Q-tips are the original brand of cotton swabs, also called cotton buds or ear buds, and today many people use the term q-tip to refer to any generic cotton swab. A cotton bud is made of a small wooden or plastic rod with a wad of cotton wrapped around each end. They are used for a variety of purposes such as first aid, cleaning, applying cosmetics and for arts and crafts. They were originally invented to be used as an ear cleaner, but this practice is no longer recommended because of the potential to damage the sensitive ear drum. Let’s find out who invented this useful product.
Who invented Q-tips
The Q-tip was invented in 1923 by Leo Gerstenzang. Although there are many stores about how he came up with the idea the most common is that he saw his wife applying cotton wads to a toothpick to clean areas that were otherwise hard to reach. For his original design he used wads of cotton to toothpicks so this story may have some truth to it. He named the product “Baby Gays” and founded the Leo Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Company to market the product. In 1926 he renamed the product “Q-Tips Baby Gays” with the Q standing for quality. Later the Baby Gays part of the name was dropped and they were simply known as “Q-Tips.”
Did you know?
The Q-Tip brand name is now owned by the British-Dutch company Unilever.
Not only is using cotton swabs for removing ear wax potentially dangerous, but it may actually compact the wax and make it more difficult to remove! Despite this, cotton swabs are still most commonly used for this purpose.