A baby wipes is a moist disposable piece of cloth meant to clean babies and young children that began to appear in the market in the late 1970s. These wet wipe usage is growing extensively due to their convenience. They act as a perfect anytime ease for cleaning dirty hands, faces and bum during a diaper change.
Baby wipes are made up of 2 things
- Fabric – More than 90% of wipes found in the market are made up of non-woven fabric. Non –woven fabric is an artificially created fabric-like material that is neither knitted nor woven like polyester, polypropylene, polyamide, rayon, etc. And most consumers think wet wipes are made with cotton and not with plastic.
- Cleansing & Moistening ingredient – Water is the major ingredient in baby wipes. The presence of water makes the wipe susceptible to microorganism growth; hence the use of preservatives is necessary to prevent microbial growth. Any wipe including baby wipes also contains surfactants (detergent/cleanser) to lower surface tension to provide better cleaning.
Thus, a baby wipe certainly contains much more than a fabric moistened with water.
Baby wipe = Fabric + Water + Surfactant + Preservative
The market is continuously evolving to cater to different segment consumer needs concerning new styles, sizes, formulation (natural ingredients, pH balanced), convenience (more absorbent), cost-effectiveness, etc.
Natural ingredients with words like hypoallergenic are featured on the product to appeal to the consumer.
Let’s quickly check the ingredients of one of the best baby wipe brands.
Water wipes – Are marketed as the purest wipes made with only two ingredients – 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract. But in reality, there is much more than the two marketed ingredients. Refer to the image. The ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride act as a detergent and preservative in personal care, health care, household, and industrial products.
So what you get in the name of the best natural and purest wipe in the world certainly contains cleansing & preservative agents. Thus, baby wipes cannot be 100% free from chemicals/synthetics & preservatives.
The growing consumer awareness is forcing the brands to disclose complete ingredients on the product. However, there is still a lack of transparency when it comes to the nature of the fabric.
Although the ecological impact is not everyone’s worry, non-woven wipes degrade into microplastics causing harm to marine life and the overall ecosystem.
All those who want to go completely safe with just no usage of safe or unsafe chemicals made products will have to make a little effort to make their instant moist wipes.
Ready to use things are a convenience but a mother’s informed timely decision and effort can curtail the extensive use of baby wipes and many more sought for convenience products resulting in reduced exposure to chemicals.