It goes without saying that baby wipes are essential for keeping messes in order. The convenience of a product that lets you wipe down a baby isn’t without its environmental consequences though. To stand up to poopy diapers and sticky hands, baby wipes need to be durable — which means, more likely than not, that they contain some sort of plastic or polyester and therefore are not biodegradable. For those looking for a more environmentally friendly option, Micaela Preston of Mindful Momma suggests wipes made from wood or bamboo pulp or other natural fibers. Even if they’re not 100 percent biodegradable, that’s still a much better option than using regular baby wipes. To keep your baby safe, Preston also recommends that wipes be fragrance-free and water-based. Below are six picks from ecoconscious mommy bloggers and business owners, from reusable to disposable options.
Genevieve Howland, founder of the Mama Natural website and author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, recommends buying reusable organic cotton wipes and washing them along with any cloth diapers that you might be using. Another tip? “Keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby and moisten your DIY wipes to clean your baby’s bum,” shares Howland.
Of course, if you’d rather not add to the growing laundry pile, Howland recommends trying bamboo baby wipes, which are considered “tree-free.” “Bamboo wipes are better for the environment than typical wood-based wipes and are quick to biodegrade, usually in less than a month,” she says. “For eco bonus points: Find ones stored in a plastic-free dispenser frame.” Try Caboo’s wipes, which the brand claims are compostable within 28 days. The packaging is plastic, but it’s also fully recyclable.
Mamavation, a website and community founded by Leah Segedie that “empowers women through eco-wellness,” recently did an investigation into nontoxic diapers and baby wipes and found Natracare’s 100 percent organic cotton wipes to be the front-runner. Natracare has been approved by Made Safe, a nonprofit organization that certifies a product as being nontoxic through lab tests. “Not only are they nontoxic and organic, but they’ve been certified by a third party. It’s also a female-owned business, and I like supporting women,” Segedie says. They’re also biodegradable and compostable.
Tahwii Spicer, owner of the Eco Baby Co., a natural-focused store for babies and mothers based in Indiana, recommends Australia-based Joonya Eco Wipes, which are free of alcohol, chlorine, petrochemicals, formaldehyde, parabens, and phenols. They’re also biodegradable. “Joonya Eco Wipes are a game changer when it comes to baby wipes, and are perfect for parents living a low-waste-conscious lifestyle,” says Spicer. “We love that they are made from a thick, biodegradable and compostable plant-based fiber” — that is, from 100 percent biodegradable and compostable viscose material that is safe for the environment. As a bonus, the packaging is also recyclable.
For babies with sensitive skin, Spicer recommends wipes by Bambo Nature. “The wipes are incredibly soft, hypoallergenic, and made with nontoxic ingredients,” she says. Manufactured by Abena, a Danish company known for its environmental practices, the wipes are made in Sweden and do not contain chlorine, perfumes, parabens, dyes, and optical brighteners.
Casey Powers of Ecocentric Mom, a monthly subscription service of organic and ecofriendly goods for moms and babies, prefers WaterWipes, which, as the name implies, contains 99.9 percent water and a “drop of grapefruit seed extract,” according to the company. They’re also hypoallergenic. “I love how wet they are, so they really clean without having to scrub at my baby’s bottom,” Powers says. “I also love the short ingredient list. Amazing.” Keep in mind that WaterWipes are only made with 20 percent viscose and 80 percent polyester, making them only 20 percent biodegradable.
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