Best Baby Wipes of 2021
Water Wipes are pretty much exactly what they claim to be, a clean and straightforward wipe without added chemicals, and we couldn't love them more. This wipe is sturdy, stretchable, fragrance-free, and moist. They pull easily out of the packaging, which is easy to open and close, and the wipes are soft enough to please even the most delicate skin. This wipe is the only one in our review accepted by the National Eczema Association. We think parents concerned with the number of chemicals they use on their baby will appreciate the ingredient list on these wipes, with 99.9% being water and 0.1% being fruit extract.These water-based wipes are more expensive than most disposable wipes, with an average price of almost 3x that of the other competitors. They are also one of the smallest wipes in the group by 1-3 inches in length, but we suspect most parents won't notice the size difference and will willingly accept the size in exchange for what this wipe lacks. Water Wipes are one of a kind, and we think most parents will find the additional cost acceptable for a simple chemical-free product, especially for newborns or premies. If your infant has sensitive skin or you want to avoid added chemicals, we think Water Wipes are the best thing around.
The Seventh Generation Baby Wipe is one of the few selections in our lineup that is entirely scent-free, which means fewer chemicals and no odor. We prefer a baby who smells like a baby, with no fragrances to mask the scent of the contents that you typically find in a dirty diaper. This wipe is ultra-soft, larger than some competitors, and has adorable ducks embossed on it. With fewer ingredients, it is hard not to love this eco-friendlier option.Unfortunately, this wipe is not the most durable choice. While it should clean a poopy tushie without a problem, dried poop might result in tearing and a bigger mess than you want to deal with. However, ideally, you'll attend to messes before they dry. Overall, there is much to love about this wipe free from fragrances, alcohol, and parabens. We think parents trying to avoid chemicals or want eco-friendly will love the Seventh Generation choice.
The Mama Bear Water Wipes was somewhat of a pleasant surprise for us, given our disappointment in this review's other Mama Bear wipes. This wipe is soft yet super durable, with no tears during testing. It has no smell whatsoever and is free of concerning elements like alcohol, parabens, and phthalates. This simple, straightforward wipe is 99% purified water, and the material includes 15% cotton for that soft feel that stands out in a crowd. The pack is easy to open and close, and the wipes come out one at a time without the dreaded follow-along wipe that leads to waste.There isn't much to dislike about this wipe, but it does have significantly more ingredients than our top "water wipe" winner. These additives look to be mostly preservative ingredients, and they are still far fewer than the majority of the competition. The price is far better than the competing water wipe. It does contain Phenoxyethanol, which can be an irritant for some, so you may want to do a spot test before using it on your baby's sensitive bits. Overall, we think this is a great wipe at a great price for any family, especially for parents looking to limit their little one's exposure to chemicals.
The Pampers Expressions Baby Diaper Wipes are thick, durable, and soft. They come in easy-to-pack and use plastic bags with a unique pop-top lid that dispenses one wipe at a time, which stops the dreaded follow-on wipes from escaping from the package. While we are not huge fans of scented products, this scent is light and non-offensive, and it doesn't linger like harsher-smelling competitors. The wipes work well and remove messes easily. The wipes didn't tear in our tests unless overly stretched, and testers agreed they feel good on the skin.
These wipes have fragrance added, which translates to an undisclosed number of chemicals. So instead of the 7 ingredients shown on the package, the actual total number of ingredients and what they are is unknown. While these wipes claim to be dermatologist tested, because this claim has no agreed-upon definition, we still recommend a spot check on your little one before using these, as some little ones might be sensitive to the ingredients. Overall, if you want a pleasantly scented wipe and your budget is tight, these get the job done with ease.
Honest Baby Wipes is a high-end wipe that comes in a variety of package designs. These wipes are durable, thick, and work well. We like that they are free of many concerning things, including alcohol, parabens, phthalates, quaternary ammonium compounds, and fragrances. They use chlorine-free processing (which is good for babies and the Earth). Chlorine-free processing is relatively unique for this kind of product, making them one of the most Earth-friendly disposable wipes around.According to many users, Honest recently changed the formulation of their wipes, and the newer version seems less sensitive than the previous version causing skin irritation. While we didn't experience this, we recommend the Water Wipes as a truly chemical-free option if your baby is super sensitive. Honest is on the spendy side for wipes, so it may not be the right fit for tighter budgets. However, for parents concerned about the environment and the use of chlorine in production or finding a wipe free of certain things, Honest does an excellent job of avoiding the top irritants and concerns.
Pampers Sensitive is a well-known brand name wipe you can easily find in most stores. This wipe comes in a flip-top pack you can open with one hand, and the wipe itself is soft and thick. The Sensitive wipe is free of alcohol, perfume, parabens, phenoxyethanol, and dyes.This wipe is not stretchy, and it will tear if you push it too far. While the pack is easy to pull from, the follow-on wipe comes out far too much, leaving you with the decision of using two wipes when you only need one or pushing it and folding it back into the pack to get the lid closed. It also has a scent that can be troubling to those expecting a scent-free product. While not overpowering, it is there, and we worry parents will confuse "fragrance-free" with scent-free, but this only means there is no added scent. The wipes in this pack are not the most durable and one of the few in the review to tear if stretched. However, for essential clean-up work, this shouldn't be a problem. Overall, we like the limited ingredients of this wipe and feel some parents will appreciate the lack of additional chemicals with a light smell.
The Mama Bear Gentle Fragrance-Free is an Amazon brand wipe, unlike past Amazon wipes no longer available. This wipe is thin and has embossed lambs on the surface for a cute overall look. It feels soft to the touch and is average in size to the competition. This wipe is free of fragrance, phenoxyethanol, ethyl alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, phthalates, dyes, sulfates, and formaldehyde donors, making it better for sensitive skin than some of the competition.
Unfortunately, these wipes are very easy to tear, and if you pull them from the pack quickly to get one instead of two or more, they will tear as you pull them out. In our tests, they were the easiest to tear in the group. While we like the idea of a sensitive wipe with fewer ingredients and traditionally like the Amazon offerings, this wipe isn't as good as the competition. If you want an Amazon Mama Bear option, we prefer the Mama Bear Water Wipes to this option.
Pampers Aqua Pure boasts limited ingredients and organic cotton construction with this high-end wipe. This wipe is sturdy and stretchy with no tearing in our tests (and believe us, we tried!). The Pampers Aqua Pure has more moisture than much of the competition, which can be useful for some messes or an after-sleep diaper with some crusty poo. We like that the Pampers Aqua Pure is devoid of dyes, parabens, fragrances, and some alcohols (they specify "drying" alcohols).We do not like the marketing hype of this wipe and feel that greenwashing and misleading claims are happening. While branded as "Aqua-Pure," this wipe contains more than water. Also, it boasts the use of "organic cotton," implying the wipe is only cotton when the fine print states "a touch" of cotton or specifically only 15%. While not a deal-breaker, we don't like the misleading language that we believe is designed to make parents feel this wipe is organic and contains only water, neither of which is true (it contains 1% cleansers and Ph balancers in the form of six ingredients other than water). This wipe is slightly more expensive than most, probably due to the organic claim and green marketing hype. However, it does have fewer ingredients than most of the competition. It is more readily found in more local stores than our top choice of Water Wipes, making it a potential option for parents who value fewer chemicals and easy accessibility.
Huggies Natural Care Refreshing is an easy-to-find, popular-brand name baby wipe with a cute bear embossed pattern and super soft texture. These super moist wipes come in an easy-to-use plastic package with a film opening that works well but can be tricky to operate with one. The wipes are ultra-soft and work well on small messes.The Natural Care wipes are not very natural, with an overpowering fragrance that may smell "fresh" and plant-like to some, but it is too strong and hard to get past for others. They also have a list of ingredients that is 12 strong with fragrance included (which typically means chemical concoction we don't need to identify by law). These wipes are the flimsiest in the group and tear as easily as wet paper without much force required (Huggies does not list the makeup of their wipes), so you may need more wipes to get the job done than you would with a more durable option. While we think parents will want a well-known name and the promise of "natural," we do not believe these are as natural as some of the competition, nor should they be anyone's top choice. Perhaps if they were fragrance-free or sturdier, they might be more impressive. If you must have the Huggies brand, they make a fragrance-free version, but the durability is still likely a problem.
Why You Should Trust Us
After testing various gear in the last 8 years, we know what it takes to test each product hands-on in the real world. Baby Wipes are no exception to our "buy and use" testing process. We provide all the details you'll need to find the best wipe for your little one with our unbiased analysis. Real moms used each wipe in our roundup in the trenches of motherhood, including Wendy Schmitz, mom of two boys, and a Senior Review Editor at BabyGearLab since 2014. The wipes were used in various clean-up situations and assessed for durability, wipe ability (ease of use), and eco-health.
Analysis and Test Results
We performed tests for ease of use, durability, and health, ranking each baby wipe compared to the other wipes in this review. Our results give you the information you need to make the best choice for your family.
Ease of Use
How hard could a wipe be to use? Utilizing the wipe itself isn't challenging, but opening and getting wipes out of the package can be. Depending not the style of the package and how the wipes are dispensed, your experience can vary. Many wipes come in hard plastic tubs or refills in plastic bag-style containers; some have flip-top lids that open easily, and others have a thin recloseable film. While most wipes come out of their packaging like tissues, where pulling one wipe causes the next to appear ready for picking, not all of them work well, and some work so well that the second wipe pulls out almost completely and prevents the lid from fully closing. This issue can result in wasted or dried-out wipes.
The Honest container plastic flip lid is so great at staying closed it is nearly impossible to open with one hand. And given that your second hand might be holding a wiggly baby on a public restroom changing table, it needs to open with one hand. Once open, pulling the wipe is easy enough, but the follow-up wipe will come almost halfway out with the first wipe, so if you don't need it, you'll have to stuff it back in or fold it up to get the lid closed (again, all with potentially one hand).
Both Pampers options also have a hard plastic flip lid. The lids are more comfortable to open and close than the Honest cover, but they also suffer from the follow-up wipe coming all of the ways out with the first. It makes us wonder if you might end up using/wasting wipes you wouldn't ordinarily use because you can't get them back in the package. It is a minor hiccup, but one worth noting if you end up going through your wipes twice as fast as necessary. The Mama Bear wipes, on the other hand, also have the hard plastic flip lids, but the second follow-up wipe only peeks out of the top when you pull the first, making it super easy to reclose without fiddling with the follow-on wipe. Mama Bear proves it is possible to create an easy-to-use dispenser and operate a wipes package with one hand. Both the Water Wipes (on the go format) and the Huggies have a film cover that presses in place, which means less plastic in the landfill, but you'll almost certainly need two hands to get them open or closed. The Water Wipes are the only option in our review that does not dispense like tissue, and pulling one from the package does not cause the second to be more readily available. However, they are still easy to remove and access, and this design means the film closure is easier to press back in place than the competition that allows the next wipe to pull through. The Pampers Expressions Baby Diaper Wipes has the best lid with a unique design that helps dispense only one wipe at a time. While it doesn't always work as advertised, it did work better than the competition at preventing a string of wipes from coming out when we only wanted one or two.
This modern-day marvel of convenience is probably one you haven't given much thought to, but the first time your hand slips through a torn wipe while cleaning up a messy blowout, you'll be wishing you'd paid more attention to choosing a quality wipe. Whether or not a wipe can be torn or stretched and how well it withstands the rigors of wiping up filthy messes is what separates the pups from the big dogs of disposable cleaning wipes. While almost any wipe can tackle a quick swipe on a bare bum after a urine-soaked diaper change, you'll need something more substantial to make it through a sticky mess of meconium tar during the first week of life or a severe prune explosion when your little one starts eating real foods.
The Pampers Sensitive and the HUGGIES Natural Care both tear easily and without much effort, which can lead to dirty fingers or poop under your nails. While both are soft, this extra softness brings with it the ability to break under pressure. The Huggies wipe tends to split in two, while the Pampers Sensitive has more of a stretch spread rather than becoming two separate parts. The Mama Bear Water Wipes is very durable, and we couldn't tear it even when we tried. However, the Mama Bear Sensitive is the exception and tore easily in our tests; some tore when removing them from the package! The Pampers Aqua Pure is softer and impossible to tear even when we tried very hard to do so. Honest Wipes and Water Wipes are both similar in durability to the Pampers Aqua Pure. The Seventh Generation is one of the softest and is durable enough to tackle most jobs if you don't try to stretch it.
Given that you'll be using these quick clean-up wipes multiple times a day, it can have an impact on your baby's skin, especially if they tend to have sensitive skin or allergies. The last thing you need is a wipe creating or contributing to a rash or irritation in such a sensitive, already overworked area of your baby's body. For this reason, we recommend using the wipes that work the best for you with the least amount of additives or chemicals. Ingredient lists can include lotions and fragrances that, while maybe lovely to your nose, may not be suitable for sensitive new baby skin.
Many of the wipes in this review have some scent when you open the package (even those that say fragrance-free), but only the Huggies brand knocked us off our feet. While many testers felt it was the softest, and the little embossed bears are super cute, it has a strong cleaner odor that most testers didn't like. At best, it is fresh and invigorating. At worst, it is annoying and pungent. It depends on how much you enjoy artificial scents, but the smell's strength concerns us and makes us think it could possibly irritate some babies. The Huggies ingredient list is ten items as long. It includes "parfum," which is a fancy way of saying "a bunch of chemicals we don't have to identify" because, legally, it is a proprietary blend, and they can keep it a secret. This ingredient list would be even longer if they were required to list all of the fragrance's ingredients, and the additive makes it one we don't prefer. If you must have a scent, then the Pampers Expressions Baby Diaper Wipes offers a pleasant light scent that doesn't offend and has fewer ingredients than much of the scented competition (though we do not know how many chemicals are in its "fragrance").
When a product claims to be fragrance-free, this only means that an additional fragrance is not added to the wipe's formulation. It does not mean the wipe is unscented. Most ingredients have some scent, and creating a scent-free wipe will typically include chemicals to combat other ingredients' smells. It is typical for a fragrance-free wipe to have an odor. An un-scented wipe, however, should not.
The Mama Bear Water Wipes say they are 99% purified water, similar to the Water Wipes; however, the label lists 15 ingredients, which means 1% of each wipe is filled with these other chemicals, unlike the Water Wipes. While this means the amount of any single chemical is low, it still isn't as "free" from additives as its competitor. We feel confident that the xanthum gum in the Pampers Sensitive isn't necessary for a clean finish. Even the Honest wipe, which professes to be 99% water on the package, still has 12 ingredients, though it is free of alcohol, parabens, fragrance, and chlorine processing (woohoo!). Pampers Pure Aqua has seven ingredients, which is better but not exactly "pure water," as implied by the name and related marketing. However, it is free of alcohol and fragrances, which we like.
If you are looking for limited ingredients hoping to avoid as many chemicals and additives as possible, then it simply must be the Water Wipes, which, as the name implies, is almost entirely water (precisely 99.9%) with 0.1% of grapefruit seed extract. These durable wipes have no odor, are soft, and leave no residue behind. The Water Wipes are the smallest in the group and relatively thin, but they stretch to over 14 inches long without tearing, and they get the job done without added chemicals. The Seventh Generation Wipes is similar to Pampers Aqua Pure with few ingredients of less than 7, with most being plant extracts and the first part being water. These scent-free wipes are gentle, scent-free, and less likely to irritate sensitive skin.[nomazon]Water Wipes also says regarding their wipes:
Which we think is pretty darn cool.
Seventh Generation also takes steps to be more environmentally friendly and is a Certified B Corporation. These corporations are certified as better for employees, communities, and the environment, making Seventh Generation wipes an excellent choice for anyone concerned about eco-health.
With so many baby wipe choices on the market, it can be confusing to determine which wipes have the features and functionality you want and need. We think the ideal wipe should clean the messiest of blowouts while maintaining its integrity and shape. It should also be gentle on a baby's skin, leaving nothing behind but a clean slate. For these reasons, we favor baby wipes that keep their shape, have few ingredients, and are gentle on the bum. We feel there is a wipe in this review for every family looking for a disposable wipe, no matter your needs and goals.
— Wendy Schmitz and the BabyGearLab Review Team
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
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