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How we got addicted to using Q-tips the wrong way

New York
CNN Business

Every Q-tips box has a warning label: “Do not insert swab into ear canal,” and if you’re going to use it to clean your ears, gently swab the outer part only.

But extracting wax from our ear canals is precisely why most of us buy Q-tips in the first place. The humble Q-tip was so perfectly designed for this purpose that it turned into a generic word for a product.

Yet, somehow, we use it for the very thing it specifically warns us not to do.

The origins of this strange consumer phenomenon can be traced to Leo Gerstenzang, an immigrant from Poland.

In 1923, Gerstenzang supposedly thought he could improve upon his wife Ziuta’s method of wrapping a wad of cotton around a toothpick to clean their newborn daughter Betty’s eyes, ears, belly button and other sensitive…

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