Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Friday, May 12, 2006

Things I Wish Were Easier to Find in Germany #002
Individual Wet-naps for Adults

The type you can keep in your pocket for "emergencies," like when you want to eat a bratwurst at an imbiss after a day of touching slimy door-handles on the S-Bahn. Also useful for taking the Wurst grease off your hand afterward.

The Purell® are the Gold Standard (IMHO) for two reasons: First, their scent is fairly pure ... just the etyly alcohol, the smell of which can best be described as the smell of the alcohol-wipe the doctor uses just before he jabs you with your various shots. Second, the foil packs in which they are packed are nearly indestructible. You can carry these things in your pockets with your house-keys, etc. for a 100 days straight, and they will still be refreshingly ready to ease your OCD concerns at the imbiss.

The Wet Ones® are also good. Slightly scented, but still true to the underlying ethyl-alcohol base. The downside of these is that they are not so durably packaged. They used to only be in foil-lined paper that would last two days in a pocket with keys, but now those packs are also shrouded in plastic film, so they might last up to 5 carries. This is not a "pack and forget" item for the pocket, but good for a purse, suggesting that their manufacturer has overlooked a large part of the OCD market.

The closest German equivalent to these things comes from SagrotanTM. They are ostensibly usable on the hands, but they have an industrial smell that really turns one off. A lot of my German colleagues did use these to clean their telephone handsets and keyboards after seeing a Pro Sieben reportage giving a behind-the-scenes look at how the Russian and Polish putz-crews were cleaning offices. Like sausage being made, there are things you don't want to see. Just buy sanitizer and hope for the best.

You find plenty of the more freshly scented Wet-naps in industrial-sized packs for baby care. Two problems here ... first, they are for Baby care, meaning they are gentle. If you really want to sanitize somthing, forget these. But even if they are useful for you, albeit only within a small radius of your massive travel pack, who wants to smell like a baby's popo?

I have seen smaller 10-packs of of Wet Ones® in London and Sydney, but never succeeded in finding individual packs in retail stores there. The Australians pride themselves on being a hardy bunch, so no suprise there. The Brits pride themselves on being more refined, so perhaps I didn't look hard enough.

So for Germany, your choices seem to be (1) bring a bunch back with you from the States, (2) live with with SagrotanTM and its smell, (3) look for a restaurant supply store and buy individual towelettes in bulk, but be sure to ask for a sample first, because many of these also have the industrial scent, or, finally, (4) go without and take your chances with the bacteria like humanity did for millenia.

Purell is a registered trademark of the Warner-Lambert Company LLC, a Limited Liability Comany incorporated in Delaware by this Morris-Plains-New-Jersey-based mega-corporation that delivers the goods.

Wet Ones is a registered trademark of the Personal Care Group, Inc., also a Delaware Corporation, but belonging to this Westport CT based concern.

Sagrotan is somebody's trademark, but I don't want to do the research. It's a sunny day, so I'm going to pack a few Wet Ones® in my pocket and go get a bratwurst.

Always read the Tiny Print


Blogger Maribeth said...

The problem with the baby wipes is that they all have diaper rash healing agents and leave your hands feeling greasy. I like the handi-wipes best. Although I have found, when left in a glove compartment of the car for three years hot summer cold winter, they somehow dry out! Don't ask me how.

1:02 PM, May 12, 2006  
Anonymous Belinda said...

I found some called Cien Camille (the Lidl brand). They have a stronger scent than just the standard alcohol smell, but they work. Plus I got the Camille because I hate the dry skin I always get after wiping my fingers. The individual wraps are durable too. I've had one in my wallet for over 2 years and not even the colour has faded on it.

1:25 PM, May 15, 2006  

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