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Are Baby Wipes Toxic? Chemicals and Ingredients List

Whether baby wipes are toxic or not depends on the ingredients. Some popular brands, such as Huggies or Pampers, that are known for their baby scent use an astounding amount of chemicals to achieve that scent.

These chemicals are toxic for both babies and the environment. Organic baby wipes and natural baby wipes typically do not contain these additional chemicals, making them wonderful non-toxic baby wipes. 

Common Ingredients In Baby Wipes To Watch Out For

Baby wipes are packed with chemicals to make them efficient, a little more durable than toilet paper, and smell beautiful. However, some of those chemicals are not good for your baby.

Make sure to read the package before you purchase a pack of disposable baby wipes. These ingredients are ones that you need to watch out for. 


The fragrance is a general term that is used to encompass several different ingredients. If an ingredient contributes to making the wipes smell good, it can be labeled as “fragrance.”

Some of these chemicals can be toxic, and some of them are just not good for your little one’s skin. Instead, opt for fragrance-free wipes. Babies naturally smell adorable!

If you do wind up buying baby wipes that are scented, double-check the ingredient list. Companies can use the term fragrance to encompass harmful ingredients.

They are not required to list the ingredients or chemicals that are used to make their baby wipes smell the way that they do because this is considered a trade secret.

This means that if the fragrance is created using parabens, for example, the company does not have to tell you because it is in the “fragrance” category.

You want wipes that give a complete list of ingredients to make sure that they are safe for your little one. 


Formaldehyde has made headlines in recent years as it’s been found in baby wipes. This chemical is a known carcinogen, meaning that it can cause cancer.

It’s also known for causing an allergic reaction in babies. According to this study, over half of the popular baby wipe brands that were tested released formaldehyde during a study. None of the wipes listed formaldehyde as an ingredient. 

Essential Oils

essential oils in baby wipes

Essential oils are often found in baby products. Most people assume that this is not a problem because essential oils are natural, but that does not mean that they are safe for babies.

When used in large quantities, essential oils can irritate a baby’s skin. They can also be absorbed by the skin to have the same impact that medicine usually does. Essential oils are not recommended for use on children under a year old. 


This ingredient helps prevent infections because it is a known antibacterial agent. It’s also used commonly as a preservative.

However, Triclosan was recently removed from antibacterial hand soaps because it can pass through the skin, which will lead to it having an effect on the body.

It’s known to cause an allergic reaction as well as disrupt hormones. When broken down, it can turn into Dioxin. This ingredient is known to cause cancer. 

Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is only dangerous to people that have kidney problems, and it’s not recommended for pregnant women. This is because some people have a hard time eliminating it from their bodies, which can lead to severe complications. 

However, when it is used in products like baby wipes, it helps the skin absorb the ingredients more effectively, and at a quicker rate. This sounds like a good thing, but it’s not in this case.

You don’t want your baby to absorb all of the toxic ingredients that are found in baby wipes, so it’s best to avoid this ingredient. 

Polyethylene Glycols

This is another chemical that will help the skin absorb the ingredients of the baby wipes. Even though it’s a different chemical that is used, it still does the same thing, which helps your little one absorb chemicals.

You don’t want to increase the chance of your baby absorbing something that is bad for them, which is what this does. 

These chemicals can also be carcinogens. When they are produced, there is a chance that they will become contaminated with ethylene oxide, which is a known carcinogen.

They can be contaminated with dioxane, too. The thing is, most manufacturers can remove the dioxane from the baby wipes before they make it into the package.

However, they are not required to do this, and there is no way to tell whether the removal process was completed. 

Ignore The Words Non-Toxic, Etc. On Packages

While it makes sense that non-toxic baby wipes would be free from harmful chemicals, this isn’t always the case. When baby wipes are marketing as non-toxic, it could just be a marketing tool.

The same applies to baby wipes that are designed for sensitive skin, etc.

Sensitive baby wipes might contain chemicals that are not as harsh on the skin, but that doesn’t mean that those chemicals aren’t replaced with toxic ones that can be harmful to your baby. Instead, it’s important to read the list of ingredients. 

What To Look For In Baby Wipes

When you find a particular brand of baby wipes that you love, you’ll probably stick with them for most of your baby’s younger years. That’s why it’s important to find a brand that you will want to stick with. Looking for specific things will help you do just that. 

Avoid Toxic Ingredients In Baby Wipes

One of the first things that you should check is the list of ingredients on the package.

This can be time-consuming, but it’s well worth it. If you’re shopping online, and don’t see an ingredient list, you can usually find one on the company’s website.

As you read the list of ingredients, remember the ones mentioned above. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, you can always look it up to make sure your baby is not being exposed to toxic chemicals. 


Baby wipes always range in price according to the brand. While some baby wipes that are genuinely non-toxic will be more expensive, others will fit perfectly in your budget if you’re a bit more frugal, too.

Pay attention to the price when deciding which brand to stick with. You want one that you know you can afford week after week. 


If you don’t like shopping online, you’ll need to pick a brand that you can purchase in-store. Likewise, if you do prefer shopping online you need a brand that is available online.

Make sure that you can pick up a pack in pinch or know where you can order them online so you can continue to use the same brand. 

Available In Bulk

I prefer to buy baby wipes in bulk. Picking up one pack a week is a hassle for me. So, when I pick up something, I want something that I can buy by the case.

We always have plenty of baby wipes, diapers, bottle liners, etc. If you’re a new mom and know that you’ll be busy, consider this method to save time and make sure that you always have what you need.

When shopping for a brand of baby wipes that you want to stick with, look into whether they are available in bulk. 

Best Three Baby Wipes 

There are quite a few baby wipes on the market that have a small ingredient list, and they’re actually good for your baby!

These baby wipes are free of chemicals, so you won’t have to worry about carcinogens or toxic ingredients being absorbed through your baby’s skin.

Can Adults Use Baby Wipes?

Honest Baby Wipes

Honest Baby Wipes are one of my favorite non-toxic baby wipes. These are plant-based, meaning that they are coming from a renewable energy source.

Not only are they plant-based, but they are also fragrance-free! Honest baby wipes are not made with alcohol, parabens, and phthalates. 

I’ve used these wipes, and I like that they aren’t too wet. A lot of natural baby wipes that are mainly water are so wet that I dried off my grandson after using them. That was never the case with these. 

Another thing that I like about Honest Baby Wipes is that there are plenty of options available. You can order them in different colors for a boy or a girl.

They are also available in a count of over 500 wipes, so it eliminates the need to run around the corner because you randomly ran out of wipes. 

Water Wipes

Water Wipes are known for being mainly water. They do have a few other ingredients, such as fruit extract, but nothing that makes me uncomfortable using them.

They are fragrance-free, which is wonderful. Water Wipes are also free of parabens, sulfates and they are considered hypoallergic. 

Another thing I like about these wipes is that you can order them by the pack or by the case. Try them out with a smaller pack. Then, if you like them, pick up a case of over 500.

If not, you’re not taking a huge loss because these wipes aren’t too expensive. 

Cloud Wipes

If you like the thought of DIY wipes or having wipes that are actually nothing but water and a wipe, check out Cloud Wipes.

These are more affordable than any of the non-toxic wipes you will find on the market, they are available in bulk, and they have no chemicals, preservatives, etc. 

However, they have no chemicals because they are dry wipes. You can use them in their dry form, or add water to the wipes to use them as a wet wipe.

They come in an easy flip-top pack just as other baby wipes do. You can easily pull out a wipe, wet the wipe, and use it like you would any other baby wipe.

When you’re done, toss it in the trash. I really like this product because it’s as natural as you can get.

You don’t have to worry that ingredients are being used and not mentioned on the ingredients list, or bother trying to figure out what the words on the ingredients list are. Also, you know that your little one is safe. 

Baby Wipes To Avoid

While some baby wipes are known for being wonderful for little ones, others are known for being packed with toxic chemicals and carcinogens. Watch out for these popular, yet hazardous, baby wipes on the market. 

Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes

Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes are known for being gentle on the skin and not producing an allergic reaction in babies. However, they do have a few ingredients that are cause for concern.

The more concerning ingredients include: 

Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes are packed with chemicals. Yet, there is not enough evidence to prove that some of the ingredients are, in fact, toxic to infants. Studies are still being conducted regarding other harmful ingredients. 

Huggies Baby Wipes

Huggies baby wipes might be known for their durability and heavenly scent, but they are some of the most toxic baby wipes on the market.

It seems as though every type of Huggies baby wipes has at least one questionable ingredient that you should not ignore. Common ingredients to watch out for that are found in Huggies baby wipes often include, but are not limited to: 

  • Parabens
  • Sodium Benzoate (this is also found in their Natural Care variety)
  • Malic Acid
  • “Fragrance”

These are just a few of the ingredients that are concerning and found in several varieties of Huggies Baby Wipes. It’s astounding that even their natural care wipes, which they say are 99% water, still contain harmful chemicals. 

Burt’s Bees Baby Wipes

These baby wipes aren’t as popular and widely known as Pampers and Huggies, but they are still a common choice. However, that doesn’t mean that they are a good choice.

Burt’s Bees Baby Wipes contain: 

These are just a few of the concerning ingredients in these baby wipes that make them unsafe for infants. Phenoxyethanol can be harmful if it’s absorbed, which it often is through the skin when using baby wipes. It can also harm the reproductive system. 

Baby Wipe Alternatives

Some people choose to use baby wipe alternatives in place of baby wipes. For example, a washcloth and water will work amazingly well.

This is more environmentally friendly than any other method. They sell reusable cloth wipes that pair perfectly with cloth diapers.

Most moms that go this route opt for a non-toxic, disposable baby wipe to take with them on the go or for the really messy diapers.

This saves them the hassle of cleaning re-usable wipes covered in poop. They use the baby wipe alternatives for home use or pee diapers. 

In Conclusion

Baby wipes are full of chemicals that can be alarming. These toxins can get into your baby’s system when they are absorbed through the skin, harming your baby’s reproductive system, exposing them to known carcinogens, and more.

Instead, choose baby wipes that are not packed with chemicals or a baby wipe alternative to keep your little one safe.