Aimed At: Professional and home users who need efficient wiping power.
Pros: They do what they say they will do, saving time and looking after hands too.
Confession time. I never thought that I would become a fan of wipes, that is until I was given a tub to try out some years ago. I was surprised to find out how good they were for wiping hands and surfaces and not daunted by oils, paints, adhesives or even expanding foam. So I was hooked, and what’s more, whenever I take them on site I find that I am particularly popular at the end of the day at cleaning up time. I have gained quite a few converts to wipes this way and sometimes even the clients ask where they can get them – having seen how effective they are in cleaning up.
While the original tub of wipes that I used were quite generalist, it has only taken a couple of years for manufacturers to launch more specialist ranges aimed at different trades like technicians, decorators and builders.
We really can say goodbye to the skin-damaging rinse of the hands with white spirit or meths and then the inevitable struggle with whatever soap or washing-up liquid we can find.
The range of SMAARTWIPES is comprehensive and I was sent four different kinds to test in various scenarios.
The Universal Tough Wipes come in a flat plastic waterproof pack similar to the kind in which baby wipes are packaged. The pack of 30 wipes is accessed by simply lifting up the resealing strip and pulling up the wipe underneath.
These wipes really are for general trade or household use, and would not be out of place in a garden shed or home workshop. I tried them on a range of paints and adhesives, oil, silicone and grease and found that they cleaned up very well.
The wipes themselves are large enough to do a “two-handed” clean up of hands and the pleasantly scented lemon solvent cleaner lasted all the way to the last wipe. The perforations in the wipe surface give a texture to them that helps to shift ingrained dirt and makes them very effective especially on grease and oil.
I found that they were a great to leave on the shelf in my workshop or as a last minute addition to one of my toolboxes before loading the car because the flat pack is easy to stow and doesn’t require much space.
The next test was not one that I scheduled. While inspecting the crop on my plum tree in my front garden I stepped on a rather unpleasant “gift” from one of my neighbour’s cats and I didn’t realise it until I got to my front door and porch.
For this unpleasant job I used the tub of SMAARTWIPES designated for Carpets and Upholstery. There are 40 wipes in the tub and the label indicates that tea and coffee stains, pet stains, footprints and hand marks are all within the remit for removal using them.
Fortunately, the floors near my front door consist of coir mat and oak, so the contamination was able to be quickly dealt with by the judicious use of half a dozen or so wipes. The lemon scent helped to disguise the whiff of the mess and the strength of the 18x20 cm textured wipes was such that I felt confident that I didn’t have to touch the dirt.
I did also try the wipes on a couple of existing marks on the carpet that were a bit more “innocent,” like tea and coffee stains. These stains required a couple of minute’s effort and application to remove, but I found that they did indeed lift out and the evidence was clear to see on the wipe as well as a much cleaner carpet. My leather sofa also benefited from a clean over on some of the more obvious marks too.
These particular wipes are presented in a 23cm tall tub with a foil seal that has to be removed before the wipes can be accessed. As usual, it is very tempting to simply pull the wipes from the top quite quickly, so it is easy to get more than you need at one go, nevertheless, in my view, they are a very good addition to the dirt-fighting armoury of a well run household.
Also having a rather specialist use was the tub of 40 Stainless Steel Tough Polishing Wipes. At first I thought that they might be too specific for my purposes, but the recommended uses include removing smears, residue stains and oil and grease, so I had the ideal task to try them on – my cooker hood. Now, even the famous Muscular brand of cleaner has difficulty removing the grease from the top of my cooker hood so I was worried that the wipes would be ineffective. But a couple of the textured wipes wrapped together and the application of a bit of elbow grease removed coated grease and oil very effectively and left a clean surface with no feeling of slight oiliness that I get with some cleaners. The wipes gathered grease so quickly that I ended up using about 8 of them to end up with a shiny, grease free cooker hood. Again, the evidence was on the wipes to show how effective they had been and since the wipes are completely non-abrasive, they do not scratch or damage the stainless steel surface.
Lastly, I was given a big tub of 100 Trade Cleaning Wipes – of the type that I normally buy when I work on site. They are very generalist in application – removing everything from paint to oil, silicone and expanding foam. They are indeed as billed on the tub – Simple but Effective.
The non-woven wipes have a very effective cleaning formula that effectively lifts dirt off surfaces and my tests using my usual range of dirt –oil, grease glues, paint and expanding foam - proved that the wipes really do work. The addition of Aloe Vera also helps to protect skin from the damage and drying out usually associated with using solvents to clean up. They are now a regular part of my kit both in the workshop and on site.
For me, wipes are now a necessity, and the range of SMAARTWIPES is a welcome addition to the competition because they work very well and are very competitively priced. Smaartwipes are exclusively available from Toolstream.