Morale: The Big Wipe

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April 19, 2010:  U.S. soldiers and marines now have a shower in a pouch, for keeping clean while away from their base, and plumbing. Since the 1970s, American troops have taken baby wipes with them when they were going to be out in the field (living rough) for more than a few days. The wipes allowed them to clean themselves up in a situation where bathing was impossible. After a few days out there, you get pretty funky. It's not just the smell, but you don't feel too good. If you get wounded, the accumulated gunk makes infection more likely. So the wipes were a big boost to morale. But you needed a lot of wipes to get really clean. Then along came Klenz Showers.

Klenz Showers retail for $40 a dozen, but many troops buy them wholesale, often for less than $20 a dozen. The product was inspired by a marine who, while serving in Somalia in 1993, thought it an obvious thing to have large size wipes. But there was no such product on the market. So the ex-marine took the idea to a friend who ran a gym, who then developed the product and found someone to manufacture it. All that took fifteen years, from the time the sweaty marine in Somalia got the idea.

Klenz Showers is a towel sized (2x4 feet/61x122cm) baby wipe. It was designed so that the package containing it fit into the pockets of field uniforms. The Klenz Showers wipe was large enough to clean yourself up, and feel refreshed. There was no scent, but there was aloe, so that the wipe helped heal the usual scrapes troops accumulated out in the bush. To keep the Klenz Showers light, you have to add four ounces (120ml) of water before using.

In the last two years, the Klenz Showers have become a major boost to morale, and cleanliness, for troops in Afghanistan, where many of them are out in the hills for weeks at a time. After ammo, water, batteries and food, the troops want their Klenz Showers packets. While the military was the initial market, civilian users have been boosting overall demand, and will probably eventually account for the majority of users. Campers, hunters and civilian workers away from showers for more than a few days,  also find the large wipes useful.

 

 


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