According to the 2007 Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) analysis of hidden ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products, 95% of baby wipes might be potentially contaminated with dangerous chemicals. In other words, 95% of baby wipes contain ingredients that have the potential to be contaminated and thus have hidden ingredients, in that the contamination itself essentially becomes an ingredient that is not disclosed.
From year to year, ingredients change. That’s why every year I check back with the manufacturers for new developments. Since I first started writing about baby wipes, which was in 2013, I noticed that Huggies baby wipes have become much safer. For example, the problematic preservatives, Methylparaben and Methylisothiazolinone, were gone in 2014. Coincidence? I’d like to think that our consumer pressure had something to do with it. So let’s keep paying attention to the ingredients and asking questions of manufacturers.
Trying to look up what chemicals are in baby wipes is a tricky thing! The big companies- Huggies, Curash, Aldi etc. don’t include their ingredients lists on their websites… Just a lot of words like ‘hypoallergenic’, ‘pH balanced’, ‘dermatologist tested’ etc. I literally had to go to the supermarket and take photos of the ingredients lists on the packets and go home and look them up! The ingredient names are all long and unfamiliar, so for most people, standing in the aisle with a baby getting restless, they would have no choice but to become a victim to the advertising of ‘trusted’ brands, with no opportunity to make an educated decision.
Because of the frequency with which we use baby wipes, the fact that they are used on the most delicate area of a baby, and the fact that we don’t wash the area off after use, I think it is imperative that we choose truly non-toxic wipes.
In terms of the environment, no disposable wipe–including the “eco-friendly” ones I will recommend below–is a green choice. Only water and a washcloth can be considered truly eco-friendly.
Nothing too alarming in these – some argue that there are hidden parabens in grapefruit seed extract, and some suggest triclosan is hidden in there during the processing of the ingredient. I think the percentage is pretty tiny in these wipes over all and they do rate a 0 on EWG’s Skin Deep. A sound alternative if you can’t or don’t want to DIY.
My discovery of what was in baby wipes led to a search for healthier alternatives. I found out that there are natural alternatives, including wipes made from bamboo, but they are expensive! I stumbled on some recipes for homemade baby wipes, but they suggested using baby oil (mineral oil) and baby lotion- check those out on Cosmetics Database too. I figured that if you could make your own with those ingredients, you could make a healthy version too!