Oshibori ingredients - what does it actually contain?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic / Random Chit-Chat' started by alexleaud, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. alexleaud

    alexleaud TAG Member

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    I got into a really pointless but interesting debate with one of my Japanese friends recently.

    We were talking about the spread of COVID-19 and we were at a local cafe. The waiter brought us two cups of coffee and some cake with packaged wet towels. As you may be aware in most Western countries we don't use a wet towel before we eat (at least I never did.. especially if I'm using a fork). My Japanese friend told me "You should most definitely use that oshibori... especially now because the alcohol inside it can kill any virus". I asked him if he was sure that it contained rubbing alcohol and not chlorine dioxide or some other (weak) agent and he had no idea.

    So my question is: do these disposable wipes all contain alcohol in them? I know the warm ones are just heated cloths with water but what about the disposable ones?
     
  2. TAG Manager

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    The ones that I've gotten from take out places and other common cafes, were just the wet type. I don't think I've gotten one of those that had alcohol in it. There are people with alcohol (skin) allergies and sensitivities, so I think that would be a bad idea to randomly hand out those kinds that contain alcohol.

    So, in my experience, it's very uncommon to find those average pre-packaged wet (one use only) towels to have anything but water in them.
     
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  3. alexleaud

    alexleaud TAG Member

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    Interesting. I thought so too! I know sometimes some pinsaro's and so on use them as well and I often also wonder if they contain any alcohol at all.
     
  4. TAG Manager

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    That may be a different story; I'm not 100% sure about that. I know that people report being wiped down, but I don't believe it's anything really strong because it definitely would irritate the sensitive skin the areas they're wiping down.
     
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  5. Danbo

    Danbo TAG Member

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    Yeah, I think the most common ones are just wet, maybe some contain a little bit of alcohol. I think KFC for example has wet wipes that contain a bit of alcohol...but not against bacteria, just to make it easier to get the grease off your hands afterwards.

    To kill bacteria or viruses you need strong 100% alcohol solution or something similar. Desinfectants have a strong smell and feel...you would notice.
     
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  6. Sudsy

    SudsySudsy is a Verified Member Forever blowing bubbles....

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    60% or better. 100% isn't necessary (and is really harsh on your skin).

    And with corona, soap is much more effective. The virus has a lipid "jacket" that soap destroys.
     
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  7. split

    splitsplit is a Verified Member TAG Member

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    Those towelettes of course don't have alcohol in them but should have benzalkonium chloride at levels that would barely be undetectable by smell (a very slight soapy smell). Although, I've only ever seen one state that on the plastic wrapper it would be more comforting if they listed it on each one. Alcohols need 60%+ concentrations to effectively kill viruses and at those levels, it tends to suck the oils/water out of the skin.
     
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  8. oLUXo

    oLUXooLUXo is a Verified Member Looking for sugar

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    So we should promote more soapy massages and full time soap services to get rid of the virus. Maybe this is why Japan has low numbers :eek:
     
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  9. Lukes

    Lukes TAG Member

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    I used to work for a company that manufactures those kinds of things.

    So the pre-packaged moist towelette that you get at restaurants does not contain an antiseptic in the concentration that would sanitize your hands. The benefit it provides is the removal of "soils" as they're called in the industry by mechanical action of the towel assisted by soap-like compounds and solvents in the liquid that moistens it.

    There are preservatives that keep the product itself from growing mold or bacterial contamination during its shelf life. These are ultra low concentrations of stuff that would be used at higher concentration in a hand sanitizer or disinfectant product.

    Basically, cleaning your hands with them does help but not to the degree you would get from an actual antiseptic towelette, on which the active ingredients would normally be labeled.
     
  10. TAG Manager

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    Thank you! Very informative.
     
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  11. just4fun

    just4funjust4fun is a Verified Member Skeptical? Who me?

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    Sometimes the towels they hand you has a bleach smell to them.....that should be an improvement over those packets......how much I have no idea.........
     
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  12. split

    splitsplit is a Verified Member TAG Member

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    So, manufacturers are that stingy to not put in dirt cheap BZK, which also happens to be a preservative in those towels?
     
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  13. CharlieSimms

    CharlieSimms The day we stop lookin', Charlie...

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    I would imagine there is a good amount of semen remnants circulating in the reused supply. I have certainly contributed over the years.. Can’t believe all that can get washed out completely.. I always consider this when the Oyajis wipe their faces with these in the Izakayas... ewwww
     
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  14. Lukes

    Lukes TAG Member

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    I guess I'd put it this way. The moistened towelettes serve a particular purpose and the intent is to keep potential allergens and irritants as low as possible since people use them often. Using an active ingredient to sanitize requires other adjustments to the formulation as well as safety and performance testing that is expensive. And then it makes your product into an OTC drug - subjecting you to audits by the FDA and requiring a rather expensive quality system to be implemented. That's how it works in the states at least. I'm sure it's similar in Japan.

    But yes, to your point - it probably all comes down to cost in the end. Why spend all the money doing that when you could simply not do it and everyone buys your stuff anyways?
     
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  15. split

    splitsplit is a Verified Member TAG Member

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    Don't know about FDA requirements for OTC drugs and if Walmart Purell or any other sanitizers are regulated under FDA guidelines and therefore would be subject to quality measures or such standards. I do know that most supplements, often consumed orally, just bypass FDA regs. In the case of topical applications, like mild non-alcoholic disinfectants, I wouldn't expect such stringent requirements, especially when there's been quite a bit of research on stuff like BZK. Of course, anyone can buy Benzene OTC here and I assume that should be safer than towelettes infused with disinfectant. BZK, not Benzene, just happens to be in a lot of alcohol-based hand sanitizers even in Japan.
     
    #15 split, Mar 20, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  16. alexleaud

    alexleaud TAG Member

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    Thanks for this!
     

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