I am using pipe cleaners as an adjuster for my masks. How can I clean the pipe cleaner so that it does not rust?

I have read that when washed they rust. And in summary this is bad for health.

Any help is kindly appreciated

  • The pipe-cleaner solution offered by @Stan in your earlier question is a good solution, but they are really cheap. One online shopping site is selling 140 cleaners for 4 GBP, which is less than 3 pennies each. I suggest discarding it and not trying to clean. And for about the same price you can buy a reel of 2 or 3 mm aluminium wire as suggested in an answer here. Jul 12, 2020 at 10:51
  • @WeatherVane OK, I'll try with the reel of 2 or 3 mm aluminum wire. Thank you Jul 12, 2020 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


pipe cleaners rust when they are kept in a damp state. If you want to wash them in soap and water, you have to dry them out thoroughly when done- or else they will rust.

a better solution is to use aluminum wire inserted into a seam in the mask for maintaining shape. aluminum wire will not rust and is sold in hardware stores for hanging pictures on walls. If a single strand is not stiff enough, multiple strands of it can easily be twisted together to form a stiffer wire.

It is not expensive, and can be easily cut with a small hand tool called a diagonal cutter, also available in hardware stores.

  • Thank you for your help, I'll try the aluminum wire. Jul 12, 2020 at 16:45
  • Aluminium wire is brittle: bend it a few times and it'll break. Copper wire is better in this regard.
    – Hobbes
    Jul 13, 2020 at 7:37
  • True, but copper will turn the cloth green. Commercially-made dust masks use a thin, glued-on aluminum strip over the bridge of the nose to make it conform. Seems to work fine. Jul 13, 2020 at 15:35

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