Baby wipes are disposable towelettes used for cleaning the sensitive skin of infants. The technology to create baby wipes was developed in the late 1970s, and the first baby wipe products appeared on the market soon after and quickly became a necessity for most new parents in the developed countries.
Why should I be aware of this?
Parents want to give the best possible care to their new born. A newborn baby also means a lot of work lovingly undertaken by the parents. Parents opt for healthy and convenient products.
Baby wipe offers a safe, harmless, hygienic, healthy and convenient option. As product and ingredient awareness increases, people question the extent to which the baby wipe provides what they are looking for.
All about baby wipes
Baby wipes are made from non-woven fabrics similar to those used in dryer sheets and are saturated with a solution of gentle cleansing ingredients. Baby wipes are typically sold in plastic tubs that keep the cloths moist and allow for easy dispensing. These cloths are made from non-woven fabrics similar to those used in dryer sheets and are saturated with a solution of gentle cleansing ingredients. The fabric used for the cloths is chosen on the basis of durability, cost, and absorbency.
Packaging is also an important design component and some of the packages are designed to easily dispense single sheets while keeping the towelettes moist until ready for use.
Ingredients to avoid in baby wipes
- Benzethonium chloride used in some baby wipes is highly toxic. Ingesting even a small amount may cause vomiting, collapse, convulsions, coma or death
- Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) and PEGs Lanolins should not be used on damaged skin due to concerns over kidney toxicity.5,12 These chemicals are also prone to ethylene oxide contamination. Ethylene oxide is associated with cancer of the blood and lymph systems.13 PEGs are found in cleaning products
- Phthalates, which are often ingredients in fragrances, include chemicals that are suspected carcinogens and hormone disruptors
- 2-Phenoxyethanol can cause central nervous depression; nausea, vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea; prominent headache or other pain.
Baby wipes and health
Though baby wipes aid us to keep our baby clean and germ free, some of its ingredients might harm the baby's health.
- Propylene glycol, a derivative of natural gas, is commonly found in commercial baby wipes because it provides moisturizing properties. While identified by the Food and Drug Administration as being generally recognized as safe, propylene glycol can cause skin irritations, deafness, kidney damage and liver problems.
- If you are using baby wipes that are bleached with chlorine, be wary of this toxic chemical.
- The dioxin present in wipes is a known carcinogen.
- Synthetic fragrances can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and headaches. If baby is suffering from eczema, synthetic ingredients can also aggravate the issue.
Baby wipes and environment
Most baby wipes are made of polyester, even the eco friendly ones have some component of polyster. These are not biodegradable and clog landfills. If they are flushed, then toxic chemicals leach into the waterways and ground water.
The plastic tub used for packaging is also not biodegradable.
What can I do?
Make baby wipes at home
- Ingredients - Round plastic container (Rubbermaid #6 or #9 works well)
Thick, strong roll of white paper towels Sharp knife to cut paper towel roll in half 2 cups water that has been boiled and cooled to room temperature 2 Tablespoons baby shampoo or baby wash 1 Tablespoon baby oil
- Cut the roll of paper towels in half with a knife and remove the inner cardboard core.
- Mix liquid ingredients in container.
- Place the paper towels in the container with the cut side facing downward.
- Secure lid tightly and allow to sit until all liquid is absorbed into the paper towels.
- Turn the container upside-down and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Open container and 'start' the roll by pulling a towel from the inside of the roll.
- Wipes are now ready to use.