Washing up

soap-bubble-blog

The beginning of this section is written from the perspective of sharing the  methods and brushes that work for me  for the benefit of those somewhat new to the tube,  If you’ve been at this for a while, you will probably want to skip over the beginning, and  check out  the products further down the page. 

If you are using syringes with the plunger to push your meals, after washing the syringe and plunger in hot soapy water, dry the inside of the syringe.   You will find a method that works best for you.  What I do is just push the corner of a kitchen dish towel, or paper towel down into it using a regular table knife.  Of course they can be left to air dry, but keep in mind that the longer the rubber tips on the plungers are not inside of a syringe, the more they will swell up, and make subsequent use more difficult.

After you dry the plunger, run a little cooking oil around the edge of the rubber on the plunger, insert into the clean dry syringe, and pump the plunger up and down a couple of times, until you feel glide with ease.

I have the Miracle Syringes, with the o rings.  These will last you for months and months will proper care.  But, even the standard rubber tip syringes supplied by the durable medical equipment companies will last  longer if cared for in this fashion.

Some people who use the standard rubber tip syringes (instead of the o ring) swear by not washing them at all, only rinsing and wiping out, to make the plungers last longer, but, this was not something I felt comfortable  doing.

These bottle brushes will fit down into a standard 60 ml syringe for washing them.  Not all sponge type bottle brushes work well, but this one does.

simba baby rotary spinning brush blog

Simba Baby rotary spinning brush

You can find it on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DAHY9XO/ref=twister_B00DAHY9O8?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

(I’ve never really found a use for the nipple brush that comes with it)

 

This  bristle brush does not have densely packed bristles, and they go down into the syringe quite easily.  I think that a sponge type head on a handle cleans the smooth plastic surface of items such as syringes better than bristles, such as this brush has, but it does fit into a 60 ml syringe with ease, and has held up well.

carslile sparta small neck bottle brush blog

Carlisle Sparta small neck bottle brush

Here is the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ORCVPO/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

BRUSHES TO CLEAN TUBES

After searching off and on for years, I finally found a brush that would fit into extension sets, and was long enough to clean the entire length!  This brush’s handle  is 24″ long, and it comes in a two pack from Amazon    http://amzn.to/2dkYSEW

To say that I was overjoyed to find it doesn’t even begin to cover it!

Here it is shown inserted through a 12″ AMT  Mini One bolus extension set.

 

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Here is a closeup of the label on package:

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The handle tip projects slightly past the bristles, and  is metal, I would not suggest inserting in a long dangler tube all the way up to where the tube goes into the body, but this brush would definitely work on cleaning the dangler tube further out.   Just don’t even consider using it to unclog a g-tube by inserting in tube through the stoma.  The bristles and metal are both way too harsh to come in contact with the delicate mucosal lining of stomach.

I use this brush to clean my homemade  22″-24″ extension sets that are attached to the lid of the gravity feed bottles.  I like that I can squeeze the bottle, and force hot soapy water through the tube, and also clean the entire length with this brush.  It is such  win-win all the way around.

It is possible this brush will work with ENFit extension sets, I believe the id of ENFit (patient side) is 2.95 mm.  If you find the brush does not work with your ENFit tubing, the manufacturer of this brush makes one that is a smaller diameter .131″  (compared to this brush’s girth of .197″) you need to bristles to be larger than the bore of the tubing, so that they can reach it to clean it, but, it still needs to be able to fit down into it without damaging the tubing.  If and when I have an actual ENFit connector in my hands to physically examine, I will see if the brush will work with it.

 

The small small brushes shown below work  well to clean the ends of extension sets.  The larger one will not fit up through the bolus connector, but will go down into the tubing.  The two smaller ones will go through the bolus connector. Unfortunately, their handles are not long enough to reach the whole way through the tubing.  I think the handles are 6″-7″ long, so if you insert first from one end, then the other, you can reach the entire length of a 12″ extension set, but, the longer brushes shown above are my first choice.

straw brushes for blog

Alink Simple Drink Straw Cleaning Brush

Here is the Amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/Alink-Simple-Drink-Straw-Cleaning/dp/B011719COK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473220970&sr=8-1&keywords=alink+simple+straw+brush

 

 

Stretching the extension set tubing, after soaking in hot soapy water, and/or running the flat side of a table knife along the length of the tubing, can help dislodge residue stuck to the inside of the tubing where these nifty brushes cannot reach.

Or, you can use extra long pipe cleaners.  I’m not crazy about them, as they are only good for a couple of uses at best, and, the longest I’ve found are only 16″ long.  But, when inserting from both ends,  even the longest extension set  can be reached.

They are my least favorite option to clean tubing with.

These are are the ones I have:

https://www.amazon.com/Tube-Pipe-Cleaners-16-inches-Long/dp/B00AIPOJO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473221219&sr=8-1&keywords=gas+tube+pipe+cleaners

gas tube pipe cleaners

Gas tube pipe cleaners

 

NOT SO GREAT BRUSHES

At one point, I purchased the longest straw brush I could find.   I don’t like it, as there is nothing on the very tip of the twisted wire to protect the walls of the tubing as it is pushed through.  The bristles are almost too stiff, and, although it falls into the category of a better than having no brush, its not something I recommend.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Extra-Long-16-Inch-Bottle-Brush/dp/B008VT6N3U/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1473202651&sr=8-20&keywords=straw+brush

Here is what it looks like: extra long straw brush

 

I purchased these sponge bottle brushes because they were a good price,  and nice colors.  They would fit down into a 60 ml syringe, with effort, but fell apart pretty quickly because of this.   If using larger syringes, they probably would last longer (I use two different sizes of syringes) but they still, (in my opinion) are not an ideal sponge bottle cleaner for this purpose.

bottle brushes fail blog

Mr Siga bottle brush