Last updated on August 13th, 2022 at 08:57 am
Babies go through a ton of baby wipes daily. With each use, you are applying the ingredients from the baby wipe to your baby’s delicate skin. So, choosing a safe baby wipe brand made from safer ingredients is important and easy.
In the midst of trying to detoxify our lifestyle, the last thing I even thought to look at was what was in our baby wipes. Until one day, I turned over my trusty refill of Huggies Supreme, only to see parabens on the ingredients label. It prompted me to take a closer look at the ingredients listed in conventional baby wipes, and some of the information I found, was downright disturbing.
Now, I want to preface our findings by saying this: A lot of the ingredients we’ve researched just don’t have enough studies done on them to really and truly say whether they’re safe for use. This was just our finding, and our opinion is: If there’s something out there that’s safer to use, we choose to use the safer option. A baby’s skin is so delicate, and given the number of wipes you use, we can’t imagine that all of those chemicals don’t add up over time. Also, because there are approximately 6 billion brands of wipes out there, and only two of us, we didn’t research every single brand. But, we did try to compile as many non-toxic baby wipes as we could.
Are Baby Wipes Safe?
Conventional baby wipes contain a variety of harmful ingredients. Listed are some of the worst chemicals found in baby wipes.
- Phthalates (fragrance)
- Propylene glycol
- See our Glossary for definitions.
Needless to say, you might not want to be rubbing chemically-laden wipes on precious newborns. Choosing a non-toxic baby wipe is starting to look like a pretty good idea. Isn’t it?
Baby Wipes Manufacturing Process
Not to be all Scary Mary, but. The chlorine process of making baby wipes and diapers is hard on the environment and our landfills.
Let’s not forget that the manufacturing process could cause contamination concerns. Think carcinogens like formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane.
FINE. (I can feel you rolling your eyes!)
So which baby wipes are safer?
The last time I published a cheat sheet there was a chart of everything that’s bad in mainstream products. This time I’d like to flesh out some of the more “natural” brands and give you the 411 on what they’re made of.
I’m not going to bother with commercial brands like Pampers, Huggies, and Kirkland, a lot of people ask me about these – have you looked at the ingredients?
If you can’t pronounce the list don’t bother with it.
These mainstream companies use ingredients like phthalates, parabens, and other chemicals. Which has me concerned about formaldehyde contamination and whatnot.
The Safer Baby Wipes Cheat Sheet will focus on:
- the EWG rating (Rates products on their ingredients with a hazard score, 0 being the Best and 9 being the Worst) if there is one,
- my thoughts on the product.
The goal of the Safe Baby Wipes Cheat Sheet is for you can make a choice that suits your preferences and budget.
I will also list some:
- Reusable baby wipe options
- DIY recipe if you want to cut down on your waste, costs, and chemicals.
WaterWipes Baby Wipes
Ingredients: Water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract.
Notes: 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 overall and they do rate a 1 on EWG’s Skin Deep. A sound alternative if you can’t or don’t want to DIY.
I spoke to the company and they assure me they have tested their grapefruit seed extract for contaminants: “As a precaution, we had our product tested for a number of contaminants such as benzalkonium chloride, triclosan and parabens, among others. The tests showed there is no need for concern as they were all clear as expected. We also tested for a large number of pesticides and multi-residue components. However, none were detected in our Grapefruit seed extract. We believe our supply of Grapefruit seed extract is a clean supply from a reputable supplier and there is no reason for concern.”
Read our WaterWipes Review Here
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (April 2022)
Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Isononanoate*, Ceteareth-20*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Gyceryl Stearate*, Vegetaruian Glycerin*, Ceteareth-12*, Cetyl Pamitate*, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol (* Derived from: Coconut and/or Palm Kernel Oil – which is just their way of making a processed chemical ingredient sound natural)
Notes: I really want to like these because they are easy to find but I have found that I have been repeatedly disappointed with BabyGanics products since they expanded and started mass producing a zillion products a few years ago.
They consistently use Phenoxyethanol in their products and I don’t think there is anything really that “organic” or natural about these wipes. Does anything in that list look natural to you besides maybe some processed vegetable glycerin?
I don’t like to badmouth a company if I can help it but BabyGanics is pretty well versed in the greenwashing language. I want to trust BabyGanics, but I just don’t.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2 (April 2022)
Honest Company Wipes
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Peucedanum Ostruthium (Masterwort) Leaf Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Silver Citrate
Notes: I don’t see anything too problematic in these baby wipes ingredients wise. I have tested them out and do like how they perform as well. They are also compostable according to Honest Company which I think is rather cool.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1-2 (April 2022)
Jackson Reece “Kinder By Nature” Herbal Baby Wipes (Unscented)
Ingredients: Aqua (Purified and Deionised Water),*Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Betaine ,Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Levulinic Acid,Sodium Levullinate ,Glycerine,Potassium Sorbate (Preservative) , Sodium Citrate,*Certified Organic Ingredients ,*Aloe Vera Certified Organic by Mayacert
Notes:I reviewed these a few years ago, though I tried the scented version. They were nice wipes, the scent was a bit strong but they worked fine. I’m glad to see they have an unscented version now. Nothing too alarming in the ingredients list.
I found the texture to be a little weird but the ingredients kind of make up for it. I’d have to say these are one of the safer brands, now more readily available on Amazon in the US. UK shoppers have a bevy of options – their website lists stores to find them in.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A
Eco by Naty Babycare Wipes
Ingredients: Aqua, Gluconolactone, Glycerin, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Propylene Glycol, Decyl Glucoside, Citric Acid, Calcium Gluconate, Chamomilla Recuita Flower extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.
Notes: They have reformulated these wipes to eliminate the use of phenoxyethanol and some of the PEG ingredients, however, they are using Propylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate and a non-organic aloe juice which can always have a risk of paraben preservation from the distributor.
According to the company they are 100% compostable, biodegradable and chlorine-free which is good but I have a hard time with propylene glycol degrading into the environment. Apparently, it has a fast rate of degradation and a “low toxicity” to animal and sea life but… is that good enough? Not sure. Seems unnecessary for a baby wipe.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: N/A
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Wipes
Ingredients: Water, cocoamidoproply pg-dimonium chloride phosphate, sodium benzoate, quillaja saponaria wood extract, citric acid, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, tocopheryl acetate. The wipe material used in this product is a blend of wood pulp, polypropylene and polyethylene.
Notes: This is a new formula (it is what they have published). I received several emails asking about the new formula of “Free & Clear” baby wipes. They have pared down the list of ingredients but it’s not all that different.
I liked the old formula better because it didn’t have sodium benzoate in it. These still contain aloe which can sometimes be preserved with parabens by the distributor before they use the ingredient.
I can’t seem to get an answer on that from the company. The new packaging also doesn’t state “chlorine free” like the older wipes and they changed the material. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the new texture not working well. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them and how they work for you!
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2 (April 2022)
Aleva Naturals Bamboo Baby Wipes
Ingredients: Water (Purified & De-Ionized), Glycerin, Camelia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) (Certified Organic), Didecyldimonium Chloride, Citrus Limonum (Lemon) Oil, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) (Certified Organic), Lauralkonium Chloride, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil
Notes: A new brand for us here that makes a lot of claims of natural, but I see a few ingredients I typically question. Phenoxyethanol is not a deal breaker for me unless there are options that work without it. The same goes for Cocamidopropyl Betaine due to contamination concerns.
A lot of these wipe companies add SOME kind of preservative or else your wipes get moldy rather quick. Both of those ingredients score a 4 in EWG Skin Deep but the product averages a 2. Both this one and the Sensitive version of wipes score the same.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2 (April 2022)
Reusable Baby Wipes
- GroVia Reusable Cloth Wipes – I love these. I have them and stole them for myself as face cloths for removing make-up and dirt. They are SO SOFT it’s ridiculous. For baby, I use it in conjunction with a diaper spray, or simply just water.
- Thirsties Cloth Wipes – Super duper soft
- Under The Nile Cloth Terry Wipes
- A reader also recommended using Etsy.com to find great cloth baby wipes and that was a great tip. There are tons for a great price. Cute ones too!
Make Your Own Non-toxic Baby Wipes.
- cloth wipes
- water or a natural wipes solution
- a wet bag for laundering
Other Handy Products and Resources to DIY
Lusa Organics Baby Wipe Juice. A cloth diapering parent’s favorite. This stuff has several uses but was created with baby wipes in mind.
To Use: You simply combine 1-3 tsps of Baby Wipe Juice to 1 cup of water and pour over your wipes. SafeMama approves all LuSa Organics products. Love that company!
SafeMama’s Baby Wipe Spray Recipe
My favorite way to DIY baby wipes is not to bother making wet wipes. It’s messy, and I find it more effective to create a spray and apply as needed. I re-purpose an old California Baby Diaper Area Wash spray bottle for this. Add to a small spray bottle and shake gently before each use:
- 1 cup water
- 3-5 drops Earth Mama Organics Castille soap (I use less so it’s not so sudsy)
- Optional 1-2 drops essential oil (I use lavender oil but tea tree oil would be good too)
I keep the spray bottle near my changing station and spray a cloth wipe until wet enough to wipe with or I spray directly on their bum for bigger messes.