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What does the 'Q' in 'Q-Tips' stand for?

Question #16695. Asked by spikoli.
Last updated Oct 04 2016.

Answer has 23 votes
Currently Best Answer
21 year member
36 replies

Answer has 23 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
The "Q" in Q-Tips stands for "Quality"
1926 - The product was originally called Baby Gays and in 1926, the labels were changed to read Q-tips® Baby Gays. Later, the name Baby Gays was discarded and Q-tips® became the identifying mark for cotton swabs. The “Q” in Q-tips® stands for quality and the word “tips” describes the cotton swab at the end of the stick.


The Q-tip was invented in the 1920's by Leo Gerstenzang (a Polish-born American). His wife had used a toothpick with cotton stuck on the end to clean their baby's ears, and Leo invented Q-tips to replace her jury-rigged invention. Gerstenzang's original Q-tips consisted of a wooden stick swathed in cotton at both {ends;} much later, the wood was replaced by white cardboard. Gerstenzang started the Infant Novelty Company to sell Q-tips (which he then called Baby {Gays);} in 1926, he changed the name of his product to Q-Tips Baby Gays. The Q stood for 'quality'. Eventually, the name changed to Q-tips. Doctors today advise that you should not use Q-tips to clean inside your ears. Q-tip, however, have many other uses, including cleaning small areas (like jewelry or the space between computer keys), applying glue, spreading paint, etc.


Response last updated by Terry on Oct 04 2016.
May 25 2003, 4:00 PM
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