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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Q is for Q-Tips

I was in a quandary as to what to do my essay on this week for Mrs. Matlock's AlphabeThursday. I think Baby Gays are perfect. Read on to find out why.

In 1923  Leo Gerstenzang, the original founder of the Q-tips Company, observed his wife applying wads of cotton to toothpicks to clean their child's ears and came up with  the idea of manufacturing a ready-to-use cotton swab.
They were originally called Baby Gays and in 1926, the labels were changed to read Q-tips Baby Gays. Later the name Baby Gays was discarded and Q-tips became the name for the  cotton swabs.

Did you know that the Q in Q-tips stands for quality and the word tips describes the cotton swab at the end of the stick? I didn't!

While Q-Tips were originally made to be used as an ear cleaner it is now discouraged - we are told to put nothing in our ears smaller than our elbow. So what do we do with those hundreds of little Q-Tips? Well I just happen to have a few tips for you!

Top 10 Uses for Q-Tips (Plus One or Two)

  1. Detail Your Car – Use Q-tips to clean the vent slits and the small grooves on your dashboard by dipping the tip in water or Armor All
  2. Painting Tool – If you are painting with acrylics or oils, you will find that Q-tips are a painters favorite tool to do small touch ups of random paint drippings.  Also painters like to cut the cotton tip off, at a desired angle, so that they can add small details and texture to their oil paintings..
  3. Clean Behind Faucets – If your bathroom and kitchen faucets are like mine, there is a small reservoir of collected water behind the fixture and the lip of the sink.  Use the length of the Q-tip to wipe clean that reservoir while still keeping your hands clean.
  4. Keyboard Cleaner – You should clean your work keyboard once a month at the least.  While the power is off, shake your keyboard upside down to loosen dust and crumbs.  Then dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and wipe down the top and sides of every key.  This might take some time, but you will be sure to kill any bacteria from sneezing and eating at your desk.
  5. Seals Envelopes – If you are planning a wedding, you might not want to lick all 100 invitation envelopes closed.  Instead, dip one or two Q-tips into a small bowl of water, shake excess water off then wipe on your envelopes for the moisture you need to make a secure  bond.
  6. Spot Treat Clothes – If you drop a spot of food on your clothes and you know you won’t be able to wash it right away, dip a Q-tip in some fresh water then into your laundry detergent.  Rub that solution over the front of the stain until the cotton tip picks up the spot.  Repeat with clean Q-tips and solution on the front and back of the stain until you are satisfied the spot won’t stain.  Then toss the clothes into the dirty laundry basket for future cleaning.
  7. Cleaning up stray nail polish - after a home manicure or pedicure. Just dip the tip into nail polish remover (don’t oversaturate) and gently rub away polish. 
  8.  Sticky Stuff- When using sticky or messy substances like superglue and engine grease, cotton swabs are a great way to get the job done without getting your hands dirty. 
  9. Arts and Crafts - glue them together and make awesome snowflakes to decorate for winter. You can build forts and fake glasses. What about a 3D replica of a bridge. 
  10. Makeup Tool – Use the cotton tip to smudge eyeliner and eyeshadow for a softer look.  You can also dip a clean Q-tip in some makeup remover to easily remove eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara mistakes with great precision. Plus the following:
    • Smudging and softening eyeliner. After lining the upper lids, use a swab to gently smudge the liner to soften thick lines.
    • Pressing on false eyelashes. Once you’ve attached the lash to the lip, use the tip of the swab to press and hold the lash in place until it dries. (do women still use these?)
    • Removing mascara smears or oopsies. Slightly dampen the tip and dab away any stray mascara.
    • Applying lip gloss. Keep your lip brush from getting gloppy with gloss by using a fresh Q-Tip to apply that final glossy finish.
    • Cleaning around your ears. Saturate the cotton tips with your regular facial toner or witch hazel and gently swipe around the inner curve of the upper lobe and for heaven’s sake, clean up behind those ears.
    • Spot treating a zit. Dab your pimple potion on the end of the Q-Tip and dot it directly on the breakout.
    • Zapping a whitehead. When a whitehead is clearly about to burst at the worst possible moment, take a Q-Tip in each hand and gently squeeze upward on each side of the mountain of puss until it makes its way to the surface. I recommend you cleanse the area before and after.
    • Applying makeup in a pinch. When your makeup brushes are filthy or you’re on the road, use Q-Tips to apply concealer, eyeshadow and lip gloss.
    1. The bonus tip: use Q-tips to apply calamine lotion to poison ivy or poison oak.  
    2. The bonus, bonus tip: Home Improvement - Use them for detailed home improvement jobs like applying tile grout, re-caulking your bathtub, and spackling nail holes.

    There is even a Facebook Page dedicated to "Countless Uses for QTips" if you want more ideas.

    What do you use your Q-Tips for?


    1. This has been Quite an educational post! Thanks for TIPS!

      Thankfully I will not have to use the tip regarding Poison Ivy as we don't have that over here!

      Best wishes,

    2. I never knew that the q stood for quality-- that makes sense! Thanks for the informative post.

    3. This was great! I use them for removing the last traces of whatever it is shouldn't be there!!

    4. Thanks for the Q-tips uses! I have done a few of the things you're listing here, removing make-up, painting, cleaning my computer mouse, etc..

      Will try the other tips too :-)

    5. That is very interesting how Q-tips came to be. I never knew that. I still have them on the bathroom sink and we use them after showering, although we don't put them too far in the ear LOL. I also use them for a variety of other things. I think they are great. Great Q post.

    6. Clever Q-post!
      I use Q-tips for all kinds of things. Great post!

    7. thank you for such an informative post on Q tips..
      pleasure to know you..
      Mine is here
      Happy Sensational Wednesday!

    8. what a clever Q post ... i love all of the ideas, i have been using mine to clean behind the fawcet for years ...

    9. totally informative Q post :D

    10. Good suggestions.
      But when we did my daughter's invites a month ago, I just made my kids lick all of them.
      Why did we have so many kids if it wasn't to use their saliva for our benefit! :D

    11. Such a little product with so many excellent uses. I'm never without them!

    12. Q tips what pain when they go to far

    13. Love the tips about the tips!
      I'll be trying some of those out. Thanks :)
      By the way, over here (England) we call them cotton buds :)

    14. I love Q-tips! One of my blogging friend calls her fuzzy headed baby Q-tip and it makes me laugh!

      Thank heavens I didn't have to delete your link.

      I saw the Baby Gay's and thought...oh no... although what that meant I had absolutely no idea!

      Thanks for a fun and informative stop on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's Letter "Q"!


    15. We always have them in the house, but I never use them... except for fingernail polish.

    16. Quite a clever post! I never even thought about the origin of the Q-tip. Thanks for the information. Q for quality. :-)

    17. That was an awesome Q! Very clever. I have to say though I do not use Q-tips not since one got stuck in my Moms ear and she had to go to the ER....I do like them for makeup though:) Thanks for the input on my Questions....I do appreciate it, and what great feedback I was given.

    18. i am a big fan of the baby gay...and i have to admit..i do NOT head the warning...they go in my ears!

    19. I have to laugh...I wrote about baby gays too...can you believe it?

    20. What a smart and informative post. It didn't even occur to me and they're right there in my bathroom. I use them for cleaning delicate figurines and tiny areas on old dolls too. Good ideas.

    21. I'm bad, I still use them in my ears (very carefully). And they came in really handy when we did our kitchen reno - great for cleaning up grout boo boos on glass tile! Fun post. Kathy

    22. Thanks for all the "TIPS" ! LOL Very 'educamational'. I'm following you back from Q! I'm a new follower!


    23. that is a already a long list of things to use q-tips for, thanks for sharing

      & thanks for visiting my alphabe-thursday

    24. Som many hints and (Q)-Tips - thanks for sharing them!

    25. Yeah. I still clean my ears with them. That's pretty much all I use them for. I love those tips, though. Q-tip tips. :)

    26. It was fun to read about Q-tips! Dontcha wish that we could come up with a nifty idea/invention such as these?

      Blessings & Aloha!
      (finally back home and trying to catch up on blog reading before the next Alphabe-Thursday!)

      Thank you for stopping by! As a dental hygientist, one of the ways we use "cotton tip applicators" (as they are called on the box, but I would rather just say "Q-tips"): to apply fluoride gel on the teeth of our patients :o)

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