Baby wipes are an essential product when you have growing toddlers. They are super convenient to use and help keep the mess in check. But, like most conventional personal care products, baby wipes can be toxic for your little one’s skin and the environment.
Many brands use plastic to make wipes. It is not only harmful to your baby’s health but the oceans and landfills as well. The synthetics and chemicals in baby wipes cause skin irritation and allergies in babies and do not biodegrade for hundreds of years when trashed.
Wipes are also one of the products that come in close contact with your child’s skin for years. You must ensure that you choose only the safest and highest-quality ones.
Here, you’ll find all the nitty-gritties you need to keep in mind while choosing the right wipes for your toddler, and the safest chemical-free baby wipes options—both reusable and disposable ones. Keep reading for all the details.
Do baby wipes have harmful chemicals?
Because baby wipes are cheap to produce, some manufacturers put harmful ingredients in them, without care for the environment or the baby’s health.
Most conventional baby wipes contain chemicals and toxins that cause irritation and allergies in babies. And what’s even more concerning is that these chemicals could be doing unseen damage that we aren’t aware of—as baby wipes are often used in the most sensitive of areas.
While all baby wipes are made of cloth, brands often do not disclose what is the composition of the cloth they are using. Typically, there will be viscose, polypropylene, and polyester in baby wipes—the latter two are plastics, and the former is a highly processed form of wood pulp. These materials are not safe.
Many baby wipes also contain several toxic ingredients that should be avoided at all costs. Here is a list of chemicals you must look out for the next time you’re getting wipes for your little one:
- Parabens – If you open Amazon and search for baby wipes, the top result products are most likely to contain parabens. This toxic ingredient is found in most bigger personal care brands. It can cause itching, swelling, and dryness, and is even linked to serious diseases like cancer, and hormonal disruption. Avoid anything ending in paraben.
- Fragrance – While we all appreciate a pleasant scent, most of us are ignorant about the chemicals used in fragrant personal care products. ‘Fragrance’ is an umbrella term for hundreds of chemicals that are not disclosed on the label. It is often mixed with phthalates—these can cause severe long-term health issues in humans.
- Tocopheryl acetate – This is often used as a preservative in skincare. It’s a processed version of Vitamin E. It is sometimes mixed with hydroquinone, which is a skin-lightening agent that causes irritation and allergies. Hydroquinone is officially banned in countries like the UK, Japan, Australia, and the EU.
- Sodium Benzoate – This is a chemical preservative, not concluded safe. It can turn into toxic benzene (linked with blood disorders and leukemia in humans) when mixed with derivatives of Vitamin C. It’s also been linked with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
- Phenoxyethanol – This is an antibacterial preservative that does nothing for the baby’s skin or health. It is considered safe for adults when used in a proportion below 1% but is harmful to babies. If ingested, it can cause nervous system problems in them.
- Pormaldehyde – This is a hidden, highly toxic ingredient in baby wipes. You won’t find it listed in the ingredients, but there’s a high chance it’s present in the product. A study conducted in 2019 showed that 24% out of 51 baby wipes brands release formaldehyde.
Several chemicals release formaldehyde in baby wipes. Some of them to look out for are: Benzilemhiformal, Glyoxal, Tosylamide, Methenamine, Diazolidinyl urea, etc.
- Formaldehyde has been defined as carcinogenic for humans and can cause widespread allergic contact dermatitis.
- Polysorbate 20 – This chemical is often treated with ethylene oxide, which can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane. That is a seriously toxic chemical linked with cancer and organ damage.
What Are the Safest Baby Wipes to Use?
With so many brands using toxic chemicals in their products, the safest baby wipes are the chemical-free, non-toxic ones. You must always look for these variants when purchasing baby wipes.
It’s also critical to avoid the above-mentioned list of chemicals at all costs. Some other chemicals you could avoid are Malic Acid, Ammonium Chloride, and food products like milk, nut oil, etc. While these are not as harmful as the ones on the list, they can cause minor reactions like irritation and allergies if used frequently.
The safest baby wipes are not only good for the baby’s skin and health but also for the environment.
90% of all wet wipes used today are made of plastic. These plastics do not biodegrade, causing serious waste collection in landfills. When flushed, they leak into water bodies and add to the microplastic pollution in oceans. They also get ingested by marine life, which severely harms or kills them.
Therefore, you should use baby wipes that are not only healthy for your baby but also for the planet. One of the most effective ways to do this is by choosing reusable baby wipes. Not only are they the finest chemical-free baby wipes, but also convenient to use and budget-friendly.
Why choose reusable baby wipes?
Here are some reasons why you should consider using reusable cloth wipes for your toddler.
It’s better for the baby
Reusable wipes are made of organic cotton and contain no chemicals or toxins. You could use cotton cloth pieces you have at home but reusable wipes are specifically designed—both in fabric composition and size—for babies. They are convenient and last a long time.
Pure cotton wipes are super gentle on the skin and totally safe. You can rest assured they won’t cause irritation, allergies, or nappy rashes.
It’s better for the environment
As already mentioned, wet wipes are one of the main polluters in oceans and landfills.
Reusable wet wipes made of organic cotton last a long time and can be repurposed to be used in other ways. Meaning, you won’t throw them away as often as disposable wipes. It is estimated that 30-40 reusable wipes can replace 9000 disposable ones. That’s how much waste you’ll be keeping off landfills and oceans.
It saves money
This is a direct benefit. You need to use far fewer reusable wipes compared to disposable ones. The better quality you buy, the longer they will last. Aka, more bucks in your pocket. That’s better for both you and your little one.
Cleans up poop easily
Cotton cloths are far better when it comes to cleaning poopy bums. Where you end up using 8–10 disposable wipes cleaning poop—and still end up smearing it everywhere—you only need a maximum of 2 toweling cloths to clean up any mess instantly.
One helpful tip is to keep toilet paper at hand. You can wipe up the worst of the mess with papers and flush them down the toilet. After that, a final wipe with the cloth is all you need to do.
Here’s a savvy guide to the best practices to effortlessly use reusable baby wipes.
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Can you use baby wipes every day?
When you have a toddler baby wipes are a necessity every single day. It could be used for giving a cloth bath, cleaning up after meals, or cleaning up poop.
However, what kind of wipes you use plays an important role in determining whether it is safe to use every day.
If you’re using disposable wipes, it is essential to choose non-toxic ones. You’re going to be using these wipes every day, on the most delicate parts of your baby. It goes without saying only the safest baby wipes will do.
So, yes, as long as you are using safe baby wipes, it is alright to use them every day.
The Best Non-toxic Baby Wipes (Reusable)
Best Eco-friendly Disposable Baby Wipes
For times when you’re traveling, or for the occasional one-time use, consider getting these safe disposable baby wipes. While we still stand by reusable cloth wipes, at times you need to have a set of use-and-throw wipes at hand, and these are the safest options. Both for your baby, and the environment.
Baby care products are essential when you’re bringing up toddlers, and finding the right non-toxic alternatives can get a bit wearying. That’s where we come in.
Ecowiser offers the most sustainable and organic product recommendations for babies, through both our blog and our easy-to-use Chrome extension. Add our extension to your browser and get free, authentic sustainable baby care recs in a few clicks.
Keep an eye out on the blogs for more detailed features.
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