Sunday, October 14, 2007

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Mini insect-repellent wipes in colored, translucent dispensers with attached key chains.

AIMED AT: Parents -- or any on-the-go folks -- who want all-natural, bug-repelling wipes in easy-to-carry dispensers.

HOW MUCH: $8.95 for a starter kit of two dispensers and four packs of towelettes; refill pack prices vary.

BUT DO THEY WORK? We liked Teeny Towels' citrus scent, and the dispenser was handy, but we're skeptical when it comes to all-natural bug deterrent. And it's a good thing mosquito season is ending, because these towels proved no match against the fierce biters of Bethesda.

We sat with our trusty research assistant (a.k.a. Dad) under a pear tree, rolled up our shirt sleeves and pants legs, and wiped the towelettes on our right arms and legs, keeping our left-side limbs product-free. Then we waited.

Five minutes later, a huge tiger mosquito came in for a landing on our right arm. It bit. And it wasn't alone. After 30 itchy minutes, we called it quits and tallied our bites.

Dad: Three bites on the left side, two on the right.

Us: Five on the right side, none on the left.

Conclusion: Pass the DEET.

-- Christina Talcott

Teeny Towels are available at the Right Start and various online stores; see a list on

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