Baby Wipes vs Wet Wipes – What’s the Difference?

Have you noticed the explosion of growth in the wipe market? You can now buy wipes soaked in germ-fighting cleaning solutions for your home, feminine wipes to stay fresh in unmentionable places, and wet wipes designed to take the place of dry toilet paper. If you think of a surface that needs cleaned or sanitized, chances are, there’s a wipe to simplify the process.

The market is great if you want to keep your home clean while cutting out the spray and wipe process, but it gets a little confusing when it comes to baby wipes. Your baby is perhaps the one “surface” of your home that needs the most cleaning on a routine basis, but you don’t want to use just any wipe for the job.

That tender skin is easily irritated, so let’s get some answers to the biggest questions parents and caregivers have about one big issue: baby wipes vs wet wipes. Are they really the same thing? Can you use wet wipes when they’re more convenient or cheaper than baby wipes? We have some information that will help you make those decisions.

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Are Wet Wipes and Baby Wipes the Same?

Pampers Pure baby wipes. Image courtesy of Amazon

Baby wipes and wet wipes aren’t the same. You can think of wet wipes as more of a general category. And then wet baby wipes would fit as a specific type of wipe within the larger category. Every wet wipe is designed for a different purpose.

The primary purpose for a baby wipe is easy to guess: to clean a baby’s skin quickly and efficiently. While you may also use these wipes to clean messy hands, tame flyaway hair, or eliminate messes on a countertop, baby wipes are designed to serve as mini baby baths. Most contain only water and some type of gentle moisturizer that is safe for tender baby skin.

When you compare that to other types of wet wipes, the difference is in the ingredients. Wet wipes designed for cleaning are soaked in cleaning solutions that you wouldn’t want to wipe on your baby’s skin. Those designed to take the place of toilet paper for adults are often very similar to baby wipes. However, they may contain aloe and possibly different types of fragrances.

If you run out of baby wipes and are tempted by a pack of wet wipes, think about what substances are on the wipes. Would you wipe that on your baby’s skin if it weren’t contained in a soft wipe? If not, then you can guess that it isn’t a safe replacement for baby wipes.

What About Wet Wipes vs Feminine Wipes?

Feminine wipes often come in smaller packages and are usually scented. There are tons of brands, like Vagisil, Goodwipes, Summer’s Eve, and Always. Image courtesy of Amazon

Feminine wipes may seem like a great backup for baby wipes because they are also designed to clean sensitive skin. Unfortunately, many contain fragrances, dyes, and other chemicals that aren’t suitable for a baby. Some contain more natural ingredients, so make sure to do your research before using them as wipes for a baby.

Can I Use Baby Wipes as Wet Wipes?

Wet wipes can be antibacterial, which is not great for wiping a baby’s bottom. Image courtesy of Amazon

The baby wipes vs wet wipes debate goes in reverse, too. While you may not want to use all wet wipes on a baby’s tender skin, what about using baby wipes for surfaces that aren’t as sensitive or fragile as your baby? For instance, could you use a wet wipe to clean up after your toddler spills a cup of juice on the counter? What about using a baby wipe to quickly clean a toilet seat?

There is nothing harmful about using baby wipes for most non-intended purposes. If your goal is to quickly wipe a surface down or clean up a mess, then baby wipes can do the job. Just keep in mind that they won’t sanitize or deep clean any surface because they don’t contain cleaning solutions.

You may also use baby wipes instead of wet wipes when cleaning toys and other items touched by your baby. That ensures you don’t transfer harsh chemicals to your baby, especially if it’s something a child may put in their mouth. Keep in mind that babies often put their hands in their mouths after touching items with their fingers.

Using a wet wipe is similar to spraying a surface down with plain water. It’s just a little less messy.

What’s the Difference Between Baby Wet Wipes and Baby Dry Wipes?

You can use dry wipes for anything since they don’t contain any chemicals, disinfectants, or scents. People commonly use them for removing makeup and removing messes. Image courtesy of Amazon

Dry baby wipes are soft, durable wipes designed to clean up wet or moist messes on a baby’s skin. They work great for some diaper changes, but you can also moisten them to create a wet wipe. Just spray them with a water bottle or dip them in water. Now you have a moist wipe that works just like a wet baby wipe.

Baby dry wipes are great for wiping off dirty mouths and picking items up from a dirty floor without touching with your hands. Many parents and caregivers keep wet and dry baby wipes on hand because there are so many unexpected circumstances that come up with children. You never know what you’re going to need or when.

Can I Flush Baby Wipes Down the Toilet?

Unless stated otherwise on the package, always assume that baby wipes are not flushable. The same goes for wet wipes. Since flushable wet wipes are sold in the toilet paper aisle that are flushable, many people now assume that all wipes can go down the toilet. Spare yourself a hefty plumbing bill and a lot of wasted time. Just toss all wipes in the trash instead.

Wrap up

baby wipes vs wet wipes

The baby wipes vs wet wipes dilemma is often confusing. Hopefully you’re now clear on selecting safe wipes for your baby as well as for your plumbing and household cleaning needs.

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