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Baby wipes are essential to every nursery. Yet, store-bought, disposable wipes are often loaded with chemicals – even the natural brands.
The Dangers of Disposable Baby Wipes
Here’s a label for a popular brand of “natural” baby wipes:
Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Maleic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)
I can’t pronounce half the words in that list and those are the ones that are considered “ingredient concerns” by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) as part of their Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. DMDM Hydantoin is a formaldehyde-based preservative that’s been linked to cancer and allergies. And the artificial fragrances used in baby wipes may lead to allergies or allergic reactions.
Is that what you want to use on your baby?
The Problem with Natural Disposable Baby Wipes
Even some natural brands have ingredients such as Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate. While not considered as hazardous, these ingredients aren’t exactly the “natural” ingredients most parents consider when spending more money on a natural brand.
Disposable Baby Wipes and the Environment
In addition, there’s the environmental impact. Baby wipes end up in landfills – along with disposable diapers, which generates 7.6 billion pounds of garbage each year. Used baby wipes are often wrapped up in disposable diapers and tossed in the trash – making diapers the 3rd largest consumer item in landfills and represent 30% of non-biodegradable waste.1
Just recently, UK sewage workers had to had to unclog a 15-ton (yes, ton!) mess of mostly disposable baby wipes and congealed cooking fat. Say it with me, “ewwwww”. Homeowners and city sewer systems are dealing with the growing problem of baby wipes getting flushed down the toilet.2
Even the baby wipes labeled as “biodegradable” often do not biodegrade in landfills because sun and air are needed for them to break down – and biodegradable baby wipes and diapers are usually buried under heaps of garbage without sunlight or air.3
What You Can Do Instead
Consider making your own reusable baby wipes. It’s really easy to do and usually requires just 4-5 ingredients you already have in your pantry. Plus, you can customize the ingredients to deal with diaper rashes, thrush/yeast, dry skin, etc.
Check out How to Make Homemade Baby Wipes to learn more. My recipe is perfect for soothing runny noses and dry cheeks when your little ones have a cold too. Conventional baby wipes contain drying ingredients that can aggravate dry skin, so opt for these homemade baby wipes instead.
Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com / ozaiachinn