipe and only come in the two most common sizes of pipe: 15mm and 22mm.

4-in-1 pipe-cleaning tool

4-in-1 cleaning and deburring tool can be used instead of pipe cleaning brushes (AKA tube, twisted or interior brushes) A 4-in-1 pipe-cleaning tool is very similar to a ratchet-handled pipe-cleaning tool but because it doesn’t have a ratchet handle the whole tool needs to be turned to clean the pipe. The tool consists of two sizes of pipe-cleaning brush to clean the internal surface of the pipe and two sizes of pipe cleaners for the external surface. The sizes allow preparation of 15mm and 22mm copper pipe.

Emery cloth 

Emery cloth can be used instead of pipe cleaning brushes (AKA tube, interior, spiral brushes) Emery cloth is an abrasive cloth that can be used to clean the inside and outside of a pipe or fitting. It comes in a range of grit sizes to suit different tasks.

Single-sided brushes

Single-sided wire brush can be used instead of a pipe cleaning brus (tube, spiral, twisted brush) Brushes with bristles on one side can be used for the same job as pipe-cleaning brushes. They require turning inside the pipe to clean the entire surface and most are only suitable for larger pipes. They are generally designed for cleaning more accessible surfaces.

Deburring tool

Deburring tool can be used instead of a pipe cleaning brush (AKA tube, interior of twisted brush) A deburring tool removes burrs (rough bits of metal on a cut edge of a metal object) with a small blade to leave a smoother surface.  This is called deburring. Fitting brushes also do this but not as efficiently.

End brushes

A knotted end brush can be used instead of a pipe cleaning brush (AKA tube, twisted or spiral brush) to clean internal threads End brushes are designed to clean internal threads of an object.  They fit into a power tool which spins them causing the bristles to flare out to the size of the pipe and rub away dirt from between the threads.  They can also be used on non-threaded pipes.

Pipe cleaners

Pipe cleaners can be used instead of pipe cleaning brushes (tube, twisted, bottle brushes) The pipe cleaner was first designed for the cleaning of smoking pipes. These days brightly coloured versions are a regular sight in children’s craft boxes. Don’t let that put you off though as they are very useful as soft cleaning brushes to remove dirt from more delicate fittings and tubes.


Pig brushes clean the length of the pipe and are an alternative to pipe-cleaning brushes (tube, spiral, twisted brushes) Pigs are brushes (or another cleaning material) that are attached to a line or pole at both ends and are drawn through a pipe to clean the entire length of it.  If you have access to both ends of a pipe, this can be a simpler technique than using a long stem.

Wonkee Donkee Tools