Did Kleenex Blow New Ad Campaign for Disposable Hand Towels?
(This article is adapted from the July 2010 issue of ShopSmart magazine.)
Kleenex has launched a new TV and web ad campaign for disposable hand towels for the bathroom that are designed to replace cloth ones. Complete with a catchy tune and YouTube video, the Kleenex campaign website claims, "Careful hand washing is one defense against germs. But hands are only as clean as the towel used to dry them."
The site also should have noted that your hands are only as clean as the next thing you touch, such as the door handle. And if you don’t wash thoroughly to begin with, the Kleenex towel won’t make your hands any cleaner.
Yes, we must be vigilant when we know harmful bacteria lurk, such as when preparing raw meats, or when someone in the house is sick. But we encouter germs and bacteria all the time. For healthy people, that shouldn’t be a problem. Using a disposable towel every time you wash your hands is not necessary—neither is cleaning regularly with antibacterials.
The Kleenex website cites "hand drying facts" from "recent studies conducted by the CDC," the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about how cloth hand towels aren’t as clean as disposable ones. But what the website doesn’t tell you is that the CDC’s advice is aimed at those in settings where prevention of transmission is paramount, such as hospitals.
And one more thing: Trading a reusable product like a towel for a disposable one is not very eco-friendly.
Green Buying Guide: Homemade Cleaners
Hand Hygiene in Health Care Settings