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One clump or two: why can I never pull just one wet-wipe from its packet?

Why do wet wipes come out one at a time when you first open the package, then in clumps of 10 or more towards the end? It’s almost like the manufacturers want you to finish the pack so you can buy another!
DB, Cooks Hill, NSW

Credit:Simon Letch

A: Thousands, perhaps millions of wet-wiping enthusiasts are probably reading your question right now and sitting all excited in their seats, then slide back down because their backsides are too lubricated from excessive wet-wiping. Because it’s true: you’re right. When a pack of wet wipes runs out, the unwanted wipes come out in big clumps – and then you have to put them back in the pack, which can feel a bit indecent, especially if it’s one of those dispensers with a sphincter-puckered mouthpiece .


I’m sure the scientifically inclined members of the wet wipe community would attribute this phenomenon to basic physics: that tightly packed wet wipes (Ww) have more frictional forces (Ff) holding them in place, but, as the pack deflates , the friction decreases (Fd) and the wipes come out in large, messy, frictionless wads of 10 or more (Gs Fw [Ww≥10]).

While conspiracy-minded members of the wet-sweeping community may think something sinister is going on. That the manufacturers designed the packaging to waste more of the product so that you are forced to buy new packaging – a devious cabalist plot orchestrated by Hillary Clinton and Lady Gaga, using Jewish space lasers. Personally, I think it’s probably a combination of both common sense and deep Gagas. Anyway, I really don’t understand why people still use wet wipes: they are bad for the environment, they clog our sewers and they always feel like a piece of toilet paper that someone has already used.


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