Punchman's tips

Keeping Your Swazzle Sweet

Chris says:
I change my tape every five years, whether it needs it or not. Other performers claim to be continually wearing out their tape and re-winding their swazzles.

Maybe mine last longer because I keep them wet all the time. I have three or four on the go, and keep them in a small watertight plastic tub (smallest food container?) always immersed in water. When I get home after a show I empty the water, pour on mouthwash (medical, [b]not[/b] fluoride fresh breath type) I put the lid on, shake vigorously, pour off the mouthwash, replace with water, repeat, repeat until water stops foaming and remains clear.)
Every month or so I give the swazzles a treat with a bath in Milton (baby-bottle sterilizing liquid). But this must be a short immersion, and you must thoroughly rinse afterwards or the tape will rot.

Most profs will tell you to dry out your swazzles between use. I can only counter by stating that my method has had a good 30 years testing, and I very rarely have to replace tape. And when I do rewind it is usually because the swazzle has lost its curve and lost tone, rather than the tape having worn out.

Les Clarke writes:
I always just used to rinse them in tap water, which in Uk contains chlorine etc, and then add tiny amount of mouthwash, then allowed them to dry out. About 8(?) months ago I asked for advice on smelly swazzles after having had problems and wondering if it was due to the prolonged hot weather we had last year.

Chris suggested using Milton liquid - as used to sterilise baby items, and keeping the swazzles stored wet rather than allowing them to dry out. This has worked very well with no repeat of the problem.

Follow the instructions, only tiny amounts are needed, and metal containers must be avoided - so if adding to the wet container it really must be a tiny amount. Really small screw top platic containers are available from camping shops to carry the swazzles in.

As a final precaution, after 3 newish swazzles going mouldy last year, I realised that at the end of the day the used swazzles may well sit around in hot weather in the small container for several hours while packing and travelling home, so I now take another bigger plastic container along, with water and tiny amount of Milton to carry them home, so even if I forget to rinse them out they will be OK.

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