Updated: Aug 20, 2022
You may wonder why you should make your own baby wipes when you can conveniently buy them in the store. Before I go over my personal DIY, I’d like to talk about mainstream baby wipes. If you'd like to skip directly to the DIY, click here.
The Dangers of Mainstream Baby Wipes
There are so many brands of baby wipes out there, but do you know what hidden ingredients are in the baby wipes you're using? This article will go over the many secret ingredients and adverse effects it has on your body, as well as a recipe to make your own toxin-free baby wipes.
A study evaluated fifty-one popular and highly reviewed baby wipe brands for the release of formaldehyde when using the chronotropic acid method (CAM). The results found that almost one-quarter of baby wipes released formaldehyde during this evaluation. Those who use baby wipes should be aware that formaldehyde may be an active but unlisted ingredient in baby wipes, as well as a common allergen (1). Formaldehyde is a highly toxic systemic poison that affects the respiratory system, metabolic system, immune system, gastrointestinal tract, ocular system, dermal tissue, and more (2).
Methylisothiazolinone may be hard to pronounce, but it's even harder on your body, let alone a baby or toddler. Methylisothiazolinone is a preservative typically found in all different types of cosmetics and hygiene products. Europe, along with the European Society of Contact Dermatitis (ESCD), has recommended that this chemical be discontinued from leave-on skin products, but in reality, this is something that the body absorbs, so it shouldn't be allowed in anything. Methylisothiazolinone has several health concerns, including inhalation toxicity, neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity, and allergic reactions. (3).
There’s a dirty little secret the fragrance industry would rather you not know about: when you purchase a product with fragrance, it could contain any number of the 3,100 or so stock chemical ingredients used by the fragrance industry (4). Many people fail to realize that synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals (petroleum-based chemicals) and can be harmful to human health. For instance, phthalates are endocrine disruptors, and benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and toluene are known carcinogens, all of which can be listed as fragrances on products, such as baby wipes. Some fragrance compounds are neurotoxicants, while others are linked with congenital reproductive disabilities. Children and adults who are allergic or have asthma are at exceptionally high risk for hypersensitive reactions to fragrance chemicals (5).
Malic acid has a pH level of 2.97 to 3.75 on the pH scale, the most acidic score being zero, compared to water, which has a neutral pH score of 7 (6). The pH of a newborn child's skin is usually close to neutral, ranging between 5 and 7. However, a developing child's skin rapidly changes to become more acidic to help protect their delicate skin from microbes and support the maturing of the outer layer of skin, known as the epidermis. The increasing acidity of a newborn child's skin often leads to baby acne, skin irritation, and stomach problems (7). The best way to avoid these complications is to use products that won't affect the pH levels of a newborn child's skin.
A Safer Alternative
So, instead of using mainstream baby wipes, which are brimming with toxins, I’ve decided to make my own with enthusiasm and confidence that you will use it, benefit from it, and appreciate it as much as I do! My DIY is non-toxic yet still cleanses effectively. Let me break down each ingredient that I chose so that you can better understand the benefits of this DIY.
The process of distillation rids water of impurities, such as trace amounts of minerals, bacteria, pesticides, and other contaminants. (8)
Pure Castile Soap
Castile soap is an amazingly versatile vegetable-based soap that's made free of animal fats and synthetic ingredients. This natural, non-toxic, biodegradable soap is available in bar or liquid form. I use Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap in liquid form, but I suggest using the unscented one for newborn children, as essential oil use is not recommended for infants under 3 months old (9). Some benefits of pure castile soap are:
Nourishing and gentle on the skin
Witch hazel is a plant with many powerful medicinal properties, including:
Reducing skin irritation
Helping treat hemorrhoids
Protecting against skin damage
Warding off infections (11)
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is not a single vitamin but rather a group of fat-soluble vitamins with antioxidant effects. Some benefits of vitamin E oil are:
Preventing skin cancer
Reducing itchy skin
Relieving eczema and psoriasis (12)
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 large airtight storage container
1/2 roll of paper towels (order here)
2 cups distilled water
2 tbsp. witch hazel (order here)
2 tbsp. castile soap (order here)
10 drops of Vitamin E Oil (order here)
Here’s what you do:
Cut your paper towel roll in half and discard the inner tube before placing the paper towels in your designated storage container.
Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl or large measuring cup.
Once mixed, slowly pour the mixture into the storage container on top of the paper towels. Be sure to pour the mixture evenly on top of the paper towels to be all wet.
Once you've used the entire mixture, put the cover securely on the storage container and flip it upside down for about an hour to allow the mixture to seep into the paper towels.
Finally, use your new toxin-free baby wipes like a regular baby wipe.