I’ve reached the Q-tipping point (Day 62)…


Today happens to be my birthday, so I’d like to stop for a moment and thank my parents — not just for all the stuff they gave me while I was growing up, but for all the stuff they didn’t: junk food, pop and most processed foods (allowed on special occasions but never in the house), rides to school (unless it was a blizzard or we were carpooling with my sister, otherwise I had to find my own way on public transit), and Q-tips.

The people I know who do use Q-tips always think it’s gross if I confess to not using them. In fact, I began to feel so outnumbered and convinced that my ears were harboring mass quantities of waxy, toxic evil that I went out and bought a pack of the cotton swabs, using them whenever I stepped out of the shower.

But there’s nothing worse than that feeling when something foreign goes a little too far into your ear canal — I get the same sense of queasiness if I touch the inside of my belly button (but maybe that’s just me). And despite the fact that I could be using Q-tips for other purposes — like correcting errant globs of nail polish or smudged eyeliner — they really are an unnecessary waste of bleach, cotton, paper and/or plastic (depending on the stick and packaging).

So I’ve tossed the last one and I’m not buying any more.

Photo courtesy of eatingorange on Flickr

14 Responses to I’ve reached the Q-tipping point (Day 62)…

  1. Greenpa says:

    Ever hear of ear spoons? 🙂

    They’ve been around- one quick google got me here; http://www.jelldragon.com/other_jewelry.htm

    A good sustainable tool! Permanent bronze, and cute to boot. The Chinese have had them forever, still do.

  2. pat farquharson says:

    Happy birthday! And thankyou for all the appreciative words. Its really nice to know that as I stumbled through parenthood that some things were right. I am particularly proud that I have raised a daughter that cares about her community as much as her own desires and can do that in a nonpolitical and nonstrident way. It is easy to jump on other peoples bandwagons; harder to walk alone.
    As for Q-tips, you know what the doctor has to say: ‘never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear’. (Definitely not pointed metal spoons!!) Just a few drops of olive oil if wax is a problem.

  3. Shawn says:

    You’re on your own with that belly button thing.

    Happy birthday though, may you have many more.

  4. Alina says:

    Happy birthday! It’s funny, I’ve also been having one of my existencial dillemas as of late concerning Q-tips. I ran out about 3 weeks ago, and didn’t buy anymore (yet). My problem is that I saw these awsome organic cotton paper-packaged ones at the organic shop, but they cost about 10 times more than the ones I had. So basically, I spend long moments starring at them when I go shopping, only to walk away without them… At first I thought my wax was going to explode out of my ear cannal, but that feeling kinda went away after a while and I’m ok without them now. Ii’ve also always heard that ears are self-cleaning and that you should online use the tips to clean on the outside of the ear, which you can do quite successfully with water & soap… (http://www.webmd.com/content/article/42/1685_50320)

  5. Morgan says:

    Happy Birthday Vanessa…

    Great to hear about the Q Tips…when you talk to doctors they say the smallest thing you should stick in your ear is your elbow!

    Cheers dude…

  6. Alina says:

    Oops, sorry! I forgot to spell check my comment, so it must be full of horrifying mistakes, especially for a journalist 😀 I have the excuse of not being a native speaker, though…

  7. Lori V. says:

    Hippo birdie to you!

    Q-tips are one thing we haven’t run out of & stopped buying yet. 😦 You’re making me look bad, here! LOL! I guess I can let you get away with it on your birthday and all… 😉

  8. besweet says:

    What does one do with the olive oil? I’d like to get rid of my q-tips, but, well, my ears are waxy!

    Happy birthday! Oh, and I’m with you on the bellybutton thing. Feels so weird.

  9. Lloyd Alter says:

    Too much information. Except for the birthday part. Happy qtip free birthday.

  10. deliberately says:

    Thanks for the idea, I’ll go with it. We just ran out out of cotton swabs in our house a few days ago as well and they were getting ready to go on the list. Now, we’ll leave it off and see how it goes.

    Happy Birthday!

  11. I can’t believe that in the 5… no.. 10… no 14 years that’s I’ve known you, I never knew we shared the same (weird I’ve been told) ickyness about the bellybutton. No one is ever allowed near the belly button.

  12. sandy says:

    Of all the things you’ve given up/done in the name of this blog, this is the one that made me gasp. (Yes, I know. Seems unrealistic. Am I that high-maintenance?) I thought, well, this is something that never occurred to me – Q-tips probably aren’t ecologically sound, good point, could I go without? Of course I can!

    So after I took my shower this morning and started to get ready for work, I shunned my Q-tip. Didn’t use it. And I lasted about 10 minutes before I couldn’t take it and had to get the water out of my ears!

    Kudos to you. I couldn’t do it. Don’t use the dryer? Fine. Teflon pans? Haven’t used them for years. Deodorant? Used crystals since I can’t remember when. But Q-tips? Wow. Apparently I’m an addict.

    Thanks for your daily inspiration.

  13. alison says:

    I’ve been looking at my beloved Qtips for a while. I know they have to go. I vowed once to stop using them. But I have an addiction. I hate having wet ear canals. I NEED to wipe them out with a Qtip after a shower. I tried just using a towel. It was too thick. I dont want to use a tissue and waste a whole tissue and throw it in the bin. I’m on a ‘nothing disposable’ kick. But the Qtips I bought months ago are still there and I can’t bear to say goodbye to them. Your post is a reminder that I have to do what must be done.

    I might try some muslin. Perhaps I’ll invent a muslin ear cloth.

  14. […] that time she revamped her life in many ways, both big and small (from pledging to not buy any more Q-tips to unplugging her fridge), and wrote all about the victories and heartaches along the way.  […]

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