What’s in Anti-Viral Kleenex?

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Do all KLEENEX boxes come with federal warnings against misuse?

I hadn’t intended to leave Walgreens with any kind of virucidal paper product, but in a fit of summer cold snuffles I accidentally bought a box of polka-dotted germ fighters equipped with directions against wiping up spills and an active ingredients list.

Promises the KLEENEX Anti-Viral tissue box: “[The] tissue has three soft layers, including a moisture-activated middle layer that kills 99.9% of cold and flu viruses in the tissue within 15 minutes.”

Wow! Would eating one cure a cold altogether?

Tragically, this goes unanswered on the KLEENEX website. But here’s my favorite question from the FAQ:

Do viruses have to hit the blue dots to be effective?

No. The virus is killed when it hits any part of the middle layer.

In case you’re wondering, the active ingredients—citric acid and sodium lauryl sulftate—are safe enough for government work. But Kimberly-Clark did have to get EPA clearance prior to marketing a facial tissue containing “pesticide” in 2004, according to a geektastic background article in the Wall Street Journal.

Has the proliferation of anti-viral products died down? I feel like I’m seeing less of them on the shelves overall these days. What about you, commenters?

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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