Baby wipes are a moistened paper or cloth, we know that. But what are the ingredients that go into them?
While most brands tend to list what’s not in their products, it can be tricky to find what IS actually in them. Not all brands list ingredients on their website, so unless you physically go down to the supermarket to check ingredients lists, you might not know what is in your favourite brand. Out of our top rating brands, only Curash and Coles list the ingredients on site.
Here are some generic ingredients for baby wipes, but check the packaging for any specific ingredients.
Baby wipes are made up of quite a bit of water, it makes up at around 90% of the solution that makes the wipes moist. Often it will contain more than 90% water, and very few other ingredients will make up the remainder of the moistening solution. A bit like us really.
A colourless and oily liquid, Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that also kills bacteria. As well as being an ingredient in baby wipes, it is also used in many cosmetic and skincare products, antiseptics, perfumes, and insect repellent.
This doesn’t mean that your baby wipes will repel bugs though; Phenoxyethanol is a fixative in these products, meaning that it prevents the chemicals in liquids from separating, and also acts as a preservative.
Any sorbate is a derivative of the natural compound, Sorbic Acid, which is an organic compound used as a preservative. Sorbates are used in baby wipes because they are soluble in water, which makes up a great deal of the wipe. On the list of ingredients, a sorbate will be listed as a compound with another chemical; look for Potassium Sorbate, or Sodium Sorbate.
Just like Sorbates, Benzoates are formed when they combine with another chemical. On its own, Benzoic acid is actually a solid that crystallises, and is found in many plants. In baby wipes, it is found as Sodium Benzoate, a preservative that is also dissolved in water. It can be used both as an alternative to other preservatives, or in conjunction with the other preservatives listed.
More widely used in cosmetics, parabens are a class of preservative with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is this dual purpose of preservation and anti-bacterial/fungal action that makes them useful in baby wipes.
The variety of parabens means that they have different properties, but they all perform similar functions. Check the ingredients listing for Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, or Isopropylparaben.
A simple sugar compound, glycerine is commonly used in a huge variety of pharmaceutical products as a base for adding other ingredients to. It is a colourless, odourless, thick liquid, and is used as a means of making products smooth. It is used in baby wipes to make them more comfortable on baby’s bottom.
Essentially, baby wipes are soft paper with added water, and preservatives to keep them in good condition. Obviously each brand will put different compounds into their formula, but once you know what the base products are, you will find that most brands are essentially the same.
At the end of the day, it is best to find the one that is right for you by considering the quality of the paper and value for money. If your baby does happen to react to something in a particular brand of baby wipe, it is best to cease use and opt for a different one.