Best non toxic baby wipes for a super safe, eco friendlier butt wipe! Includes what to look for in safe baby wipes and what to avoid.
Baby wipes! They might be the only baby product that I never leave home without. They are so useful for quick and easy diapering, cleaning, and spills for your baby. And let’s be honest, they’re pretty convenient for messy grown-ups too!
But are all baby wipes born equal?
Well, simply said, no.
As with any toiletry, some baby products are packed with chemicals, whereas others do their best to include only natural ingredients, with minimal, pronounceable ingredients being their guiding rule.
Likewise, some baby wipes use a polyethylene (a type of plastic) “cloth,” whereas others use biodegradable materials, such as cotton or wood pulp.
Indeed, there’s a huge range of baby wipes on the market.
But how’s a parent to know which is best for the earth and their babies’ bottoms?
That’s what I’ve tried to tackle in this article.
First, my top pick for the best baby wipe. I think Healthy Nest is the best of the bunch for an eco-friendlier, non toxic baby wipe.
- MADE SAFE certified. Any time I see the MADE SAFE certification, I’m sold on safety. It means the product is safe for people and eco-systems, and is free from chemicals known to harm human health.
- EWG Skin Deep® Verified, the safest level awarded.
- Fragrance Free
- Vegan and never tested on animals
- Packaged using minimal plastic to reduce environmental impact
- Biodegradable within a landfill in 365 days
Wet Wipes, What Are They Good For?
When we’re at home, I prefer to use washable towels or dry wipes and water with a tiny drop of baby wash for my little one’s diaper changes. It’s much more earth friendly, and isn’t much of an inconvenience.
But when we’re on the go or travelling, a cloth and water isn’t feasible. So when I need to use baby wipes, I try to use non-toxic baby wipes that contain as few chemicals and additives as possible. I also look for brands that use eco-friendlier materials to make the actual sheet part, as well as the packaging.
Below, I’ve gone into the details about how to identify non toxic baby wipes and eco friendly baby wipes, and recommended some brands I think are doing it right.
Worth noting, I’m not a chemist, nor a dermatologist. I relied heavily on this article in the Journal of Paediatric Dermatology to write this post, as well as the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep® database.
Why Is It So Important for Baby Wipes to Be Non-Toxic?
Think about the areas you clean with a baby wipe.
Your baby’s bottom and face have the most delicate skin on their whole body. Add to that, very young babies have thin skin that’s more susceptible to chemicals.
When you use a wipe, unlike with other toiletry products, you don’t rinse with water afterward.
That means whatever is in the baby wipe stays on your baby’s skin.
In other words? Those ingredients need to be kind!
Why Do Baby Wipes Contain Chemicals?
Simple put, some chemicals are needed in baby wipes, because water alone isn’t enough to get the poop residue off your baby’s butt! To understand this more, it’s worth understanding what’s in a typical baby wipe.
What Are Baby Wipes Made Of?
Baby wipes consist of a base sheet and the formulation.
The Base Sheet
The base sheet (aka: the actual cloth) is generally made of some kind of wood pulp (including bamboo), polypropylene, or polyester, or a combination of these materials.
Polypropylene is a type of plastic, meaning these types aren’t exactly good news when it comes to the environment.
More promisingly, some companies use wood pulp exclusively. That means the wipes can biodegrade over time, and won’t fill our landfills for years to come.
If you want to buy biodegradable baby wipes, some but not all of the wipes on this list qualify.
The following non toxic baby wipe brands are also eco friendlier in that they’re biodegradable:
- Healthy Nest (plant-based biodegradable base sheet)
- Eco Pea (biodegradable bamboo base sheet; they also make biodegradable diapers)
- DYPER (biodegradable bamboo base sheet; DYPER also makes biodegradable diapers)
- Attitude (biodegradable 100% cellulose fiber, but unclear the source)
- Pipette (biodegradable 100% plant-based cloth fibers)
- Jackson Reece (biodegradable 100% wood pulp base sheet)
- Natracare (biodegradable 100% Organic Cotton)
All of these companies use base sheets made from biodegradable materials, meaning they won’t continue to pollute our earth during your great, great, great grandchildren’s lifetime.
If this is less of a consideration for you, the following companies use varying materials in their base sheets, or don’t specifically disclose as far as I’ve been able to tell. This likely means they use varying quantities of polyethylene and/or polyester and/or wood pulp in their base sheets:
In addition the base sheet, there’s the formulation: a combination of water, chemical, and natural ingredients that together make the baby wipe function.
The formulation part typically contains a preservative, a surfactant, a pH buffer, and skin benefiting ingredients.
And all of these additives are there for practical reasons.
Chemical preservatives prevent wipes from going moldy and give them a longer shelf-life.
A mild cleanser ensures the wipe effectively removes all the poop residue from your baby’s butt (scientific studies have shown using just water isn’t enough to do this effectively).
And a pH buffer and skin benefiting additives help to maintain healthy skin and prevent damage.
That said, not all ingredients in baby wipes are good ingredients, which is why parents need to pay attention.
Common Baby Wipes Ingredients
Unfortunately, some baby wipes are filled with chemical preservatives and other ingredients linked to skin irritation and other health concerns.
Not exactly what we want all up in our baby’s junk, right?
So what are some of the chemicals you should avoid in baby wipes?
Surfactants help get your baby’s bottom clean, especially after a big poop. The key for surfactants is they remove the oily part of your baby’s poop without removing the good stuff on their skin.
Baby wipes need surfactants to do their job – the key is knowing which are the safest.
However, some other common surfactants are rated less safely, including Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 dimethicone, Polysorbate-20 and PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil.
Wet wipes need some sort of preservative system.
After all, moist environments (as wipes are) are a ripe environment for bacterial growth, and you definitely don’t want to use a bacteria covered wipe on a baby – it’s dangerous.
But what kind of preservative they use is of importance to parents looking for a non toxic wipe.
So what preservatives are considered relatively safe, and which are a bit more questionable?
Sodium Benzoate is a very common preservative, used in Healthy Nest, EcoPea, MadeOf, Attitude, Healthy Nest, Pipette, Seventh Generation, and Hello Bello. The EWG Skin Deep Database rates sodium benzoate as 1/10 on their safety scale (the best) when used in baby wipes.
What kind of preservatives do you want to watch out for ?
- Phenoxyethanol is a common preservative in many cosmetics and toiletry products. However, it’s an irritant and allergen, which can cause eczema, hives, and more serious reactions. None of the wipes I’ve included on this list use Phenoxyethanol.
- Methylisothiazolinone is another one to avoid. An irritant and contact allergen, it’s prohibited in the EU for “leave-on” products that aren’t rinsed off(such as baby wipes) and is banned in Canada. It’s not in any of the wipes on this list, and generally seems to have been phased out of baby wipes by most big brands. However, you’ll still find it in some kids bubble bath and baby shampoo – it’s worth checking yours!
Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives
In 2019, researchers tested 51 brands of baby wipes for formaldehyde release. The researchers noted none of the wipes had self-declared formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives on their ingredients list. And yet they found 12 of the wipes brands (24%) released formaldehyde.
The following formaldehyde releasing preservatives used to be common in baby wipes, but aren’t listed as ingredients on the recommended wipes below (at the time of writing):
- Diazolidinyl Urea: Common in a range of cosmetics, including After Sun products, eye cream, lipstick, shampoo and more.
- DMDM Hydantoin: Not contained in wipes I looked at, but still contained in some baby oil, baby lotion, and baby bubble bath.
- Imidazolidinyl Urea: Used in a range of makeup and hair products.
- Quaternium-15: Contained in some body washes, cleansers, makeup removers and makeup.
- Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate: Used in a range of serums, hair styling products, moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners.
- 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol: Contained in makeup remover, body wash, conditioner, self tanner, and more.
- Glyoxal: Used in mascara, serums, moisturizers.
Within a few days of birth, a baby’s skin develops an acidic pH, which helps the skin stay healthy by preventing bacterial growth. Baby wipes manufacturers seek to match your baby’s slightly acidic skin pH (around 5 to 5.5).
pH of baby wipes is typically achieved by combining an organic acid such as malic acid or citric acid, with a conjugate bases, commonly sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate, or sodium phosphate.
Skin Benefiting Ingredients
Skin benefiting ingredients are additives that help moisturize your little one’s skin or minimize friction between the wipe your baby’s bottom.
Some common skin benefiting additives in baby wipes include glycerin (rated 1 or 2 on EWG’s skin deep database, depending on use) and botanicals.
For the most part, the safest baby wipes included in this list use a range of botanicals for this function.
Ingredients to Avoid in Baby Wipes
It’s hard to believe that baby wipes would contain toxic chemicals, but such is the case with so many modern products.
In my mind, fragrances are almost always a no go for products we use with our daughter.
For one, the labelling laws around use of fragrances are – in my opinion – extremely problematic.
Fragrances are typically made up of many different component ingredients, but manufacturers are only required to list “fragrance” as a blanket ingredient. Because of this, it’s actually impossible to know whether a certain ingredient or potentially toxic chemical is contained within.
Add to that, fragrances can contain phthalates – another baddie when it comes to your child’s health (and yours), due to being endocrine disruptors.
Go for fragrance free wipes only to avoid unknown chemicals, as well as phthalates in general.
In the past, baby wipes generally contained more chemicals of concern than they do these days. Manufacturers have wised up to some of the more egregious chemicals, but it’s worth being on the look out for some chemicals in particular.
Chemicals With Contamination Concerns
Some chemicals are of concern because of the manufacturing, processing treatment processes used that go hand in hand with the chemicals.
Examples of these chemicals include those that may be contaminated with ethylene oxide (a known human carcinogen) and 1,4 dioxane (an irritant and toxic to some bodily systems).
Polysorbate 20, Ceteareth-20, and PEG-75 Lanolin are examples of these chemicals. They aren’t used in any of the wipes on this list at the time of research and writing.
Best Non-Toxic Baby Wipes
Now that you know what to avoid in baby wipes, what are some of the best non toxic wipes for babies and toddlers?
When I compiled this list of best baby wipes, I had two main principles as my guide.
Firstly, I wanted to find baby wipes that are non toxic! In that regard, I consulted the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep database and safety scale to help choose products that have the safest levels of chemicals, and also to look up ingredients I don’t know.
The baby products on our list range from EWG verified, which are the wipes considered the ‘safest’ for delicate skin and contain the least (or no) damaging chemicals, up to a scale of 2, (which works with 1 being the best, to 10 – the worst). I’ve also included some products that aren’t checked by EWG, but looked up the ingredients myself.
Additionally, I always consider it a win when I can find eco friendly baby products. With that in mind, I have a bias towards the compostable baby wipes on this list, preferring them over those made of polyethylene plastic or polyester, neither of which biodegrade.
I’m definitely aware that different families have different price points, and some of the best natural baby wipes can be pricey. I’m of the opinion parents can make up their own minds in terms of what’s best for their families, so I’ve tried to provide a wider range than some other lists out there.
- Healthy Nest (My Top Pick)
- Eco Pea
- Jackson Reece
- Made Of
- Seventh Generation
- Hello Bello
- Water Wipes
- Bets & Emy
Best Eco Friendly Baby Wipes
My top picks have gained this position because, in addition to using safer formulations for your baby and their sensitive bits and butts, they are far friendlier on the earth as well.
Take a look at what I’ve chosen them, as well as what’s actually in them, below
Anytime a product gets the Made Safe certification, I find it fairly easy to put it at the top of my list (see: my best organic kids mattress article, which is filled with Made Safe brands at the top!).
Healthy Nest is not only Made Safe certified, it also gets a verified status from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.
The company is transparent about their ingredients, and also uses minimal plastic. That means the wipes themselves are fully biodegradable in landfill conditions, and the packaging is consciously designed to reduce the use of plastic.
Full ingredients in Healthy Nest Wipes (at the time of writing):
- Purified Water
- Certified Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
- Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria)
- Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract
- Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract
- Glycerin (Vegetable Derived)
- Tocopherol (Vegetable Derived)
- Gluconic Acid (Plant Derived)
- Sodium Benzoate (Plant Derived)
- Citric Acid (Plant Derived)
I like Eco Pea because the wipes are 100% biodegradable, they use friendlier ingredients than many big brands, and they’re completely transparent about their ingredients.
These eco-friendly wipes use 100% biodegradable bamboo base sheets, but are still thick and soft for baby’s skin.
They are dermatologically tested, and designed specifically for sensitive skin. The wipes have a pearl textured grip which makes diaper changes easy. They are antibacterial, fragrance-free and contain no nasty chemicals.
Non-toxic baby wipes are usually most costly than other brands of wipes, so we also love that you can subscribe and save money on each pack with Eco Pea wipes.
All of the ingredients in Eco Pea’s baby wipes are rated either 1, 2, or 3 for safety on a scale of 1 to 10 in the EWG Skin Deep Database (1 is the best rating, 2 is the worst). When you take into account the eco-friendliness of these wipes, it’s an easy choice to put them near the top of my list!
DYPER baby wipes are made from 99% water and less than 1% of other ingredients and preservatives that help the wipes to clean and soften baby’s butt, and otherwise function.
I’m a huge fan of DYPER because of their biodegradable diapers (yes – really!) and composting service. The wipes make a great addition to the DYPER subscription service.
Their wipes seem like equally good news for the earth. They are 100% biodegradable, using a bamboo fibre base sheet, with ingredients that range between 1 and 5 on the EWG safety scale.
ATTITUDE baby wipes are made from plant-based materials and use only natural ingredients. They are rated as EWG verified for their kindness to baby skin too.
As they are made from plant-based materials, these wipes are also biodegradable and compostable, making them as good for the planet too!
Pipette Baby wipes are made from 100% plant-based fibers. The water-based wipes cleanse baby’s bottom with plant-derived emollients to keep skin moisturized.
They’re EWG verified and fragrance-free.
Jackson Reece makes another plastic free wipe, and the company claims they’re toxin-free.
We love that Jackson Reece baby wipes are bio-degradable too. The cloth is 100% compostable in just 60 days!
However, I don’t love the lack of exact and specific ingredients on their website. Most “best non toxic baby wipes” articles I’ve seen rave about the Jackson Reece wipes, but I feel like if I haven’t seen all the ingredients used, I can’t make a fully informed decision.
What I do know is the company uses a plant-based formulation made of 99% plant-derived extracts, and it’s hypoallergenic too, making them suitable for children with eczema and sensitive skin.
The company also lists the ingredients they don’t include in their wipes, which I definitely appreciate.
Natracare baby wipes are free from harsh chemicals and parabens. They contain organic plant-based ingredients and are EWG verified.
Moms like that these wipes are soft and clean up messes easily.
Made Of baby wipes are EWG Verified and promise that they contain no nasty chemicals or harsh ingredients. They contain only all-natural, organic ingredients, for baby wipes that are both nourishing and that clean bottoms and messy hands effectively.
The only complaint some moms have with these wipes is that they don’t come out of the packet one-at-a-time very easily, which can be a nuisance mid-diaper change!
Hello Bello wipes made with plant-based materials and ingredients. The non-toxic formulation has 99% water with a touch of aloe and chamomile extract.
The thick and soft wipes sweep away poop and mess easily and are hypoallergenic too. They scored a ‘2’ on the EWG scale
Seventh Generation wipes are thick and soft, according to moms who use them. The unscented baby wipes use skin conditioners like Aloe Vera to keep baby’s hands, bottom, and face soft.
These fragrance-free Seventh Generation baby wipes were given a ‘2’ on the EWG scale.
According to Bets & Emy, their water wipes have only two ingredients: water, and a mere 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. WaterWipes indicates their wipes contain 99.9% water, a hint of grapefruit seed extract, and traces of benzalkonium chloride.
And therein lies the rub. Yup – commercial grapefruit seed extract isn’t typically “pure” – it contains chemical preservatives.
This study’s findings suggest grapefruit seed extract itself isn’t actually an antimicrobial agent. Rather, the additional preservative ingredients found in commercial grapefruit seed extract functions as the preservative (researchers found benzethonium chloride, triclosan and methyl parabene in their grapefruit seed extracts).
That said, both WaterWipes and Bets & Emy are EWG verified for being safe for baby soft skin. And they still get the job done on a poopy mess!
WaterWipes’ base sheet is made of 80% polyester (non biodegradable) and 20% viscose (biodegradable).
Bets & Emy doesn’t indicate what their base sheet is made from as far as I’ve been able to tell.
Alternatives to Disposable Diaper Wipes
If you really want to be an Earth hero, then maybe you can leave the baby wipes for good. These organic and unbleached flannel wipes are super soft and can be washed and reused time and time again. In the long run, reusable wipes like this save you money, if you can get over the slight inconvenience of washing.
By using cloth wipes you’ll know exactly what ingredients you are rubbing against your baby’s sensitive skin.
Final Thoughts on Best Baby Wipes
We hope you have found our article on the best non toxic baby wipes informative. Your baby is a precious and delicate little thing, so keeping them healthy and away from unnecessary chemicals is always better for them.
If you know other parents, grandparents, or friends who are also looking for the best non toxic baby wipes, feel free to share this article with them too.
What Should I Look for in a Non Toxic Wipe?
Look for wipes with as few ingredients as possible. Some contain natural extracts from fruits or aloe vera, which are kinder to sensitive skin than chemicals.
Choose wipes that are fragrance-free too.
What Can You Use Instead of Baby Wipes?
So for the purest possible clean for your baby, a reusable cloth and water are the kindest on a baby’s skin. (And is more eco friendly for the environment too!)
Are Natural Baby Wipes Flushable?
Despite what any of the packagings says, baby wipes are never flushable, and you should find other ways to dispose of them that isn’t down a toilet. Even biodegradable baby wipes can’t be flushed.
This is not only to benefit your own home’s drainage systems (and save on a costly plumbing bill) but to also protect the sewage systems in your town, which become clogged with wipes.
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Baby Wipes for Your Family
Sometimes, the best wipes are the ones you happen to have when a diaper emergency or sticky hands present themselves.
However, if you’re looking to make a more conscious choice as a consumer, I hope this post helped!
My top choice is Healthy Nest, but beyond that, my top choices are those that are a bit earth friendlier, using biodegradable materials for the base sheet and well-rated ingredients for the formulation. Those include: