Maintenance: The Cotton Bud – A Mans Unlikely Best Friend

Words by: Andrew Williams


When I talk of cotton buds I’m referring to those little plastic sticks with cotton wool on each end; most of us use them to clean our ears, despite the box telling us not to and they having no other conceivable use. Although, when I was a kid I remember they did make useful replacement lightsabers for Star Wars figures – provided you removed the cotton wool.

Anyways, two tips for why any well set fellow should have a couple of these in his kit bag.

Removing beer from leather

Wherever men gather there’s a good chance beer won’t be far away, and these two ingredients can make for the ruin of leather shoes. The other night I got a little beer on my Albam loafers, and having done a little research came across this tip, which works like a charm.

Mix a solution of warm water and washing-up liquid in a glass.  Then dip one end of the cotton bud into the solution and roll it across the stain. Leave it for five minutes and then use the dry end to dab up the excess moisture. Allow it to dry naturally and the stain should have gone. Obviously test it first on a less affected area before going all out.

Removing blood from shirt collars

Before I picked up a beard in New Zealand it was often the case that having shaved I’d have a myriad of little nicks, this was most acute when using a new blade. Too numerous and too small for the old tissue paper gambit, invariably the blood would find its way onto my collar.

Take a cotton bud and dip the end in cold water, then roll the wet end over the blood. You should see the stain begin to fade and keep going until you no longer see it. Job done.