We all want to know that what we expose our children to is safe. Especially because children are exposed to a variety of products every single day. Toothpaste, body wash, lotions, wipes… That’s why we decided to dive a little deeper into the world of wipes so that we could uncover the nasties and highlight the safest options for our littles.
This is broken down into three parts: the fibre it’s composed of, the preservative used and any chemical additives after that.
What are wipes made of?
The fibre wipes are made of varies largely, and equally so in health (and environmental) impact.
Many wipes are made with or from the same materials used to create plastic water and soda bottles (more on that, here). Petroleum-based polyester, polypropylene or cotton woven together with plastic resins are common blends made into wipes.
Microplastics and other chemicals that leach from these synthetic blends (see this blog post for more on that) are associated with a multitude of health effects, from endocrine disruption, lowered fertility, increased risk of endometriosis and some cancers.
It is best to avoid anything derived from petroleum due to these health effects, and to choose natural, sustainable materials which are guaranteed to be kinder on our bodies as well as our planet.
Not only that, but these synthetic fibre blends will not biodegrade and will instead take up to 200 years to break down, whilst contributing to ocean pollution.
Bamboo grows without the need for pesticides or fertilisers, is sustainable, non-toxic, naturally antibacterial and entirely compostable – making it a great option for wipes.
Preservatives Used in Wipes
You might notice “fruit extract” as a listed ingredient. Fruit extract is not considered a natural preservative because it can be contaminated with benzalkonium chloride – an allergen and skin irritant with EWG’s Skin Deep giving it a moderate toxicity score of 5/10.
Shockingly enough, formaldehyde-releasing chemicals can also be found being used as preservatives in wipes. Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical, known to cause cancer, damage the central nervous system and reproductive health. It can be absorbed into the body via inhalation, by the skin or by ingestion (who’s baby hasn’t chewed on a wipe before!?). Formaldehyde releasing chemicals that are used as preservatives in products include:
- Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin
- Diazolidinyl urea
- 1,3-dimethylol-5,5-dimethylhydantoin (or DMDM hydantoin)
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Polyoxymethylene Urea
Check your product label and ensure your chosen brand does not include those listed ingredients.
A safe option would be to choose wipes with Silver Dihydrogen Citrate (SDC) listed as their natural preservative. This is water-soluble, non-toxic, non-irritating, colourless, and odourless and is not absorbed through the skin.
Chemical Additives in Wipes
The number one thing you should know in terms of additional chemical additives, is to avoid any product with fragrance (perfume or parfum) listed as an ingredient. This is an umbrella term used to hide a multitude of chemical additives known to be harmful to human health, such as phthalates. Chemical additives to be aware of include:
- Propylene Glycol
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
- Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)
- Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate (IPBC)
Which Baby Wipes are the Safest?
The less ingredients, the better.
Choose a wipe made from a natural fibre, such as bamboo.
Look for one with a natural preservative, such as SDC.
Avoid any wipe containing fragrance, perfume or parfum.
We recommend Wotnot Natural Baby Wipes, which you can purchase from us here.
We carefully chose to stock Wotnot Natural Baby Wipes for being all-natural, made from 100% bamboo fibre, free from sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens, caustics and glycols. Plus, they are entirely biodegradable and compostable!
If all of this information has your head spinning (we get it, it's a lot to take in!) don't worry... we've now launched our Home Services to help families create the home of their dreams.
For virtual help navigating what is safe for children, check our availability for virtual consults so you can start fresh with a Healthy Home!
Welcome to the movement,