Imagine a world before tissues

Celebrities, war, hayfever... the Kleenex® story has it all. So how did this world-famous brand come to be in the first place?

What are we going to do with all this paper?

Our story starts right the way back during the First World War when Kimberly Clark, the paper company that makes Kleenex®, had developed a kind of crepe paper for use as a filter in gas masks.

In the early 1920s, this innovation was adapted into their very first consumer product, Kotex®. But at the time, the world wasn't quite ready for products to help women with their periods. So Kimberly-Clark was left with a lot of soft, absorbent paper. What to do?

Cleaning up

In early experiments, researchers literally ironed out heavyweight Kotex® into thin sheets. Later, they worked out how to produce a thinner, softer sheet by changing the blend of ingredients and using different pulps. And so began Kleenex® facial tissue.

At first, we thought of Kleenex® as a disposable cleansing tissue, to help women with the growing use of make up: the tissues could be a clean, convenient replacement for the ugly 'cold cream towel' that hung in many bathrooms.

So in 1924, we began selling Kleenex® in the USA as a cold cream or makeup remover, and in 1925 we launched in the UK.

All we had to do now was show people how good it was.

Tissue to the stars

In 1925, the first Kleenex® ad appeared in the Ladies Home Journal showing "the new secret of keeping a pretty skin as used by famous movie stars..."

Soon, ads were being carried by all the major women's magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Vogue.

And in 1927, the ads began featuring famous stars of stage and screen: the 'beautiful people' were confessing that Kleenex® was one of their little secrets.

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"All we had to do now was show people how good it was."

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The sneeze that changed the world

Around this time, Kimberly-Clark's head researcher was suffering from hay fever. And he started using the tissues in place of his handkerchief... which got us wondering.

So we started running simultaneous ads, one showing Kleenex® being used to remove cold cream, the other showing its use as a handkerchief.

And by 1930 the idea of Kleenex® tissue as a handkerchief substitute had really taken off. Sales doubled in the first year of this new strategy.

Now, instead of being a product mainly used by women, Kleenex® was there for men and women, young and old alike.

Better and better and better

Since then, we’ve never stopped improving Kleenex®.

In 1956, we launched Kleenex® For Men tissues, with the claim that they 'stay strong when wet.' They've been the number-one facial tissue brand in the UK for the past 50 years.

In 1983, we launched our handy Kleenex® travel tissues so you could always have a tissue to hand, even when you were out and about.

In 1996, we introduced Kleenex® UltraBalm (now known as Kleenex® Balsam tissues). These were the first tissues to contain a microfine layer of calendula, a protective balm that helps prevent your nose becoming red and sore.

And in 2005, we launched a major innovation --- Kleenex® Anti-Viral tissues. The first tissue of its kind, it has a clever treated middle layer that kills 99.9% of cold & flu viruses in the tissue* before they spread.

So that's the story of how Kleenex®, since we launched all the way back in 1924, has become the No. 1 brand of facial tissue in the world. And we're still going strong!

* In the tissue within 15 minutes. Virucidal against: Rhinoviruses Type 1A and 2 (rhinoviruses are the leading cause of the common cold); Influenza A and Influenza B (causes of the flu); Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV, the leading cause of lower respiratory infection in children).

"Since then, we've never stopped improving Kleenex®."

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