What cotton swabs to buy for airbrush cleaning

Good day fellow modelers,

I’m wondering which cotton swabs I can buy best for cleaning my airbrushes.
Currently, I have these cotton swabs: https://www.hoogvliet.com/product/derlon-wattenstaafjes2
I don’t like these cotton swabs, because they are getting fluffy relatively quickly and they can break easily when a lot of pressure is put upon them.
Especially the fluffyness that can happen relatively quickly, is something that doesn’t help me with cleaning my airbrush.
It leaves lint and fibers and I don’t know, but I think they can make the airbrush behave badly if these lints or fibers get on places where they shouldn’t be.

I have already looked here: Hulpmiddelen
But I don’t know what size and ‘model’ I would need.
I’m not sure about the price, but I don’t want them to be to expensive as well.
Since I’m cleaning my airbrush a lot and very frequently due to problems, experimintation with paint etc.
So not be to expensive would be great as well.

I hope you can help me,


I use Tamiya’s. They make a variety of sizes and shapes that I find are perfect for fitting into the various openings of the airbrush. I mostly use the two smallest sizes - triangular and round. Not sure about cost effectiveness, but given the cost of the airbrush, I don’t consider it a major expensive to keep it clean.

It’s also a good idea to have an airbrush cleaning needle to help get any paint that has solidified.


I just use a big pack of Johnson & Johnson buds. I would recommend inter-dental brushes for the hard to reach places.


Same here. They’re a game changer — well worth the expense — very useful to have around the modeling bench in general. HTH.


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You are quite right in your suspicions, I use J&J Q-Tips to clean my AB and unknowingly plugged the cone with lent . .

. . . after quite an effort with a fine wire trying to unplug the nozzle, I realized I had this tool and it works perfectly for cleaning the cone/nozzle orifice.

If I remember correctly you have a nice Harder Steenbeck airbrush, so as mentioned above, the expense of a good cotton swab is negligible vs. the investment of an expensive painting tool.

Cajun :crocodile:

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A couple months back I was having trouble with gunk accumulating in my airbrush. Some of it was coming from cotton swabs and paper towels used during cleaning. A person in these forums suggested using a wire brush instead. Since switching to small wire brushes for cleaning, the gunk is gone.

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I don’t use them because the fibers come off and get in the nozzle. Instead I’ll use an old paint brush that I keep dipped in a bottle of water or thinner, and interdental brushes for any small orifices that require cleaning - they’re much easier on your brush than those pipe cleaners they give you. Also, paper towel stuck into the cup with a finger will remove most of the paint right off the bat, then you can get going with your airbrush cleaning solution (which is usually acetone in my case).