9 Earth-Friendly, Biodegradable Baby Wipes for Sensitive Skin

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Following on from my diaper article, it also made sense to cover baby wipes.

The two products share many of the same eco-friendly characteristics and environmental issues.

As responsible parents, we all want to choose wipes that are kind to our baby's sensitive skin, but equally kind to the planet.

So…who makes the best biodegradable baby wipes to go with your eco-friendly diapers?

My sister-in-law and nephew were a massive help when I put together the diaper article.

I didn’t need as much input for this article as I could test the wipes on myself.

However, I kept them on ‘retainer’ for valuable input now and then…they just don’t get the writing credit this time around! 😉

Nine Eco-Friendly Baby Wipes (Reusable, Disposable, DIY) That Really Cleaned Up

The choice of eco-friendly wet wipes mirrors that of eco-friendly diapers. Disposable or reusable.

Before discussing the pros and cons of both later in this article, I’d like to cut the chase and introduce you to the best eco-friendly baby wipes currently available in the U.S.

Our Four Favorite Reusable Baby Wipes

They Say: Luxurious organic flannelette baby wipes. Soft and absorbent and generously sized at 9 by 9 inches prior to washing. The reusable alternative to disposable wipes. Attractive unbleached fabric and soft colored edging.

We Say: As mentioned in my eco-friendly diaper article, my sister-in-law is a big fan of ClothDiaper.com as they meet all her reusable diaper needs.

It turns out they’re pretty handy on the reusable wipes front as well.

They’re the cheapest option in the reusable list (just $10.95 for 12 wipes if you buy three packs)…but quality has not been compromised.

GOTS-certified organic cotton has been used to make these 9” x 9” reusable wipes, and they’re nice and soft to the touch.

They Say: Our organic cotton washable wipes are super-soft on delicate baby skin and generously sized to handle the messiest of diaper messes. Wipe Ups get laundered with your Inners and Outers, making them simple to use, wash and reuse. Instead of going through endless packs of disposable wipes, 30 Wipe Ups are all you’ll need from birth through potty training. They also work wonderfully as bath time washcloths and on sticky hands and messy faces.

We Say: Made responsibly in Pakistan, these reusable organic cotton wipes are as eco-friendly as it gets.

Simply dip in water and wipe. Easy!

For bigger/messier jobs, you might want to add a few drops of baby wash to the water.

Esembly only uses GOTS-certified organic cotton and is a member of 1% For The Planet.

With green ideals like that, you can be sure that you’re doing the best for your baby AND future generations of babies to come.

To hygienically store your reusable wipes (and diapers) until you have a full load to wash, I also recommend the Esembly diaper pail pouch liner. You can use it to line a trash can or simply hang it on a hook.

They Say: Our cloth wipes come in a set of 12 and are made of 100% organic cotton flannel. These wipes are soft and just thick enough to let you wipe all the tiny folds on your baby’s skin. They are also ideal for make-up removal and to use in your daily hygiene routine. ImseVimse’s washable wipes make a great alternative to disposable wet wipes.

We Say: If you want 100% organic cotton wipes that come with a bit more choice in terms of colors and patterns, then you should give ImseVimse a look.

They use the best quality organic cotton and produce reusable wipes in several color and pattern options.

We Say: A quick mention for Healthynest cotton dry wipes.

For the ultimate convenience and eco-friendliness, you can add organic cotton dry wipes to your Healthynest diaper subscription.

These wipes are made from 100% organic cotton with no hidden nasties.

They’re soft, strong, and wash very well.

They’ll also fully compost (at home or commercially) once they’ve reached the end of their usable life.

Our Three Favorite Disposable Baby Wipes

They Say: Wow, did you realize how many toxic ingredients are in the traditional baby wipes found in your local store? With names like Bronopol, Triclosan, Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, Parabens (this one is an alphabet soup, as it could be butyl, ethyl, methyl, and propyl) and a bunch more, you know the stuff is bad if you cannot even pronounce it! Come on, do they really expect us to put that stuff on our precious babies? We are smarter than that!

We Say: DYPER is my top pick for eco-friendly diapers, and they also get the nod when it comes to biodegradable baby wipes.

The list of ingredients is short and publicly available. No hidden nasties here!

DYPER will collect these wipes (and also diapers) to be commercially composted. You can read more about this service in my diapers article.

Ingredients: Water (99%), Less Than 1%: Glycerin, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Benzethonium Chloride, Citric Acid

They Say: Made from 100% compostable materials from renewable and plant-based resources, these wipes are fragrance free and contain chemicals or plastics. They're both hypoallergenic and vegan so they won't irritate the skin while cleaning and contain calming, organic ingredients like aloe vera leaf juice. Perfect for cleaning baby bottoms and wiping sticky faces and hands. Simply use these wet wipes, then compost them! Happy baby, happy home!

We Say: ECO by Naty wowed me with their eco-friendly diapers, and they’ve done it again with their eco-friendly wet wipes.

Simply made from 100% natural fiber and a small list of natural and organic ingredients, these sensitive skin wipes keep your eco-conscience clean and your baby squeaky clean.

You’ll notice that these earth-friendly baby wipes are thin in places, and they might stick together occasionally. This is to aid the biodegrading process and a small price to pay for a zero-waste wipe.

Ordering these unscented wipes from EarthHero also means you can return the external plastic pouch to be recycled through their TerraCycle take-back program.

Ingredients: Aqua, Gluconolactone, Potassium Sorbate, Propanediol, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract*, Calcium Gluconate, Citric Acid.

*Cosmos organic certified

We Say: A quick mention for Healthynest disposable wet wipes.

For the ultimate convenience and eco-friendliness, you can add plant-based wet wipes to your Healthynest diaper subscription.

They’re soft, strong, and clean without any harsh chemicals.

Disposable v Reusable - Which Is Greener?

In my diaper article, I concluded that disposable compostable diapers were the greener option when compared to reusable diapers.

So, it surely stands to reason that the same applies to eco-friendly baby wipes?

Actually, no. This time around, I feel reusable has the edge…JUST! Read to the end to find out why.

Disposable Baby Wipes

Disposable baby wipes can be compostable (or at the very least biodegradable) if they’re made from suitable materials.

When choosing disposable baby wipes (also known as wet wipes), you should be looking for ones made from organic materials and free from the following:

  • Fragrances
  • Alcohol
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • All other potentially toxic additives

Disposable wipes that break down into smaller elements under specific conditions (usually in a commercial facility) are biodegradable. They don’t break down completely. Some traces of material will remain.

Disposable baby wipes that break entirely into natural/organic material are compostable.

Non-eco-friendly wipes are made using plastic (usually rayon fibers) and can’t be disposed of sustainably. They typically end up in landfill.

Manufacturers swap the plastic fibers for natural fibers (such as bamboo and organic wood pulp) to make wipes biodegradable or compostable.

Reusable Baby Wipes

Reusable baby wipes work the same way as the family cloths I mentioned in my Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper reviews.

Baby’s skin can be super sensitive, so reusable baby cloths are usually made from the purest organic fabric. Often cotton, bamboo, hemp, or linen. Organic cotton is best in my eyes.

Using pure organic fabric makes reusable wipes genuinely compostable.

Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Baby Wipes

Making your own eco-friendly wipes is simple and a great way to give old fabric a new lease of life.

DIY Eco-Friendly Baby Wipes - Dry

  1. Take some old blanket, clothing, etc. (preferably made from organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, or linen) and cut up into baby wipe-sized squares (I find 9” x 9” works best).
  2. Use to clean up spit, poop, etc.
  3. When you have a full load of dirty DIY dry wipes, wash using eco-friendly laundry detergent.

DIY Eco-Friendly Baby Wipes - Wet

  1. Take your squares of DIY dry wipes and place them in a large reusable glass jar.
  2. Fill the jar with water and a teaspoon of coconut oil, secure the lid, and give it a good shake.
  3. Shake again every time you need to use a wipe.
  4. When you have a full load of dirty DIY wet wipes, wash using eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Do Not Flush Your Wipes

Baby wipes should always be disposed of properly. Ideally recycled, biodegraded, or composted.

NEVER flush wet wipes down the toilet. Even if the pack says they’re flushable. You don’t want to take the chance of blocking your plumbing or adding to the neighborhood wipeburg/fatburg.

Eco-Friendly Baby Wipes - My Criteria

You know what you’re looking for when shopping for eco-friendly and I hope at least one of my recommendations will suit your needs.

Things I took into consideration when making my choices include:

  • Price: No point spending more than you need to.
  • Cleanup Power: Wipes need to be able to clean all types of fluids and solids from your baby. Nobody wants a wipe that just smears poop around.
  • No Nasties: Wipes should be as natural as possible. No added harmful chemicals or other nasties.
  • Eco-Credentials: As well as being gentle on your baby's skin, wipes should also be gentle on the planet. No plastic, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Wet Wipes The Same As Baby Wipes?

Yep. Pretty much. All baby wipes can be used as wet wipes. However, depending on the ingredients and how sensitive your baby’s skin is, not all wet wipes are suitable to use as baby wipes.

Which Baby Wipes Are Best For Sensitive Skin?

All the disposable hypoallergenic wipes in this article are made with limited ingredients and should be fine for your baby's delicate skin.

However, to be 100% certain you’re cutting out all potential sensitive skin issues, you might be better sticking to 100% organic reusable wipes and water. Zero harsh chemicals, guaranteed!

Are Costco Wipes Biodegradable?

Costco/Kirkland baby wipes were not part of my tests, so I don’t have first-hand brand experience.

However, the Costco website makes no mention of these wipes being biodegradable. I’ve contacted them for clarification.

The Final Word

Unlike diapers (where I feel the best option is high-quality compostable), I feel the best eco-friendly wipes are reusable ones.

According to Esembly, you only need around 30 of their reusable wipes to get you from birth to the end of potty training.

Compare that to the thousands of disposable wipes you’d get through.

A baby will get through around 7,000 diapers before they’re potty trained.

Most diaper changes will probably need two wipes. So you’re looking at using a total of 14,000 wipes per baby. And that’s not even including any extra you’ll use for spit-ups, etc.

Even when using the best biodegradable wipes you can buy, 14,000+ items to buy and dispose of compared to 30 is a bit of a no-brainer for me. Both in terms of cost and environmental impact.

Yes. You have the laundering of the reusable wipes.

However, unlike with reusable diapers, I would feel happy washing reusable wipes with other clothing items - once the worst of any poop, etc., has been hand rinsed out first (using water butt water, of course!) - so the cost and inconvenience are less.

However, there is no denying that disposable wet wipes are super convenient, and buying the occasions pack for when you’re out and about with baby isn’t going to harm the planet. Particularly if you go for one of the compostable brands mentioned in this article.

Get In Touch

Where do you buy your eco-friendly baby wipes? Are you in the reusable or disposable camp? Do you have a great DIY hack for homemade natural wipes? Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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