Wednesday, April 21, 2021



Molly Jebber

Amish Historical Romance Author

Leo Gerstenzang watched his wife make a Q-tip by putting cotton on the end of a toothpick to clean out their daughter’s ears. She was frustrated with the process and time it took. He designed a Q-tip by creating a machine, which took years, to wind tight cotton on each end of a cured, non-splintering, and smooth birchwood stick with blunt ends in 1920.

In 1920, Mr. Gerstenzang named the invention “Baby Gays”, but later found it wasn’t a good marketable name to describe the use of the Q-tip. In 1926, he changed the name to Q-tips. Q for quality and tips for the cotton wool wound around the wooden stick to better describe his product for buyers.

His Q-tips business increased in demand, and he needed more space for manufacturing his creation. He left New York City to a new plant in Long Island in 1948.

In the 1950’s, Q-tips cotton swabs caught the attention of Ern Westmoor, a popular Hollywood Makeup Artist. With Mr. Westmoor’s help, a booklet was created. The booklet offered helpful hints on how to use the cotton swaps for applying or removing makeup. Some of you might be using the cotton swabs to do this today.

In 1958, Q-tips bought Paper Sticks, Ltd. of England, which had manufactured paper sticks used in the confectionary business. The machinery from Paper Sticks, Ltd. was moved to the United States, and Q-tips were now offered in paper or wood sticks with the cotton swabs at each end.

In 1962, Q-tips was purchased by Chesebrough-Ponds. The new owner moved the Q-tip business from Long Island, New York to Jefferson City, Missouri.

In 1974, Q-tips moved a portion of the business to Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. From this time through the 1980’s, Q-tips changed to all cotton swabs.

In 1987, Unilever in England purchased Chesebrough-Ponds and Q-tips.

In November, 2011, Q-tips became biodegradable.

Shortly after production, doctors advised patients not to use Q-tips for your ears. But there are many uses for cotton swabs for cleaning around the house.

I use Q-tips to remove makeup, to clean around the bathroom sink bases, to apply medicine to cuts and so much more.

Comment below with a way you use Q-tips to enter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon card. Please remember to put your email address so I can reach you if you win!

Thank you for joining me here today!


  1. I use Q-tips in my 3rd grade class for art projects and lessons. One project is building a human skeleton with Q-tips and gluing it on paper.

  2. Thanks for the post! Oh, the items we take for granted! I like Q-tips for cleaning up a nail polish job!!! bcrug(at)twc(dot)com

  3. I didn't know how Q-tips were invented. I use Q-tips for many things. One way I use them is in cleaning the edge of the shower door, to keep the grime and mildew off. There are places where a cloth won't reach, but a Q-tip works great.

  4. Thanks for the history of Q-tips - very interesting. They have always said that necessity is the mother of inventions, which obviously was the case here. :). I do use them gently in my ears, but they are great for getting into those tiny spots that need cleaning, like on my electric toothbrush.

  5. Thank you for sharing the history of Q-tips I use the Q-tips for ears and also I have found many uses for them! Sarahbaby601973(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Besides using them carefully in my ears, I also use them for cleaning in tight spaces.