Roger Bisby tries out some Draper Hard Graft wipes.
There are now any number of wipes out there, and it seems almost impossible to remember the time when we didn’t have disposable impregnated wipes to clean up, but it really wasn’t that long ago. The really clever thing about wipes is that they release the dirt and absorb it at the same time which, if you think about it, is not that easy to do.
Some do this better than others and, some even have a fabric that is abrasive on one side but soft on the other. They are another little miracle of our age that are even used in outer space. The usual scenario would have been that our more down-to-earth version is a spin off from space technology but the opposite is true. The space research people nicked the idea from the building industry, and that has to be a first. But the real success of wipes is that you can use them for wiping down surfaces and cleaning your tools. They remove paint, silicone and grease from all kinds of surfaces, which makes them indispensable for jobs such as caulking up a bathroom. I always use wipes on my van steering wheel because I never could stand a sticky steering wheel. Draper advises that you test their wipes on a small unseen area before using them on delicate surfaces.
I don’t suppose that one person in a thousand bothers to look at the ingredients that are in wipes but, having tested quite a number over the last few years, I was surprised to see that they use very different chemicals. In order to get a wipe to tackle everything from silicone to polyurethane foam, you need to throw a lot into the mix.
In Draper wipes there is benzalkonium chloride and alcohol, plus some stuff that makes them smell nice. The tub holds 90 wipes, which is more than some and, while others use a hole with a cross in the top to pull the wipes through, the Hard Graft tub has a nice big hole. This is important because I can remember very clearly the time when Terry Smith, the managing editor of this magazine, inadvertently pushed his thumb into one of those holes and trapped it for several minutes. He was in real pain, and everyone was falling about laughing as he tried to extract his thumb. It hurt and is not to be recommended. So the Draper tub’s slot is a step forward in that you can poke your thumb into it without any significant risk of injury or trauma. It also allows you to tuck the end of the next wipe back into the tub, so you can pop the cap back down more easily and stop them drying out, which is important because, once they dry out, all that benzalkonium chloride and alcohol is no more.