Everything you need to know about Wet Wipes

When you were last out in public, how confident were you that you touched something clean or used wet wipes?

In today's world, you never know when you could be touching an unhygienic surface or wanting to clean a body part. In fact, according to the CDC, cleaning is the first step to any disinfection method. But, we understand it isn't always possible to have on the go access to chemicals, detergents, soaps, and taps; because of this, wipes can be the next best alternative to removing anything unhygienic. 

Wipes are beneficial to use as they've been made for anyone, formulated for babies to adults. There are multiple benefits of flushable wipes, from being portable, acting as hand sanitizer for sensitive skin hand, having a fresh scent, and more.

To know more about wet wipes and their benefits, carry on reading.

What are they, and What are they made of?

What are they, and What are they made of?

You may be familiar with wet wipes; they come under a range of different names, such as baby wipes, wet towels, wet sheets, flushable wipes, antibacterial hand wipes, disposable wipes, and more. Most of the time, these are small to medium-sized bits of cloths used for wiping.

The cloth is often moist and has a nonwoven fabric to help clean hands and your face. Some of these wet wipes vary, coming in folded in an individual pack or come in multiples. The brand and the purpose of the wet wipes can influence the type of fresh scent, cleaning agent, and the material it's made from. You may also find that some wipes have a fragrance added to them.

Do wet wipes really work?

In 2020, around 16.3 million Americans used wet wipes at least 31 times a week. But, how efficient were all the wipes out of that sample size? The wet wipes you purchase might not be entirely suitable for their suited purpose, it all depends on the material the wipes are made from and the brands you buy. 

One type of universal wipe that helps achieve multiple goals is baby wipes, as they're delicate, help clean sensitive skin, and are not packed with harmful chemicals. In addition to this, they can also double up as disinfectants, killing and reducing the risk of contact from germs.

Why are antibacterial hand wipes and wet wipes so popular?

Why are antibacterial hand wipes and wet wipes so popular

One of the primary reasons why there's a lot of manufacturers who make wipes is because they're versatile. Wet wipes can be used by any generation and for various purposes. In addition to wiping a baby, you can use them to clean your kitchen top or even the inside of your car!

Again, if you need to take medication, you can use wet wipes to sanitize the packaging before taking it. They're also more cost-efficient than toilet paper, as they are soothing, gentle on sensitive skin, and provide a more cleansing experience. Plus, many of them have a fresh scent allowing your skin to feel clean when you're on the go. 

Another advantage of using them over toilet paper is that they're less likely to cause urinary tract infections and anal fissures. In addition to this, wet ones are easy to dispose of as you can flush them down the toilet or go in the bin. The wet ones are also available everywhere; pretty much every store has them in stock to buy, meaning you're never too far away from them!


Common Wet Wipes

Common Wet Wipes

While there tends to be a lot of wipes that exist on the market, the most popular ones tend to fall into five main categories, which are:


Baby Wipes

Parents of newborns have to be attentive and quick to look after their babies. This is especially the case with diapers, as their bowel movements are new, so they have to go frequently. Disposable baby wipes can help parents cope with the frequent bowel movements their baby produces as they're soft, gentle, and formulated specifically for the baby's skin.

Most of these wipes are fragrance-free to prevent any allergic reaction from occurring. You might find some packed with vitamins like vitamin e and aloe vera to help your baby's skin. In addition to this, baby wipes are also practical for cleaning the skin on their face and can be used by adults also. You can pick up baby wipes from any shop. 


Baby Wipe Uses

Baby wipes can be used for many things such as:

  • To clean food off a baby's face or hands

  • Wiping toys

  • To clean hands

  • Cleaning surfaces

  • Changing diapers


Antibacterial wipes

Another convenient and popular type of wipe is antibacterial hand wipes. If you don't have soap and water nearby to clean your hands, these are useful as they help kill 99.9% of the bacteria on your hand, all depending on the brand you use.

Antibacterial wipe uses

  • Cleaning hands before eating

  • Cleaning hands after eating

  • Cleaning hands in general


Disinfecting wipes

These have specifically been made to kill bacteria, but some can kill viruses and mold, all depending on the chemical formula that's in them. It's not always guaranteed that they can kill them completely, but they can reduce the risk of further contamination. 


Most of the time, they contain strong ingredients like ethanol, Benzalkonium chloride 0.1%, and perfume ingredients. Therefore make sure you read the label first before buying. These types are intended to be used in gyms, classrooms, shopping, grocery stores, offices, and more.


Disinfecting wipe uses

  • Cleaning blood or other bodily fluids

  • Cleaning kitchen counters

  • Wiping after a sick family member, especially someone suffering from the flu, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Wiping frequently touched objects such as doorknobs, switches, remote controls, and phones

  • Cleaning toilets and bathrooms


Flushable wipes

It's important to know that not all wipes are flushable; some could damage your septic systems if you aren't careful. Therefore it's important to read the packaging to see if they're flushable wipes to keep your sewer safe and protect the environment. In addition to this, flushable wipes can be more soothing and beneficial by being more softer for wiping than toilet paper!

Personal care and cosmetic wipes

There are also is a type of wipe that can help you with your personal matters, such as removing makeup, cleaning your face, and helping with acne. In addition to this, they can be refreshing to use to remove dirt after a long day when you don't have time to shower.

How do you store wipes?

How do you store wipes?

While wet wipes are certainly portable and are a good value for money, they have to be stored in the right way for them to be used properly. The best way to store wet ones is by making sure they're kept at room temperature at around 20°C (72 °F). Plus, you should ensure the lid of the packaging is closed to stop the wet ones from drying out and any germs from entering the package.

What is the shelf life of wipes?

Most wet ones can last for 2-3 years if sealed and stored well. However, these wipes can last up to 4 weeks once opened. Plus, some wipes like baby wipes can be used past their expiry date as long as there's no mold, bacteria, or mildew on their surface. To know more about their expiry, always read the instructions on the packaging before using or throwing them away.

Where can I purchase Wipes?

While you can buy wipes from various places, you can't always guarantee the quality, affordability, and ingredients in them. Therefore whether you require wipes for your baby or general use, check out our range here.



Overall, if you want to a control the amount of germs that enter your home, office or upkeep the health of your customers, then you should consider using wipes in addition to cleaning detergents. Ideally you should opt for flushable wipes from a well known brand like the ones we stock at Body and Earth. You could also check the reviews before buying.

Ultimately though, there's many types of wipes you can use, but the best ones you can't go wrong with are baby wipes as they're safe for your skin, remove germs and clean a variety of objects. Can you ever recall a bad experience using baby wipes? We can't.


How much do wipes contribute to plastic in Europe's seas?

According to a report, the amount of non flushable wet wipes found on a cleanup in Great Britain from a "Great British clean" in 2017 contributed to 8% of plastic found within shores in Europe. Again, more research from Global 2000 indicates that half of the waste you find on European beaches is from single-use plastics like wipes. 

If disposed of incorrectly, i.e., down the toilet and not your office bin, single-use plastics like wet wipes can cause a significant impact on the ecosystem of the sea, causing many birds and marine life to die.

If you dispose of wipes incorrectly, i.e., down the toilet, does it have an effect on urban sewage systems? 

Most wet ones are not specifically manufactured to be flushable. Those that don't often cause blockages in your water waste pumps. 

Because of this, wipes can easily attach to uneven parts of sewage, acting as nets, catching all the waste products in water such as hair, fats, food remains more. If this happens, you have to clean the pipes, pumps then and repair them more often, which can be very costly.

Are all biodegradable wipes flushable? 

Not every biodegradable wipe can be decomposed and disintegrate properly. For this reason, flushable moist toilet paper is useful because it's made from tiny cellulosic fibers. When it's flushed, it easily disintegrates into small pieces and is safer for the environment.

How long does it take for wet wipes made of cellulose fibers to decompose?

There is no set answer for the time it can take for such fibers to degrade. There's a variety of factors that can influence it, but most importantly, wet ones should not have any fossil-based synthetic fibers. Having no synthetic fibers can stop microplastic from entering the environment and causing damage to the ecosystem. 

Therefore, for quicker times, consider cellulosic fibers extracted from raw materials like wood, leaves, and more. If the cellulose fibers are wood base, they can decompose quickly in warm temperatures. Sometimes these fibers can only take a few weeks to disintegrate in the spring or summer season. 

Moreover, if they get stuck in waterways, they can take up to 6 weeks in freshwater to decompose. It can be even faster in saltwater, taking up to 4 weeks. Some flushable wipes have had biodegradable solutions applied to them to make their disposal easier.

When I purchase wet wipes, how can I detect the materials they're made of and if they're biodegradable? 

By simply looking at the wet wipes, you can't always guess what they're made of. In addition to this, there's no legal obligation for manufacturers to make wet ones without plastic; therefore, it can be difficult for consumers to make an environmentally friendly decision.

On the contrary, many wet wipe companies are trying to be more responsible leaders in the manufacturing process. Many of them are trying to make eco-friendly alternatives with sustainable cellulose fibers.

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