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.
- Formaldehyde – 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.
For more detailed information on chemicals used in baby wipes, visit this page.
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.
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)
The Best Non-toxic Baby Wipes (Reusable)
Mukin washcloths are free of chemicals like formaldehyde, and other illegal residues. They’re made of 100% high-quality muslin cloth. They will last you for long, so you do not have to worry about trashing them.
These cotton washcloths are on the larger side with a size of 12” x 12”. They are six-layered, pure white in color, and machine washable. The quality is ultra-soft and extremely safe to be used on baby skin. You get a pack of 10 clothes for the price of $15. Get them here.
Photo: Mukin Store
ImseVimse Organic Cotton Washable Reusable Baby Wipes
ImseVimse reusable baby wipes are made of 100% GOTS Certified cotton. The brand uses low-impact dyes which bond directly with the fabric and do not leach from it. Since the cloths are pure cotton, there are no chemicals and toxins used in the making.
These wipes are super soft and thick enough to gently clean all the folds in your baby’s skin. They come in a size of 9×9 inches and you get a pack of 10 reusable baby wipes for $21. If you’re looking for sensitive baby wipes, these are one of the best choices.
Photo: ImseVimse Store
Burt’s Bees is a well-known brand for organic personal care products. Its organic baby wipes are also one of the best wipes on the list. They’re made of 100% GOTS Certified cotton and are super absorbent and breathable. They’re also combed and ring-spun for durability and softness.
One side of the washcloths has knit terry cloth texture, while the other side has loop texture. They come in dimensions of 9×9 inches and you get a pack of 6 wipes for $13. There are dyed versions available, but you can always go for the pure white ones just to be safer. Find them here.
Geffen Baby Wipes
Geffen Wipes are made of organic cotton and hemp, which makes them even better for the environment. Hemp is a quality sustainable fabric made from a high-yielding crop. It’s one of the strongest and most durable organic fabrics available. It’s also biodegradable, so that’s a plus. All Giffen Wipes are made of 60% hemp and 40% cotton.
Geffen offers these organic baby wipes in 3 different varieties: French Terry, Jersey, and Fleece. The clothes are incredibly soft and the hemp makes them a bit more absorbent compared to plain cotton. They’re single-layered, so a single wipe easily cleans all the nooks and crannies. 10 9”x9” wipes are available for $18.28. Get them here.
OsoCozy makes some of the most affordable organic chemical-free baby wipes. The brand uses organic cotton harvested according to the SKAL International Standards for Sustainable Textile Production. These wipes are made in the USA by stay-at-home grandmas and moms and are 100% unbleached—you can rest assured they’re free of all toxins and chemicals.
The wipes come in packs of 15 and measure 8″x8″. They are super absorbent and gentle on baby skin. For $9 per pack, they’re a steal. The single-layer fabric makes sure that it fully cleans the folds, is easy to wash, and dries quickly. These are some of the best sensitive baby wipes on the list. Find them here.
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.
These are 100% plastic-free and fully biodegradable plant-based wipes. They are one of our top picks for disposable baby wipes. Jackson Reece wipes decompose in 60 days, are vegan, and are free of all chemicals. The packaging is also 100% recyclable.
These unscented baby wipes are made of organic wood pulp and a non-irritating, Ph balanced liquid solution that’s gentle on the baby’s skin—you can freely use them without worrying about any side effects. They are available in 4 packs of 56 baby wipes for $15.99. Get them here.
Photo: Jackson Reece Store
Bum Boosa Baby Wipes
Bum Boosa is a certified B Corp, cruelty-free, and woman-owned company that makes organic bamboo products for babies. Bum Boosa wipes are made of bamboo pulp, are free of harsh chemicals and synthetics, and are biodegradable. They are extremely safe to use and will not cause any irritation or allergies for your toddler.
Bum Boosa wipes are available in a pack of 80 sheets in a size of 8”x6”. While they are a bit on the pricey side, it’s a good deal if you’re looking to buy baby wipes in bulk. They last for a long time and are an eco-friendly and safe alternative. Find them on the Bum Boosa website here.
Babo Botanicals is a certified B Corp, cruelty-free, family-owned small business. It makes organic personal care products that are kind to the environment and your health. All its products are made on a certified organic farm in upstate New York, in small batches. Babo’s 3-in-1 sensitive baby wipes are hypoallergenic and completely safe for everyday use.
These baby wipes are free of chemicals like parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, or formaldehyde-releasers. They have a comforting mild scent that is not harsh on the skin and are 100% plant-based and fully biodegradable. They’re available in a pack of 30 pre-moistened wipes for $7.99. Get them here.
Joonya Natural Baby Wipes
Joonya baby wipes are some of the best in the industry. Joonya is a cruelty-free and vegan organic brand that makes safe and green baby products. Its baby wipes are made from Forest Stewardship Council approved wood pulp and are fully non-toxic, plant-based, and biodegradable. They’ve also been awarded several Australian awards for their baby wipes.
The Joonya unscented baby wipes have the right amount of wetness and are super soft on the skin. The texture and thickness of the wipes are just right to clean inside the folds of your little one’s skin, without causing any irritation or rashes. Joonya also has a subscription based model for anyone who wants to get these wipes delivered monthly. Try these amazing baby wipes here.
Eco Pea Unbleached Bamboo Baby Wipes
Eco Pea is an environmentally conscious wipes and diaper brand that makes bamboo products for babies. Its bamboo wipes are crafted from 100% FSC certified biodegradable bamboo with a liquid formula made of 99% water. The wipes are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and hypoallergenic. The brand’s shipping process is also carbon neutral.
Eco Pea baby wipes are unscented, and unbleached, so they’re gentle on sensitive baby skin. The sheets are thick yet soft, so they absorb a great deal without causing rashes or irritation. They are available in individual packs of 60 wipes each, or a box of 12 packs of 60. You can choose at your convenience. Try Eco Pea unscented baby wipes here.
Natracare Organic Cotton Baby Wipes
Natracare is one of our favorite non-toxic brands that consistently makes amazing eco-friendly products at a price range similar to conventional unsustainable products. Its organic baby wipes are USDA certified, vegan, made with sustainable resources, and fully biodegradable. They are free of irritants and harmful chemicals.
These wipes are unscented, ultra-soft to the touch, and have the right texture to clean without being harsh. They are pH balanced and free of alcohol, and extremely suitable for sensitive skin. They’re also super affordable at a pack of 50 small wipes each for $6. Get them here.
Photo: Natracare Store
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 blog for more detailed features.