Despite widespread misinformation circulated via the Internet, cotton wool is NOT made of fibrous bolls, but are actually small clouds that have drifted to earth due to their love of humanity and wish to serve them. When a mummy cloud and a daddy cloud love each other very much...
Of course, I am just jesting with you. Cotton wool is serious business. 25 million tonnes of cotton is produced annually, with China being the biggest producer of cotton in the world. Commercial cotton is used in clothes, textiles, fishnets, coffee filters, tents and in book binding, but it is our cotton wool that is most similar to natural forms of cotton. Made of pure cellulose, in the wild it helps disperse seeds of the cottonseed plant. When grown, these hefts of cotton are called bolls, and when picked, it is known as ginning. Cotton is cultivated all around the world, from India to the Eastern European block. The word 'cotton' comes from the Arabic word 'Qutn', which means fancy.
Despite an ancient history, it has several functions in our daily lives today. There are two types of cotton wool manufactured for today's market - the raw form, processed minimally, and a refined kind treated to be hyper-absorbent. The rawest form is often pressed thinly into pads used to remove make-up, while more refined cotton is bleached, sterilised and shaped often for use in medicine, such as in bandages and swabs. Cotton wool can also be used to remove nail polish, absorb fluids, and when soaked in milk, reduce swelling when applied to the eyes. Some people also use them in arts and crafts projects, for example, to paint with, to add texture to a
collage, or used to represent snow in a winter scene. Industrially, they are used to stuff car seats. Cotton wool is very useful in anyone's medical box or for any parent, as it is hypoallergenic, absorbent, and mostly sterile.
Ever wondered why it's called cotton wool? When untreated at the beginning stages of processing, the hefts of cotton resemble sheared wool. Now you know.
I have mixed views on cotton wool ................ I think it depends entirely on the use you have in mind for it. I am pregnant at the moment expecting twins, and I am keen to get my hospital bag packed up ready for the big event. One of the must have items for the bag is cotton wool. This is used for cleaning the baby, using just cotton wool and water and a top and tail bowl. For this purpose I find cotton wool useless. It is so fiddley trying to use it to clean your baby with ( especially using the cotton wool balls ). I learnt this first time around with my first baby. So this time I have bought the cotton wool on a pleat , at least this way I can break off bigger sections to make it easier to use. For general use at home I cannot fault cotton wool at all. I use it everyday as part of my make up removal process. For this purpose the cotton wool balls are ideal. I also use it with some dettol for use on cuts and grazes. Cotton wool can be bought in all supermarkets, or local corner shops and pharmacies. I buy mine in Boots. One thing I have noticed is that it lives in two sections in the store. It can be found in the baby aisle and also in the make up section. Be aware that if you buy it in the make up section it will cost you more and you will get less in the bag. On average I noticed that they repackaged the cotton wool for the use of make up removal costing approx 30p more than that in the baby aisle, and would only contain approx 80 balls. For exactly the same stuff you might as well buy the baby cotton wool and get more for your money!!
Cotton wool is such an important item to have in our household that I don't really know where to start!
It's available in balls (as shown), pleats, pads & on a roll & the price seems to vary according to the quality & the packaging.
The most economical way seems to be buying it on a roll & then making your own balls - a good & productive way of spending a bad-weather day with young children? At this time of year you can make snowballs to dot around the house!
My friend worked in a cotton-wool factory during the war & told me if you undo a roll & leave it somewhere warm it will increase in size by around 1/3, but I haven't tried this.
Cotton wool can be bought at pharmacies, cut-price shops (such as Savers & Superdrug), supermarkets & at the Pound shops.
I tend to shop around as we use quite a lot in our house.
My daughters & I use it to remove make-up, far applying cleansers & toners, removing nail varnish & other womanly activities.
If I've managed to get some cheap I often use a little to 'buff up' stainless steel taps or use aound the washbasins or shower to get to those fiddly bits - cotton wool is so absorbent that it does quite a good job & you can tear as little or as much as you need so there's no waste.
It's obviously an essential to have if you have babies & young children to care for including wiping bums, tums, behind ears, to apply disinfectant to cut knees & elbows - the list is endless....
- an essential item to have in most homes as it can be used in so many ways.
- worth shopping around for - own brands & cut-price stores often have good deals.
When i had my first daughter i didnt buy any cotton wool to take to the hospital with me as i took baby wipes because i thought these were the easier option but at the time i didnt know that the midwives dont like you to use baby wipes on your baby for the first month as they say there skin is too delicate, i had to get some cotton wool brought into me.
You will need cotton wool for nappy changing time to clean your babys bottom but as there poo is like tar at this stage it will take quite a lot of persuading to come off there skin with water alone so once home i went back to using wipes and they never irritated my babys skin but i did still use the cotton wool to clean my babys umbilical cord to prevent infection at every nappy change and to clean her face when bathing her as it was softer than using a face cloth and it is ideal for cleaning your babys eyes and nose with, i didnt realise how heavily i would rely on cotton wool untill my daughter was born but with my second child i stocked up in advance of the birth.