Which do you prefer reusable wipes or disposable wipes?
When caring for a new baby, changing diapers takes up a surprising amount of your day. Naturally, you want diaper changes to be as smooth and convenient as possible, so you can focus on enjoying your new baby.
If you’re trying to decide whether the disposable or washable wipe is best for your family, keep reading to discover the pros and cons of each type of baby wipe.
Whether your major concern is your baby’s delicate skin, the health of the planet or convenience, you’ll need to find the right wet wipes for your baby.
Disposable wipes have been around since the 1950s and they have made life easier for parents ever since. Disposable wipes are the mainstream choice.
Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of using them:
Disposable baby wipes – the pros
Use them, then bin them; it couldn’t be easier, could it? But no matter how easy or convenient it is to use washable wipes, it’ll never beat the ease of throwing a disposable wipe into the bin and forgetting all about it.
If you’re using cloth wipes when you’re away from home, you’ll need to carry a wet bag in your diaper bag for your dirty wipes.
This might not be as gross as you imagine but it’s still not going to offer the convenience of a wipe that is immediately thrown away.
Disposable baby wipes – the cons
The environmental impact
Convenience comes at a cost and, where disposable wipes are concerned, the planet pays the price. Each wipe you throw out ends up somewhere.
Disposable baby wipes don’t magically disappear when you’re done with them. Instead, they end up in landfill. You’ll use thousands of wipes by the time your baby is potty trained and single-use wipes create a lot of waste.
Even the wipes that claim to be flushable are causing problems. These supposedly flushable wipes are clogging up sewer systems and causing spills.
You shouldn’t flush wipes, even if it says you can on the packaging. Most single-use wet wipes sold contain microplastics and, if flushed, they can end up in the water system and eventually pollute the oceans.
Disposable baby wipes cost more in the long term. If each wipe can be used only once, you’ll need to buy thousands before your baby is potty trained.
Although a single pack of wipes might not be too expensive, the cost will add up over time. You might prefer to spend that money on other things. If you choose to use disposable wipes, stock up when you see money-saving offers, as this could save you a lot.
Some baby wipes use just plain water, but the vast majority still contain chemicals. Take a look at the ingredients on the back of the packet next time you’re out shopping.
Repeated exposure to the chemicals in baby wipes has been found to cause contact dermatitis for caregivers.
For more information, you might like to read Methylisothiazolinone in baby wipes: a rising star among causes of contact dermatitis.
Although you might expect that it’s the babies who suffer, it more commonly affects the hands of those wiping the babies’ bottoms. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to opt for baby wipes that won’t irritate your skin.
If you’d like to read more about the chemicals found in baby wipes, look at BellyBelly’s article Do Your Baby Wipes Contain One Of 7 Irritating Ingredients?
Reusable baby wipes
Although reusable wipes might seem like a recent phenomenon, they have been around for much longer than the disposable type.
Cloth wipes are becoming more common and many parents are switching to this sustainable way of keeping their babies’ bottoms clean.
Reusable baby wipes – the pros
Though the initial outlay is higher for reusable wipes, it’s a one-off cost. You’ll need about 30 cloth wipes, which will last until your baby is potty trained.
The cost is much lower than if you bought disposables for the same duration. Even if you only use cloth wipes at home, you’ll still save money by reducing your dependence on throwaway wipes.
Reusable cloth wipes are better for the planet; it’s that simple. Disposable products containing plastic are not great for the planet, so it’s a great idea to use cloth wipes offer.
If you want to reduce your household waste, limit landfill and reduce your use of plastic, washable cloth baby wipes are the way to go.
Cloth wipes are thicker than disposables, and the fabric allows good traction when cleaning. You’ll probably use fewer, even for messy diapers. A cloth wipe also offers your hands better protection from poop when you’re changing diapers.
Reusable baby wipes – the cons
If you opt for reusable alternatives, you will have to wash them. This isn’t a huge deal but it is another job on your to-do list. You’ll need to get into good habits with your dirties to make sure you never run low.
If you’re cloth diapering, you can just put soiled wipes in the diaper pail with your dirty cloth diapers and then wash them all together. Reusable wet wipes are especially easy if you use cloth diapers because you won’t even notice the extra laundry.
You can throw the used wipes in with a regular wash or wash separately. If you’re not organized with your laundry, it might help to keep a pack of disposables handy, just in case.
If your baby has sensitive skin, you might need to use a mild detergent or baby soap so as not to irritate your baby’s skin.
If you had to buy all your wipes in one go, reusables would work out much cheaper than disposables. However, people tend to buy disposable packs, as and when they need them, so they don’t notice the costs adding up over time.
With cloth wipes, as with cloth diapers, the initial outlay is greater because you buy all your wipes at once.
If you’re nervous about parting with your money, it might help to try before you buy. Ask friends who use cloth or contact your local cloth diaper library to see if you can test out some cloth wipes.
Is it OK to use a combination of cloth and disposable wipes?
Yes, it’s absolutely fine to mix and match wipes. In fact, many families choose to use cloth wipes at home but carry pre moistened ones or disposable dry wipes for ease when they’re out and about.
Others use cloth baby wipes all the time, except on vacation, when convenience rules.
If a combination of wipe type works best for you, go for it.