Everywhere we go we are bombarded by the newest trends.
Whether it’s fashion, money, or just general lifestyle-related, the trend that seems to be the most popular these days is the word “organic”.
But is this just a 21st century buzzword that people tack on to every product, or are some products truly organic as they claim?
While it may be tacked on a bit too much these days, there is a lot of merit to something being organic.
So today I’ve decided to write about a way to preserve both the environment and your baby’s skin from further discomfort.
And that, my dear moms, comes from swapping from regular to organic baby diapers and organic baby wipes.
Yes, even baby wipes can be organic despite already being made from organic materials (the wipe part at least, usually).
The problem comes when manufacturers begin adding different types of plastics to prevent a wipe from breaking mid cleanup.
Nobody likes getting a poopy hand if they can avoid it. I know I don’t at least.
That and “fragrances” seem to get under everyone’s skin as most smells are derived from various chemicals or alcohols that aren’t healthy to inhale or to apply to your baby’s sensitive skin (or your own for that matter).
This is because they are believed to contain irritants that cause unwanted allergies and irritate skin.
All of these additives prolong the time a set of disposable wipes needs to degrade and, since I am a fairly eco-conscious mom (that’s what others say), I have done my research into finding a few natural baby wipes that fit the bill.
So I thought I’d share what I’ve found with you in the hope of helping you in your own mission to keep your carbon footprint as small as possible.
The 5 best baby wipes for the eco-friendly mom
1. Seventh Generation Free and Clear Baby Wipes
It’s quite the lengthy name, but Seventh Generation has made sure to back it up.
While I haven’t personally used them and there were some prior concerns as to the safety of the ingredients in these baby wipes, they seem to have cleaned up their act recently and have made sure to keep to a safer list as far as your baby’s safety is concerned.
They are water-based instead of alcohol-based, fragrance-free, and do not contain parabens, which means no known irritants will get near you or your child.
They have been tested by dermatologists to be hypoallergenic, giving them the necessary seal of approval for safe use on your own skin or your baby’s.
Not to mention they are quite thick, so you won’t have to worry about breaking through the wipe and getting your hands messy.
The packaging is plastic though, so do make sure to separate it when recycling. At least it’s resealable.
2. The Honest Company Baby Wipes
Like the rest of their stock, the Honest Company’s sensitive baby wipes are made without any fragrances, parabens, phthalates, or anything else nasty you might find on an ingredients list. Not to mention, they’re not whitened with chlorine but through a more natural process.
Plus they don’t use oil but a mix of chamomile, cucumber, and pomegranate to keep the wipes smooth and give them a more natural aroma to help soothe your baby or you in stressful situations.
The best part is that they sustainably source all of their ingredients, making them one of the greener options to consider when picking your set of organic wipes.
One of the main issues with these wipes is that they are quite pricey. It’s up to you to determine if it’s worth your money.
Personally, they were one of my earlier go-tos for diaper wipes during my first bout of motherhood and were well worth the price.
These wipes hold true to their name as Waterwipes are made with nearly 100% water and a smidge of grapefruit seed extract making them the self-proclaimed, ́ “cleanest wipe”.
While some people have been completely satisfied with these chemical-free wipes, I can’t say that my experience with them was all that delightful.
You need to use them quite quickly as they lack any preservatives and tend to either dry out or develop mold pretty fast.
Plus the packaging is a bit on the wonky side as I’ve had big issues tearing a wipe out sometimes.
The added grapefruit does make them a bit less bland, giving them a light aroma that’s pleasing to the nose, ideal for people with serious allergy problems, and despite the few issues, they are one of the best “green” diaper wipes on the market (quite cheap too).
4. Babyganics face, hand and baby wipes
One of the more unique brands on any baby gear list is Babyganics.
This is usually because they tend to create their organic baby products with a mix of plant ingredients you wouldn’t think work, but apparently do; a seed oil blend of tomato, cumin, cranberry, sunflower, and raspberry of all things, mostly for the antioxidants contained within to serve as natural preservatives.
Not only that, but the blend also provides the wipes a certain smoothness that everyone is sure to like and, at the risk of being repetitive, they are free of any parabens, phthalates, and any artificial fragrances.
They are still my personal go-to for carrying around in my purse, even now that both my kids are grown up.
5. Caboo tree-free bamboo baby wipes
One of the most, if not the most eco-friendly wipes out there currently, Caboo tree-free wipes are truly tree-free.
Much like the name implies, they are made from the viscose contained in the bamboo plant, something that is much easier to grow than trees and much easier to maintain than mindlessly cutting down the forests that keep our planet, and us, healthy.
To add to their sparkling record, they are, of course, alcohol, paraben, phthalate, and fragrance free, much like everything else on this list (and probably others to come!) giving them that hypoallergenic seal of approval.
While sadly they do come in plastic packages only, they are resealable so the wipes don’t dry out and the plastic is fully recyclable, making for quite the quality product.
Using cloth wipes as an alternative?
Again, going back to the similarity between the diaper article and this one, cloth wipes share the same benefits (and the same detriments) as cloth diapers do.
While yes, they are a great save on household expenses and the most eco-friendly solution here, plus they already come fragrance-free (not counting the ‘fragrance’ that your baby puts out), they require a lot more effort.
Between the bigger laundry piles, the malevolent odor if you don’t tend to the pile quickly, and the need to utilize wipe warmers or warm water to help moisturize them, not to mention the hidden expenses in your water bill and electricity, you decide if they’re worth the trouble.
As an added detriment, if made from a rough material, you might end up causing more harm than good by agitating the baby’s skin during diapering and giving them an increased chance of diaper rash.
If you are willing to go this route, at least consider buying a set of cloth wipes made from organic cotton, as it tends to be smooth and doesn’t grate against the skin as much as some other materials.
Plus, you get to make your own natural scents by putting things like essential oils or chamomile in the warm water that you soak them in, or you can even mix some ointmental herbs like calendula.
Why are regular wipes so bad?
For general purpose use, it may seem like their convenience (and price) outweighs their problems, but that is only when looking at it from a superficial level.
Regular baby wipes cause problems for you, the baby, the environment, and even cities’ infrastructures, depending on how you use them.
They aren’t biodegradable – a simple truth, but a very important one. Most wipes are woven with plastic or otherwise non-degradable material, making them a non-compostable product.
This doesn’t mean you should flush them down the toilet, which most people tend to do.
If you do flush, it leads to one of two problems: either the wipes end up clogging your toilet or the sewer where they create an increasing mound of garbage that pollutes the water supply and causes immense problems over the course of time (and problems for your own household when the toilet eventually floods); or, it flows into open waters freely where their shape is confused for that of a jellyfish and some innocent sea creature ends up consuming it, causing it to poison itself and eventually die or get very sick.
They are very hazardous for the skin – most, if not all store-bought baby wipes tend to contain harmful chemicals in batches.
The especially dangerous ones are sodium benzoate, a variety of parabens, phenoxyethanol and the like.
Most of these are some form of preservative and they’re there to help keep the fragrance, and to keep the wipes from drying out.
The problem is that while they help the product, they most certainly do not help you as sodium benzoate and phenoxyethanol are known irritants that pose a danger to you and your kids.
They are rather common in other baby products as well so keep an eye out when buying something for your kids as you may be causing them to contract unwanted allergies.
Parabens are probably the worst of the bunch as they pose an increased risk of cancer, something you definitely don’t want your young ones to have to deal with, or you to be responsible for, for that matter.
Don’t let your negligence make you pay a harsh price.
Phthalates- These seem to be a staple in most of my articles these days when listing something hazardous and for good reason – Phthalates are simply that bad.
Often used to add flexibility and durability to products like diapers and baby wipes, this group of harmful chemicals also carry an innate risk of further irritation, a potential increase in cancer risks, and other alleged health risks. It’s better to be safe than sorry, is what I say.
They don’t get rid of bacteria – surprisingly enough, their main marketing deal doesn’t even work.
According to a few studies, baby wipes don’t really have the same effectiveness across the board and usually just spread nasty germs around the place rather than getting rid of them, giving you a false sense of security that a surface is safe for others to tread on or eat from.
It really isn’t and you should just stick to what you’ve already been using.
Where organic baby wipes deliver and where they fall short
Seeing all of this you might be wondering if organic is also the way to go, but as listed in the above selection of the best baby wipes (in my opinion), at least with the organic ones there are a variety of pros to consider, but a few cons too, so let’s go over them:
- Fragrance-free – this is usually the case though some brands might use some fragrances derived from natural ingredients, although these usually don’t last too long. The benefit of this is that there are fewer harmful chemicals contained in unscented baby wipes, lowering the risk of allergies, irritable skin and, consequently, diaper rash and other rather nasty issues that can develop from prolonged use – at least according to the things I’ve read online, which leads us to the next one.
- Hypoallergenic – The less chemically treated the wipes are, the more the likelihood of this attribute applying to them. I don’t need to go on too much about why having a reduced risk of allergies is great, especially for those with breathing issues, making wipes with this tag a lot better for your child’s delicate skin than those that don’t.
- Environmentally friendlier – While, again, some “organic baby wipes” still tend to use some amount of non-biodegradable materials, most of them are safe and should dissolve in about a month. That sort of quality makes them fairly compostable (but try to avoid the ones that have any traces of inorganic materials, otherwise it defeats the purpose). Proper disposal still takes priority (please DO NOT flush them down your toilets!).
- Gentler on your baby’s skin – This should be a given but I’ll mention it anyway: natural is better for your baby in most cases, especially when the wipes are made from viscose or bamboo as a substitute for the usual materials. Plus, if they use natural oils like aloe vera, that’s all the better and your baby will thank you for it with their vibrant smiles and by crying less.
- The price – Going green means having a bit less green in your wallets sadly, but I feel like it’s at least worth putting out a bit more for the sake of the environment. Other households might tend to agree less with me on that front though and that is completely fine, but the fact of the matter is that most organic baby wipes tend to be quite expensive.
- The quality – Another big problem is that a number of organic wipes aren’t made of the most durable of materials and might cause a few tears at the worst of times, meaning you end up getting some unwanted ‘chocolate dip’ on your fingers during baby cleanup when diapering time comes about.
- The availability – Most greener wipes and diapers aren’t readily available at stores, but rather from Amazon, and Ebay and the like, so you have to be super prepared and buy a few extra packs in case a critical moment comes about and you can’t go to the nearest supermarket to grab yourself a pair of organic wipes.
In the end, it’s really up to you what fits you as a person to use during your baby’s blowouts and diaper changes, though seeing as you are here, I assume you came for the organic wipes.
That said, I will not judge you no matter what you go for. Organic baby wipes are more expensive than the other options and for some even the regular ones might be a little too much. If this is the case, just use a simple washcloth and some warm water – as long as you don’t mind the extra work.
I am simply here to share my experiences with you and to help guide you with my articles toward a healthier life for you, your little one, and your household.
What fits your diaper bag and your baby might not be the same as your friends, but feel free to discuss choices with them too.
You never know what you can find, mama!
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