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  • 10 Best Cotton Buds in the UK 2023 | Johnson's, LastSwab and More 1
  • 10 Best Cotton Buds in the UK 2023 | Johnson's, LastSwab and More 2
  • 10 Best Cotton Buds in the UK 2023 | Johnson's, LastSwab and More 3
  • 10 Best Cotton Buds in the UK 2023 | Johnson's, LastSwab and More 4
  • 10 Best Cotton Buds in the UK 2023 | Johnson's, LastSwab and More 5

10 Best Cotton Buds in the UK 2023 | Johnson's, LastSwab and More

Cotton buds are one of the items most commonly found in British bathrooms. They’re versatile staples of our daily routines, being most commonly used for cleaning ears or applying make-up. Unfortunately, traditional cotton buds are made using single-use plastic, they’re bad for the environment and are too often found washed up on our beaches. Fortunately, this is beginning to change!


The government has now issued a ban on cotton buds made from single-use plastics, meaning that from this point on, they must be made from sustainable materials. In this article, we go over the benefits of making the switch to more eco-friendly options, from reusable q-tips to biodegradable, bamboo buds. To help save you even more time and effort, we've ranked the top 10 best in the UK on Amazon, Asda and eBay to find the perfect one for you.

Last updated 14/07/2023
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Table of Contents

How to Choose Cotton Buds in the UK - Buying Guide

For such a simple hygiene tool, there’s a surprising amount of information to consider when searching for your new favourite brand of cotton buds. Luckily, it’s easy when you know how! Follow our buying guide, to go from novice to expert in no time.

1

Buying Biodegradable and Reusable Cotton Buds Will Reduce Your Impact on the Environment

We’re at a critical point when it comes to considering the ways in which we look after our environment. For that reason, we’ll start by showing you the ways in which you can ensure that you find a cotton bud that does exactly what you need it to while having as little an impact on the planet as possible.

Choose Cotton Buds Made From Biodegradable Materials

Choose Cotton Buds Made From Biodegradable Materials

A great first step is to look for cotton buds that are made entirely from biodegradable materials. These are materials that compost quickly, without having an adverse effect on the environment. Rather than lingering for hundreds of years, polluting our oceans and harming marine wildlife, they’ll gradually disappear back into the earth.


The most common biodegradable materials that you’ll find in the construction of cotton buds are bamboo, wood, or paper. All are sturdy enough to be used to clean ears and apply makeup efficiently, although this varies with wood and bamboo generally being preferred over paper.


The unfortunate downside of biodegradable cotton buds is that, while they can be reclaimed by mother earth, their manufacture still leads to carbon emissions. Still, they’re a massive improvement over their single-use counterparts!

Choose Reusable Cotton Buds Made from Durable Materials

Choose Reusable Cotton Buds Made from Durable Materials

A cotton bud made from plastic or silicone may seem to go against everything you know about sustainability, but it’s when you consider that they offer a version of a single-use item that can be used thousands of times that their benefits become clear.


Rather than repeatedly order new batches of cotton buds, you’ll instead be able to use a single one for years to come. Don’t worry, they’re extremely hygienic, and in many cases they even look pretty good too, often coming with rather nifty carrying cases.


Of course, the downside of reusable cotton buds is that, when they finally run their course, they’ll hang about on the planet for a little bit longer than their compostable brothers. That said, they're less impactful overall than the cotton buds that we used to use, which were both single-use and non-compostable.

2

Buy in Bulk to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Buy in Bulk to Reduce Carbon Emissions

If a reusable cotton bud isn’t for you, and you’re veering towards single-use compostable options, try and order in as large a quantity as is reasonable. You can buy packs of 100, 200, or even more, which should be plenty - even for larger households.


If their production and despatch is partly responsible for some carbon emissions, it makes sense to cut down on these harmful processes by ordering cotton buds in bigger quantities, and therefore less often. It’s a small effort, but it all adds up!

3

Top Tip: Find a Tip Style That Fits Your Needs

Top Tip: Find a Tip Style That Fits Your Needs

There’s probably no end to the uses of a cotton bud, but primarily they’re used for cleaning ears and applying or removing makeup. Being different activities, these tasks require slightly different tools. Which is why cotton buds can be found with several different tip styles.


Most commonly, you’ll find the standard teardrop tip shape, but you can also find wider tips, sloped tips, and even ones with bumpy surfaces. The choice is yours, and if you’re undecided, many cotton bud sets include several styles, so you’ll be able to switch between them as necessary.

4

Certain Activities Benefit from Longer Cotton Buds

Certain Activities Benefit from Longer Cotton Buds

For cleaning ears, a standard-sized cotton bud will suffice, but other activities may require a cotton bud of longer length. In fact, longer cotton buds are often used in beauty salons, and rather contrastingly, in arts and crafts activities for children!


They’re a little trickier to track down, but they can be found. These measure around 10 cm - 15 cm in length, as opposed to the standard 7 cm.  In fact, we’ve included some longer cotton buds in our top 10!

5

Find a Child-Safe Cotton Bud for Cleaning Little Ears

Find a Child-Safe Cotton Bud for Cleaning Little Ears

When it comes to buying products for children, safety is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, many cotton buds are not suitable for children. Just as commonly, you’ll find that manufacturers fail to mention at all whether their product is safe for use on youngsters which is why it’s always best to err on the side of caution.


However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for children! Many are specifically designed for little ones, just make sure to purchase cotton buds that have child safety explicitly stated on the packaging or in the product description.

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10 Best Cotton Buds in the UK

You now know a little more about how to find a top-performing cotton bud while remaining environmentally conscious. We promised that we’d help you find some of the best, so here they are, gathered together in our top 10. 
Popularity
Products
Image
Price
Click to purchase
Key features
1

LastSwab

Reusable Cotton Bud

LastSwab Reusable Cotton Bud 1枚目

£10.40

High Mid

Truly the Last Swab You'll Ever Need

2

EcoShoots

Bambuds

EcoShoots Bambuds 1枚目

£4.49

Low Mid

The Sustainable Choice For That Familiar Cotton Feel

3

EcoSlurps

Reusable Cotton Buds

EcoSlurps Reusable Cotton Buds 1枚目

£6.99

Mid

A Versatile Duo of Reusable Swabs For A Variety of Uses

4

Pure Heart

Organic Bamboo Cotton Buds

Pure Heart Organic Bamboo Cotton Buds 1枚目

£6.99

Mid

Bring Some Colour Into Your Bathroom With These Beautifully Bold Buds

5

leaf boat

Baby Safety Cotton Buds

leaf boat Baby Safety Cotton Buds 1枚目

£4.99

Low Mid

The Safe and Sustainable Choice For Your Little Ones

6

Etereauty

Ear Cleaning And Wax Removal Kit

Etereauty Ear Cleaning And Wax Removal Kit 1枚目

£8.99

High Mid

A Professional Kit for a Deeper Clean

7

Shintop

Long Handle Cotton Buds

Shintop Long Handle Cotton Buds 1枚目

£5.99

Mid

The Ideal Swab For A Greater Reach

8

Sfuzwg

Reusable Cotton Swabs Portable Kit With Mirror

Sfuzwg Reusable Cotton Swabs Portable Kit With Mirror 1枚目

£7.49

Mid

The Ideal On-The-Go Cleaning Companion

9

Johnson's

Baby Cotton Buds

Johnson's Baby Cotton Buds 1枚目

The Industry Standard Brand Making The Eco Shift

10

Healifty

Disposable Iodine Cotton Sticks

Healifty Disposable Iodine Cotton Sticks 1枚目

£11.59

High

A Welcome Addition to Anyone's First Aid Kit

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

LastSwabReusable Cotton Bud

Reusable Cotton Bud Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£10.40
High Mid
Reference price
£10.40
High Mid

Truly the Last Swab You'll Ever Need

It doesn't get much more environmentally friendly than this! Even the case is made from corn starch, a material that's 100% biodegradable and can be sterilised - something that's particularly important when it comes to reusable products.


The swab itself is made from plastic, which may come as a surprise, but this is one that's built to last. Rather than go straight in the landfill, you'll be able to use it again and again, cutting down on the carbon emissions caused by manufacture and transport. This really is a bud built with the long-term in mind, and that's why it's our number 1 pick. 

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No.2

EcoShootsBambuds

Bambuds Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£4.49
Low Mid
Reference price
£4.49
Low Mid

The Sustainable Choice For That Familiar Cotton Feel

If you've been a cotton bud user for years, and want something that'll continue to perform at the level that you're used to, look no further! Bambuds are high-performing, while remaining sustainably sourced.


These cotton buds are made of bamboo, a completely biodegradable material that's sturdy and has naturally antibacterial properties. They might not be reusable, but they do come in a bulk pack of 2000, so you can keep stocked up.

No.3

EcoSlurpsReusable Cotton Buds

Reusable Cotton Buds Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£6.99
Mid
Reference price
£6.99
Mid

A Versatile Duo of Reusable Swabs For A Variety of Uses

EcoSlurps are an award-winning British company on a mission to become one of the first carbon positive eco gift businesses in the world. As well as planting trees every day, they've also designed these reusable cotton buds, made from medical-grade silicone, that are designed to endure up to 2,000 uses.


In this set, you'll receive two different cotton buds housed within a lovely magnetised bamboo case, one with a standard tip and another for applying and removing make-up. 

No.4

Pure HeartOrganic Bamboo Cotton Buds

Organic Bamboo Cotton Buds Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£6.99
Mid
Reference price
£6.99
Mid

Bring Some Colour Into Your Bathroom With These Beautifully Bold Buds

Champions when it comes to ecological solutions, Pure Heart's bamboo cotton buds come in a beautifully designed, round cardboard case and are manufactured entirely in the UK. This means that they have a lower carbon footprint than overseas options.


The buds themselves are 4x stronger than plastic ones, featuring two different tip styles for versatility. They even come in different colours that are created by using organic dyes!

No.5

leaf boatBaby Safety Cotton Buds

Baby Safety Cotton Buds Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£4.99
Low Mid
Reference price
£4.99
Low Mid

The Safe and Sustainable Choice For Your Little Ones

When it comes to buying products for infants, safety is paramount. Many cotton buds are not suitable for use on children, but these leaf boat buds have been designed with babies in mind.


The 100% organic cotton ensures this product is pesticide-free and completely safe. They also provide a soft cushion that prevents the bud from travelling too far into the ear canal. They're a little pricier than standard cotton buds, but the extra money is worth it to ensure your child's safety. 

No.6

EtereautyEar Cleaning And Wax Removal Kit

Ear Cleaning And Wax Removal Kit Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£8.99
High Mid
Reference price
£8.99
High Mid

A Professional Kit for a Deeper Clean

If you suffer from excess ear wax, this is the kit for you. It features tools designed to imitate those used by professionals, and will help you tackle your problem without the need for repeat trips to specialists.


For general use, the professional nature of this kit may seem a bit excessive. The manufacturer also recommends reading the instructions carefully before use. But, providing that you Properly acquaint yourself, you'll never want for any other kit.

No.7

ShintopLong Handle Cotton Buds

Long Handle Cotton Buds Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£5.99
Mid
Reference price
£5.99
Mid

The Ideal Swab For A Greater Reach

Such length may seem unnecessary for those who only use cotton swabs to clean their ears, but for those who require something to clean hard-to-reach areas or apply make-up, the extra length gifted by these cotton swabs is indispensable. 


As well as being biodegradable, their textured wooden handles also enables a greater grip while cleaning. The main downside of these cotton buds is that they only include one tip, which means you'll need to replace them twice as often. 

No.8

SfuzwgReusable Cotton Swabs Portable Kit With Mirror

Reusable Cotton Swabs Portable Kit With Mirror Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£7.49
Mid
Reference price
£7.49
Mid

The Ideal On-The-Go Cleaning Companion

The ultimate in portable cotton buds, this kit is perfect for those who like to maintain their hygiene routine while away from home, as well as those who like to touch up their make-up while out and about! 


The tips are made from a high-quality medical grade silicone that's easy to clean, and the whole kit is super lightweight. It even comes with tweezers, a brush, a mirror and stand. Which is ideal for camping trips and holiday stays.

No.9

The Industry Standard Brand Making The Eco Shift

With over 150 years in the business, Johnson's are a brand that most people know and trust. The good news is that in an effort to be more environmentally conscious, their cotton buds now use recyclable paper sticks.


While we applaud this move, there's no denying that these paper sticks are less durable than non-recyclable alternatives. Maybe Johnson's will see fit to do away with the plastic packaging at some point, too?

No.10

HealiftyDisposable Iodine Cotton Sticks

Disposable Iodine Cotton Sticks Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£11.59
High
Reference price
£11.59
High

A Welcome Addition to Anyone's First Aid Kit

They leave a lot to be desired in terms of sustainability, but their innovative design makes these medical-use cotton sticks worth mentioning. Simply snap the stick at the orange line and the antiseptic iodine solution will flow onto the cotton swab, ready for use.


They're a brilliant addition to any first aid kit and you can even detach a few for on-the-go use. Their individual wrapping means these cotton buds are sterile and safe for cleaning wounds. However, this is also a huge downside where the environment is concerned, particularly in conjunction with the non-recyclable plastic stems.

More Green Ideas for Those Who Want to Make a Difference

More Green Ideas for Those Who Want to Make a Difference

Saving the planet doesn’t just stop with cotton buds, and every little change you make adds up. We’ve got plenty of articles on green solutions, from reusable straws to books that’ll teach you more about how you can make a difference, so click the links below to find out more!

Summary

If the intention of the ban is to reduce the production of single-use plastics, then our aim is to show you that this doesn’t mean a reduction in quality. We hope that this article has proven that it’s entirely possible to move towards a greener planet, while keeping your ears squeaky clean!


Author: Ben Willimett

Top 5 Cotton Buds

No. 1: LastSwabReusable Cotton Bud

No. 2: EcoShootsBambuds

No. 3: EcoSlurpsReusable Cotton Buds

No. 4: Pure HeartOrganic Bamboo Cotton Buds

No. 5: leaf boatBaby Safety Cotton Buds

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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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