Ever checked the ingredients on your baby wipes? Yeah, I hadn’t either. The Cosmetics Database gives you a complete list and a hazard rating of the different brands of wipes. For instance:
Pampers Clean and Go Wipes Contain
Water, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Caprylic Triglyceride, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Hydroxymethlyglycinate, Citric Acid, Fragrance
Clean and Go Wipes are given a 5 for hazard (out of 10) and warnings include possible allergies, immunotoxicity and organ system toxicity. No thanks!
Huggies Cucumber and Green Tea Wipes
Ingredients: Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, DMDM Hydantoin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Malic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Fragrance
These wipes have a hazard rating of 7 and ingredients have been linked to cancer, immunotoxicity, allergies, developmental problems, reproductive toxicity, organ dysfunction, endocrine disruption and cellular changes.
I used these wipes for years, figuring that if they were made for a newborn’s skin, they must be safe. Apparently not!
Are There Safe Alternatives?
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!
After much trial and error (mainly error), I finally have a great recipe for baby wipes that after using it on two kids for several weeks, has shown no irritation. A side benefit to my wipe making experiment is that homemade wipes are a lot cheaper. When I buy ingredients in bulk, the wipes end up costing less than one cent each, saving us almost $200 a year with two in diapers. Healthier and cheaper- I’ll take it!
Homemade Baby Wipe Ingredients
- 1 roll of heavy duty paper towels (Note: I use Bounty for wipes. I don’t use them in my kitchen, but cheap paper towels do not work for wipes… I’ve tried)
- Rubbermaid #6 or #8 container- (Old wipes containers, plastic shoe box containers, old plastic coffee containers or empty gallon plastic ice cream buckets also work. )
- 1 3/4 cups boiled water (or distilled)-cooled but still warm – (can just use regular water if you use them in less than a week like we do)
- 1 Tablespoon of pure aloe vera- check the ingredients
- 1 Tablespoon of pure Witch Hazel Extract
- 1 Tablespoon of Liquid Castille Soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s)
- 10 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract or 2 capsules of Vitamin E (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of Olive or Almond Oil (optional)
- Essential Oils of choice (optional- I use 6 drops each of orange and lavender)
How to Make Homemade Natural Baby Wipes
- Cut the roll of paper towels in half using a sharp knife
- If using a plastic shoe box or old wipe container, accordion fold the wipes into the container. If using a Rubbermaid #6 container (I highly recommend), place the wipes, cut side down in container.
- In bowl or quart size jar mix the water, aloe, witch hazel, castille soap, GSE/Vitamin E and oil and stir.
- Add essential oils if desired and stir.
- Pour over paper towels in container and let absorb- this takes about 5-10 minutes.
- Flip the container over to make sure wipes are well soaked.
- If using Rubbermaid container, pull the cardboard roll out from the inside This should also pull the innermost wipe out and start them for you. Depending on the brand of paper towels you use, you might have to experiment with the amount of water to get the right amount.
- Use as you would regular wipes, and smile, knowing you are not causing your beautiful child any future health problems!
- Note: If your child has extremely sensitive skin, you may need to leave out the essential oils or use calendula or chamomile.
Reusable Homemade Wipes
If you like the disposable wipes you make, you can make reusable ones also. Just cut up old receiving blankets and t-shirts into 8×8 squares. fold them into old wipes containers and pour the same mixture (above) onto them or spray on each wipe with a spray bottle before using. These are an even cheaper option, and I am working on using these all the time.
This has been one of my most fun homemade discoveries. These wipes are definitely kid approved. Every time I change the baby, the older two hover around the wipes to smell them, and usually try to steal one, which they use to clean things. (Guess I’ve instilled this a little too well). We inadvertently discovered that these wipes also clean tile, counters, leather, and flooring well, but they leave residue on stainless steel.
I now make a lavender or tea tree version to use for all purpose disinfecting when we’re traveling and reusable make up removing wipes for me (stay tuned for that recipe).
Please try making your own wipes. It really takes very little time and is a great alternative to store bought wipes.
TIP: If you don’t want to make your own wipe solution, Branch Basics (diluted 10 parts water to 1 part Branch Basics) can be sprayed on these wipes or reusable wipes as a non-toxic and human safe wipe solution.
Willing to try it? Maybe you already make your own… please tell me about it below!