An Expert Guide to Baby Wipes

There are a lot of different types of baby wipes on the market! Baby & Toddler Expert Kristina Spencer breaks down the options and how they differ.

A baby is eating a wipe.

Photo by Matt Walsh

Parents are increasingly conscientious about what products they use with their children, and baby wipes are no exception. Wipes are necessary when you have an infant but that doesn't mean you have to settle for a chemical-filled, environmentally threatening product. Wipes companies are changing to match parents’ desires, and now there are many options available that check off all the boxes, but how do you decide which pack of wipes best matches your lifestyle? Answered below are the biggest questions and concerns parents often have about wipes to give you the knowledge to make a decision about which wipes are best for you.

What Do the Labels on the Package Mean?

Hypoallergenic

A package of Water Wipes with Soapberry.

Water Wipes with Soapberry

Newborns have sensitive skin and some babies have skin that is more sensitive than others. Diaper rash is unpleasant for both babies and parents, so for babies with delicate skin, consider the use of baby wipes that have the seal of acceptance by the National Eczema Association of America.

Hypoallergenic baby wipes are free of harsh chemicals, alcohol, artificial dyes, and artificial fragrances to be gentle on baby’s skin. They are also often dermatologist-tested and ph-balanced. Other labels often synonymous with hypoallergenic wipes are “Gentle” or “Sensitive.”

Some of the best baby wipes for sensitive skin are Water Wipes. These wipes are made from 99.9% water with no artificial ingredients or harsh chemicals. These are about as natural as you can get for baby wipes and won't cause skin irritation or diaper rashes.

Fragrance-Free

Perfumes have been in use for approximately 4,000 years, but it is only in the last 100 years that artificial fragrances were added to perfumes. It used to be that almost everything had artificial scents to make them smell good, but people started discovering that those artificial scents weren't as harmless as originally thought.

With the recent push for healthy, natural living, companies are remaking their baby products to be more appealing to concerned parents. No longer will you have to scan the tiny print to find the ingredients you are concerned about; baby wipes packages will label in clear letters (usually on the front of the package) that they are either fragrance-free or perfume-free.

Don't worry, this does not mean you will have a stinky baby! Rather, you get to enjoy the unchanged, comforting baby aroma of your child.

Natural Ingredients

Ingredients are more important than ever as parents are increasingly concerned about what they are exposing their babies' sensitive skin to. To avoid ingredients such as chlorine, parabens, formaldehyde, phenols, and sulfates, aim for more gentile, sensitive baby wipes that contain plant-based ingredients such as organic aloe vera, vitamin E, and chamomile to help retain moisture on your baby's skin instead of drying it out.

Baby Wipes Can't Be Eco-Friendly, Can They?

You're concerned about the environment but you rely on baby wipes (and a lot of them!) for everything. How do you find environmentally-responsible companies when you are purchasing a single-use product?

Sustainable Materials

Look for wipes that are made using sustainable materials. Cotton and bamboo are the most common materials used in baby wipes. Most people know of cotton as a super soft, highly durable, absorbent fabric. However, a lot of cotton is bleached to make it pure white, so if you are trying to avoid chorine, unbleached cotton wipes are a good alternative for your skin and the environment.

Bamboo wipes are also a sustainable alternative to standard baby wipes that are bleached and treated with chemicals. Fast-growing bamboo makes for a soft fabric that can be sustainably farmed.

Plant-Based Ingredients

Many wipes companies are branching away from the use of chemicals. If you are trying to stick to your vegan lifestyle or only want to use organic products on your skin, look for organic, plant-based ingredients. If you are vegan, it is good to know that some wipes companies, like Water Wipes, are endorsed by the Vegan Society, so you know they will not have any hidden ingredients you are trying to avoid.

Do You Just Use Baby Wipes for Diaper Changes?

Diaper wipes will quickly become the most valuable piece of baby gear in your house. They are amazingly useful for cleaning your baby's bottom but also for everything else—including wiping noses! But they don't have to just be used on your baby's skin; wipes have so many other handy uses as well.

Baby Gear

The Medela Quick-Clean Wipes.

The Medela Quick-Clean Wipes

Babies are known for making messes, but how are you supposed to clean up after them when you are on the go? Wipes are an easy way to clean up when you don't have time to get out a soapy rag to scrub down the highchair or breast pump.

Pacifiers

The First Years GumDrop Pacifier Wipes.

The First Years GumDrop Pacifier Wipes

In my experience, most parents have a love-hate relationship with their baby's pacifier. A pacifier is amazing for soothing your infant—until it gets dropped on the ground, and then you have a problem. When you are at home, it’s easy to wash it off and give it back to your baby, but what about when you are out and don’t have water and soap nearby? Using wipes to clean off the pacifier will make you feel more comfortable the next time your baby accidentally drops it in the dirt or decides to share his pacifier with the dog.

Cradle Cap

A package of Noggin Wipes.

Noggin Wipes

Your baby's skin is still adjusting to the environment which can make some babies sensitive to cradle cap. Cradle cap is harmless, but it can be irritating to the skin and wipes can help soothe your baby's scalp.

Are Baby Wipes Just for Babies?

Baby wipes are so useful that once you start buying them, you might not stop, even after your babies are out of diapers! Moist and soft textured, they feel great to wipe down sweaty or sticky skin. Keep a pack in your car to clean up after your messy lunch or to wipe your hands with after changing a flat tire!

How Do I Keep Wipes from Drying Out?

The OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser.

OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser

Every parent knows the frustration of starting a diaper change, discovering that the wipes package did not stay shut, and then finding that the wipes are now entirely dried out and useless. To make sure this doesn't happen, a wipes dispenser will keep the wipes moist and keep you from pulling out too many at once.

Keeping wipes in your diaper bag is necessary but you often don't have room for a full-sized package. A travel-sized dispenser is perfect for your bag because you can add just enough wipes to use for a few diaper changes without the added bulk and weight.

While baby wipes are most famous for cleaning up during diaper changes, they are a versatile product that is at superhero status for most parents. With all the uses available for a baby wipes pack, you will figure out very quickly how much you can't imagine life before them. Whether you take them backpacking, keep a pack in your car, or use them at the house, you will find that once you start using them, you will struggle to stop. To find the perfect baby wipe for you (and the best diaper change setup), chat with a Baby & Toddler Expert here on Curated.

This content is meant to be informative and add to your understanding of this subject, but it is not definitive nor a replacement for your own sensibility. Neither Curated nor any Curated Expert is responsible for any liability resulting from information or advice shared here. Please consult with a medical professional for any health concerns.

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Written By
I have been a mom for 15 years. For a time I had three kids aged 3 and younger; then my fourth and youngest child was born when my oldest was still only 5 years old. Life was a slightly controlled, chaotic, busy, loud, and beautiful mess. I have great memories of that period of my life even though a...

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