Sustainable Alternatives to Wet Wipes – Nest Designs
Wet wipes for babies are one of many essential items that you’ll need as a new parent. These handy, dandy baby wipes are great for cleaning messes like nappy changes to wiping icky fingers to blotting food stains off of your bub’s clothes. Because let’s face it — while little ones are super adorable, there is never a shortage of messes. While disposal wet wipes are super convenient, they can also be a huge problem for the environment. In this blog post, we’ll discuss conventional baby wet wipes, how they may not be a sustainable choice, and eco-friendly alternatives to baby wipes.
Why wet wipes aren’t eco-friendly
Did you know that in a baby’s first year of life, they use on average 2,000 to 2,200 diapers? That’s a whole lot of diaper changes not including the number of baby wipes used! However, baby wipes can be harmful to the environment because they contain plastic fibres. Sadly, plastic doesn’t ever truly go away once we throw it out. Once we throw out a conventional baby wipe, it breaks down into microplastic, makes its way into our environment and waters, and harms our marine life, wildlife, and us humans too.
Some baby wet wipes are advertised as flushable. However, flushable wet wipes don’t actually break down like toilet paper does. When wet wipes are flushed, they cling to pipes, catch any debris and grease, and create “balls” of waste that end up plugging our sewers. In the UK, they found that wet wipes account for 90% of the material that are clogging up the sewage system. In Canada, wet wipes are causing taxpayers at least $250 million a year because they’re creating sewer plugs.
Why you should switch to dry baby wipes
Parenting is a busy job! We get it — disposable baby wipes are convenient and easy to use. It’s hard to think that we’re adding to the waste and pollution. Besides being harmful to the environment, many baby wipes contain a cocktail of toxic chemicals and fragrances. This can irritate your baby’s skin especially if they are experiencing rashes or eczema.
That’s why we created dry baby wipes made from 100% cotton. One of our dry baby wipes is made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.. With dry baby wipes, you know exactly what is going on your baby’s skin. There are no unknown, toxic chemicals, dyes, or fragrances on our baby wipes, making them great for babies with sensitive skin. To use them, you can make your DIY baby wipes solution or just simply use water. One of our Nest Designs’ employees use them and found that she was using fewer wipes per diaper change! That means, instead of using five or more wipes to clean a blowout, you might use one or two. This not only saves you money but is better for the environment since you’re putting less wet wipes into the trash. Plus, they can be easily thrown into your diaper bag.
Alternatives to wet wipes
Our dry baby wipes are one alternative to conventional baby wipes. Other alternatives to wet wipes include:
#1: Reusable Cloth Wipes
Reusable cloth wipes create less waste and help you avoid any harmful chemicals like our dry baby wipes. To use them, you can add water or DIY a baby wipes solution. There are many brands of cloth wipes available. If you’re looking for the softest material to use on your baby’s skin, we recommend ones that are made from cotton terry or bamboo. To store your cloth wipes for diapering at home or on-the-go, you can put them in a reusable wipes container and fill them with your DIY solution.
#2: Use Baby Washcloths
Baby washcloths like these can also be used for cloth wipes. Like reusable cloth wipes that can be purposed, baby washcloths are usually made from materials that are great for your baby’s delicate skin. Our Bubs Baby Washcloths are made from four to six layers of buttery soft bamboo blended muslin. They’re super absorbent, hypoallergenic, and naturally anti-bacterial.
#3: Wash and Go
Wash and go is an alternative if you’re in the convenience of your own home and looking to use less wipes in general. Simply take the diaper off, take your baby to the bathroom sink, wash them up, pat them dry, and place a new diaper on!
While wet wipes for babies are a convenient, easy-to-use solution, they can contain chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin and harm the environment. Parenting is busy and using cloth wipes may not be for everyone. However, there are many other alternatives that would be right for your family like our dry baby wipes. These alternatives are great for the messes babies make and are gentler on your baby’s skin.
Ready to make the switch to a non-toxic, better for your baby and the planet alternative? Shop our baby dry wipes here.
What’s the green alternative to baby wipes and wet wipes? Wet wipe ban UK
Looking for the best reusable baby wipes so you can reduce your use of single-use items? In this post, you’ll find out about different types of washable, reusable wipes and other green alternatives to wet wipes such as biodegradable wipes.
Reusable Cotton Wipes from Handmade Tales on Etsy
Having a baby and raising children can mean the use of many single-use items which contain plastic such as nappies and baby wipes. There are simple ways to be a shade greener though which will also save you money, as well as helping to save the planet. In May 2018 the government announced it wants to ban wet wipes which contain plastic following a report that a staggering 93% of sewerage blockages in the UK are caused by wet wipes. The Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean discovered that the number of wet wipes has more than doubled between 2013 and 2014. It’s important that we try to make our use of wet wipes more eco-friendly. So what’s the green alternative to baby wipes and wet wipes? The ideal solution would be if you could find a reusable alternative.
Greenest – use a reusable alternative to baby wipes
Best reusable baby wipes
Reusable baby wipes cloths are the best eco-friendly option and you can buy various types. If you’re out and about with your baby or young children, take a damp face cloth, flannel or muslin cotton cloth in a re-sealable plastic bag or a slim tupperware box. If you prefer, you can take dry cloths and a bottle of tap water with you. It will save you money and is more effective. It also reduces the number of chemicals your baby comes into contact with and cuts down on waste going to landfill as you can wash and re-use the cloths.
Handmade Tales reusable baby wipes
These cute giraffe reusable baby wipes (see image above) are handmade from brushed cotton making them soft and gentle on baby’s skin. Different designs are available.
Buy from Handmade Tales and use this exclusive discount code for 20% off (“20OFFBEASHADEGREENER”) or from her Etsy shop
Naturally Evergreen Organic Hemp Baby Wipes
High-quality organic hemp wipes made from a sustainable source of hemp fabric. These hemp pads will soften with each wash and will last you years. They can be used for babies and children, make-up, surfaces or anything you would normally use a wet wipe or cloth for.
Buy from Naturally Evergreen on Etsy
Make your own reusable baby wipes
Make your own reusable cloths by cutting up old T-shirts or towels. If you don’t have any at home, you can probably pick up some from a charity shop.
My favourite organic, unbleached muslin cloths are from Green Fibres (buy from Amazon) and I use these to cleanse my face. You can also buy muslin cloths from Balance Me.
Greener – Eco-friendly baby wet wipes
If you try the ideas above and still prefer disposable baby wipes, you could make your own or give these organic and natural baby wipes a go. Although some of these are flushable, it’s better not to flush as they can still cause blockages in your toilet and the sewerage system.
Aquaint Happy Planet Biodegradable Wipes
Biodegradable, plastic-free, fragrance-free baby wipes from Happy Planet, made from dispersible cellulose plant fibres and designed to be used from birth. The wipes contain purified water and apple extract making them suitable for sensitive skin, and they are completely free from any fragrances or alcohol. The wipes are made with 0% polyester and free from plastic, helping to remove plastic waste from our waterways and oceans.
Buy Aquaint Happy Planet Biodegradable Wipes from Ethical Superstore
Eco by Naty Unscented Flushable Wipes
Eco-friendly flushable baby wipes containing natural aloe vera making them gentle against your baby’s sensitive skin. The extra thick wipes are made of harvested unbleached wood pulp and moistened with purified water, completely free from chlorine, alcohol, parabens, silicone and phenoxyrthanol while also being biodegradable and approved with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
Buy Eco by Naty Unscented Flushable Wipes from Ethical Superstore
Beaming Baby Organic Baby Wipes – Fragrance Free
Fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, 100% biodegradable and totally chlorine-free, these Beaming Baby organic baby wipes are not only kind on your babies skin but are good for the environment too! Ideal for sensitive skin and made with organic Aloe Vera which heals, moisturises and nourishes delicate skin. Use on bottoms, faces and sticky fingers too! Lotion contains over 95% organic ingredients. Free from chlorine, alcohol, paraben preservatives and sodium laureth sulphate.
Buy from Ethical Superstore
Storksak Organics Face and Hand Wipes
These organic baby wipes are perfect for cleaning hands and faces on the go and can be used to wipe up spillages anywhere. They’re 100 per cent biodegradable and made with 100 per cent organic cotton. Hypoallergenic and dermatalogically approved, they are suitable for all skin types. Mildly fragranced by experts using only natural ingredients creating the delicate and soothing scent of English pear, honey and chamomile.
Buy Storsak wipes from Ethical Superstore
Nature Babycare ECO Sensitive Baby Wipes – Unscented
Earth Friendly Baby Gentle Aloe Vera Wipes – 100% biodegradable as made from sustainable wood pulp and starch.
CannyMum Bamboo Dry Wipes are homemade organic wet wipes for sensitive skin, baby wipes, travel wipes, face wipes, intimate hygiene wipes or simply add water to have fresh water wipes. Biodegradable as made from organic bamboo.
a wide range of baby wipes, including Naty, Earth Friendly and Jackson Reece, is available from Ethical Superstore and Big Green Smile which often has special offers
Amazon also has eco-friendly wet wipes for sale
Make your own single-use baby wipes
Try this recipe from Wellness Mama which uses kitchen roll and various ingredients such as witch hazel and aloe vera.
Never flush baby wipes – even “flushable” ones
Although many of these brands provide flushable baby wipes, please put even flushable baby wipes or wet wipes in the bin. Your toilet is not a bin. It’s much better to just use toilets for toilet paper and the associated activities. If you’ve ever walked on the beach and seen it littered with plastic sticks from cotton buds, you will understand how much of our sewerage ends up in our seas and on our beaches. Take a look at my post about what you can flush down the toilet.
If you have any other ideas or recommendations for an alternative to baby wipes and wet wipes, please post them below.
You may also like…
- What’s the green alternative to cotton wool?
- What’s the green alternative to cotton buds?
- Green alternative to Vaseline & petroleum jelly
- 8 petroleum-free lip balms for natural lips
Updated: June 2020, Original: March 2015
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Risks of using baby wipes for adults
Many people traded toilet paper for baby wipes. We understand that they are softer and wetter and can leave your butt fresher and cleaner than dry rough paper.
This makes us wonder: if these adults use diaper wipes, are they really better (or worse) for keeping private parts clean? In other words, should anyone over 2 years of age use baby wipes after a bowel movement?
It turns out that the use of baby wipes has a number of serious disadvantages. Regardless, they can irritate the buttocks and possibly even the genitals.
- 1 Contraindications
- 1.1 Skin irritation
- 1.2 High humidity
- 1.3 Worsening of dry skin or eczema
- 1.4 They do not kill bacteria
- 1.5 vaginitis
- 2 Best baby wipes for adults
- 3 Alternatives
Yes, adults can use baby wipes, although they have some disadvantages. First of all, they are not very adapted to fight bacteria. They can also cause allergies or even infections due to their moisture content, so we must dry the area after use. Finally, flushing tissues down the toilet is bad for the environment, not to mention the repair bill.
While we might think that baby wipes can make skin as clean and soft as a newborn’s bottom, the truth is that they can cause severe skin irritation for some people.
In fact, fragrances and preservatives used in wipes can be a source of skin allergies. These irritating ingredients can damage delicate skin, leading to unpleasant (or painful) symptoms such as dryness, itching, redness, burning, stinging, and flaking.
Another noticeable problem is the moisture left behind. Baby wipes introduce moisture into any area we clean, so we’ll be sure to dry that area thoroughly afterwards. Otherwise, it can lead to the spread of bacterial cultures, which usually leads to rashes and other potentially nasty infections. This is not a very common problem, but the risk must be taken into account in any case.
Baby wipes are water-based, so they usually contain certain preservatives to lock in moisture for long-term use. It also means that wipes don’t actually expire — at least not in the way we usually think.
Worsening of dry skin or eczema
If we have a history of skin conditions such as eczema, baby wipes can make the problem worse. For people with sensitive skin, the preservatives found in many brands of baby wipes can aggravate skin reactions.
Not recommended for people with dry skin or conditions such as eczema. Even unscented wipes can irritate these people.
They do not kill bacteria
Baby Wipes are primarily designed to remove organic materials from the body without irritating the skin. This is because they tend to be water-based, making them easier on the body than adult wipes; they are usually alcohol-based and can dry out the skin with frequent use.
This feature also means that they are quite poor at removing oil or oil based products. While using baby wipes may make the area appear cleaner, it won’t actually help unclog pores or remove excess makeup. Worst of all, they do a pretty good job of lingering odors.
They usually have a modest amount of soap and other cleaning products, but this is not enough for true disinfection.
Baby wipes can also trigger an attack of vaginitis (i. e. irritation of the vagina or vulva). Vaginitis occurs whenever the healthy chemical balance of the vagina is disrupted. This imbalance can occur if you have an allergic reaction or sensitivity to a product such as baby wipes.
And since the vagina is self-cleaning, trying to clean the inside of it can only cause more irritation. This means that if we decide to use baby wipes, we will only use them on the outside and not inside the genitals or anus. And always wipe from front to back to prevent the potential spread of harmful bacteria (found in feces) into the urethra, which can cause an infection.
Best baby wipes for adults
Whether baby wipes irritate the bottom often depends on the ingredients. The ones we should mainly look for and be careful of are:
- Unscented or unscented : Regardless of who they are used for, it is recommended to use fragrance-free wipes to avoid possible skin reactions.
- No Harsh Chemicals or Additives : We’ll be looking for wipes that are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic dyes, which can strip your skin of its natural moisture and further irritate dry skin.
- Alcohol free : Alcohol can be very drying to the skin, especially for people prone to dry skin.
- Eco-friendly : Using baby wipes shouldn’t cost the planet. We will try to select biodegradable and compostable wipes. It would be even better if they come in recyclable packaging.
We don’t have to use baby wipes to keep our private parts sparkling clean. We can try these simple, chemical-free, no-wipe ways to wash our hands after a bowel movement session:
- toilet paper and water : Unscented toilet paper is best. We can wet with water and gently clean the area.
- bidet : a little water will help. Yes, after visiting the bathroom we can use the bidet or hand shower to clean the room sufficiently.
- wet paper : Wet wipes are an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable wipes. It leaves us feeling as fresh as wet wipes while you flush with the same safety as toilet paper. In addition, most of them do not contain perfume, which can irritate intimate skin.
from theory to practice – 4fresh blog
Don’t you think it’s strange that things that we use only once will then disappear from the face of the Earth for several centuries? Our regular author Anastasia Zinyagina tells how to instill a useful habit — stop littering this world with disposable things!
Before that, I tried to reduce the number of disposable items in my life, but this phrase about things disappearing from the Earth for centuries just unsettled me. But it’s true — how many thousands of bags are used in stores every day? In order to serve an hour and go to the trash heap for the next 300-400 years. Why does no one think this is illogical?
Every Russian citizen has 400 kg of garbage per year. How many kilograms of plastic and disposable items do we throw away among other garbage? And is there any way to fix this?
Items that live one day
Let’s look at the situation from the side. The issue of excessive consumerism will not be resolved if we simply abandon one garbage in favor of another.
The other day I decided to buy a bun from a local bakery. After my request to put it in a simple napkin, and not in a plastic container, which is usually given to all customers, the saleswoman fell into a stupor. “Say that the container is free!” the second salesman whispered loudly in her ear. The moral of this story is that in the objects that we use, we see only objects that help us feel comfortable.
There is a question — here is his solution. If I’m thirsty, I’ll go buy myself a bottle of water. I need something to brush my teeth — it’s time to change my toothbrush. I want to cheer up — I’ll take a glass of coffee and run further.
We do not have a shortage of products, and therefore there is no need to seriously pay attention to them. We don’t think about the history of items on store shelves. What will happen to them after we don’t need them. We don’t even seriously think about whether we need them at all. Tired — I’ll throw it away.
I want to say that we are not so bad that we produce so much garbage. We just don’t think that everyday consumerism can be a problem. We don’t notice it. And this is exactly what you need to pay attention to if you want to change something in your life.
Recommended for reading and viewing
Marie Kondo in the book Magical Cleaning. The Japanese art of putting things in order at home and in life ” says that every item in your home should bring joy. It seems to me that if you start looking at things from this angle, then everything will work out by itself — we will produce less garbage and use what we hold in our hands with more awareness.
If you want to explore this issue in more depth, I recommend that you read this book. Also a good help will be the book Dominique Loro «The Art of Living Simple» . You can learn more about plastic and the life of disposable things from the documentary «Plastic Ocean» .
From theory to practice
If you, like me, have decided to reduce the number of disposable items in your life, it is worth learning a few simple questions. Do I really need this item? What will happen to it after I stop using it? Can I replace it with an eco-friendly alternative?
In general, the idea is this: replace disposable with reusable, and plastic with paper, glass or iron. Items made from these materials are not so harmful to nature, they can be used many times and are easier to recycle in the end.
10 disposable items that can be replaced
We talked in great detail in the article “Why I no longer buy packages in stores.” In short, we replace large bags with fabric bags
or we go to the store with a backpack, and the little ones with reusable ziplock bags or cloth bags or laundry bags.
Disposable water bottles
Down with! Buy a cute refillable bottle or a small thermos and bring water with you from home. And home you can order clean water in large containers, which are brought by special services. They then use these containers several times — and you do not need to dispose of plastic bottles, and you do not need to constantly carry water from the store.
Disposable coffee cups
Everyone is just obsessed with them! Yes, the base for the cup is made of paper, which, however, is often covered with a thin layer of plastic. But the trouble is in the plastic cover on top. Therefore, if you drink coffee every day, replace the disposable with a reusable one. For example, I bought a cute pink thermo mug that lifts the mood not only for me, but also for the bartenders behind the counter!
There are two alternatives here. The simplest is to take ordinary spoons and plates and reusable containers from home. If the picnic is planned to be large, then at least instead of plastic disposable tableware, use biodegradable from organic materials. Another feature, if you often eat out and constantly get a portion of plastic forks, is a camping fork-spoon. It can be found in any tourist shop.
Pampers and pads
And here humanity has long come up with eco-friendly alternatives: reusable diapers with replaceable lining, biodegradable pads and diapers, as well as special menstrual cups for women.
In fact, ENT doctors claim that cotton buds are harmful to the ears. I would advise you to find out how to properly clean your ears. But if you can’t do without them (after all, they help in other situations), then an alternative option is to use sticks made from biodegradable materials. For example, these:
Toothbrush and floss
The brush, of course, is not a disposable item, but we buy it often. A regular plastic toothbrush can be replaced with a bamboo brush or a brush with a replaceable head. And the dental floss is also organic! For example, these:
An irreplaceable item. So indispensable that they always dry out after a year of waiting. Unfortunately, most often they contain artificial fibers that do not decompose. Can you imagine how many of these wipes are used daily? So comfortable, used it, and threw it away. And then … Come what may? Napkins can be replaced with a special disinfectant gel. Or a handkerchief. And for babies, you can use biodegradable wipes.
All disposable forms, baking bags — also down. Instead, we buy beautiful glass and silicone alternatives that will last a long time!
Some of these bags are paper, and there is no problem. But, unfortunately, some are made of thin plastic mesh. What to do? Get a metal strainer and different types of tea by weight.
Of course, this is not the whole list, because disposable things literally surround us everywhere. Ready-made salads in plastic containers, a chicken egg in plastic packaging, candy wrappers, cookies in bags . .. and much, much more. When you think about it, when you enter the supermarket, you look at the shelves with products in a completely different way. And once again I don’t want to fill the shopping cart with disposable packaging.
Try an experiment! Go 1 waste-free day, leaving no plastic trash behind, throwing away nothing. Be sure to do your grocery shopping that day. You will understand that we are surrounded by so many disposable things that we are so used to, that are so comfortable, and that go to the trash can so quickly that we do not even notice it.
Reusable things are not even just some kind of necessity and a tribute to the environment. A fabric bag with your favorite prints, a stylish sports water bottle, a multi-colored coffee mug, a silicone baking mat with daisies — all these little things will always cheer you up. Firstly, because they are so individual, and secondly, because with them you will feel like a real eco-superman!
Let the objects that surround us give us joy and do not litter the environment.