I was amused to see this product being touted as something NEW – given that I have been using them for around FORTY YEARS.
Oh, not Andrex Washlets – they ARE new – but generic “wet wipes” (AKA “moist towelettes”, “baby wipes” or just plain – “wipes”).
For the benefit of those less stricken in years as myself, a short history lesson might help…
The wet wipe, like Silly Putty (a curious substance which was stumbled upon during WW2, that was at once bouncy, fragile, flowing and picked up newsprint) was an invention for which there was no obvious necessity.
That is to say that neither followed the conventional path whereby a NEED is satisfied by creating a logical SOLUTION.
No, Silly Putty was eventually (after some seventeen years) sold as a TOY, by Crayola.
While wet wipes were made by various companies, using varied materials and were sold for a variety of purposes.
They first emerged in the mid-Fifties, being then based on thin cotton or paper. But by the mid-Seventies, this base had largely been replaced by a form of PLASTIC – with the FEEL and APPEARANCE of thin cotton.
At which point, a massive publicity drive was begun. But with no clear idea of what would STICK (so to speak) the manufacturers made them in varied sizes and thicknesses and packaged them for uses they felt the public might warm to.
Small versions were sold for removing built-up moisture (finger crud) on delicate instruments, such as cameras and optical devices – and plastic items such as radios and today, computer keyboards.
Larger versions were dispensed to air travellers upon boarding aircraft, to allow them to remove the grime they had acquired during their journey to the airport (this was ultimately cheaper than providing hot towels).
While medium-sized versions were designed for people to use on babies and THEMSELVES – to remove CRAP.
But despite being identical, this last application was marketed as TWO DIFFERENT products: for babies, they were slated to be used with the then-new disposable nappies, thus saving a LOT of laundry – while adults could just use them to “finish off” after using conventional toilet tissue.
However, despite spending considerable sums on advertising campaigns, companies found few takers for this last use – people were happy with toilet tissue alone.
Nevertheless, as baby wipes, they took off like a ROCKET – so much so that these days, this is what they are mostly known as (although the Obsessive-Compulsive Detective “Monk”, who demanded one from his sidekick every time he had had to shake hands or handle something that had been touched by others – insisted they were just called “wipes”).
But here is the thing: whilst “specialist” applications – like instrument, appliance and passenger-cleaning – plus some medical applications – still abound, by far their MAIN use is as the ubiquitous BABY WIPE.
And thus, while you might be hard-pressed to locate those specialist wet wipes – baby wipes are available EVERYWHERE.
Furthermore, whilst some specialist wet wipes might contain SOLVENTS that could DAMAGE delicate plastics – baby wipes are utterly HARMLESS.
Which means you can use them safely, for cleaning just about ANY small device – including your ARSEHOLE.
And whilst the packaging may be covered in pictures of babies and fluffy bunnies – there is usually a plain, reusable plastic box they can be put in, which can sit anywhere in your house, without making you look WEIRD if you do not have a BABY.
They have been essential equipment in MY bathroom and bedroom since those first ads, back in the Seventies. When the adult ones died, I simply switched to the indistinguishable baby ones.
And in addition to that “finishing off” business, I regularly use them to remove eye-crud in the morning – and relieve eye-fatigue at night – and wipe THIS keyboard – and my TV screens – in short, ANY small cleaning job where a disposable, gentle, SAFE method is required.
So by all means buy Andrex Washlets – and the various specialist wet wipes that are available (if you can FIND them).
But given big corporations balk at charging large amounts for baby-care products, you will find that BABY WIPES are a cheap, multi-use item you CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT!
[Warning note: according to Andrex, their Washlets, like toilet tissues, are bio-degradable. But BABY WIPES ARE NOT, being made of plastic.
Thus, if you live in a rural area and rely on a septic tank to dispose of your sewage, DO NOT FLUSH used baby wipes – just pop them in a pedal bin.
Otherwise, they will eventually BLOCK the bottom of your tank and you will have to call in the honeywagon guys to pump it OUT – who will then show you why it got blocked in the first place.
I speak from experience.]