Mama Adoptation

10 Common Chemicals in Baby Wipes You Might Want to Avoid!

Most parents rely on baby wipes to keep their children’s skin clean and fresh. Unfortunately, many brands of baby wipes contain dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to your little one’s delicate skin. Here are ten common chemicals in baby wipes you might want to avoid:

The fragrance is a common chemical found in most baby wipe products. It may cause irritation, allergic reactions, and even asthma-like symptoms in babies with sensitive skin. Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), are added to create the foaming action of the wipes. These ingredients have been known to cause skin and eye irritation and disrupt normal hormone levels.

Common chemicals in Baby Wipes:

The use of baby wipes has become increasingly popular with parents over the last few decades. They clean, soothe, and protect babies’ delicate skin from diaper rashes and other irritations. Although convenient, it is important to remember that many baby wipes contain harsh chemicals that can harm your child’s health.

Common chemicals in baby wipes include preservatives like methylisothiazolinone (MI) and propylene glycol (PG), surfactants like sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), fragrances, essential oils, and formaldehyde-releasing agents such as bronopol.

MI is a common preservative found in many household products, including cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, and baby wipes.


Parabens are widely used chemicals in baby wipes, but many parents don’t even know what they are or why they should be aware. Parabens are preservatives that help prevent bacteria from growing in personal care products such as baby wipes. They have been used since the 1950s and can be identified by their names on ingredient lists.

Though parabens have been deemed safe for use, some experts believe they may pose a health risk to babies, particularly newborns. These potential risks include endocrine disruption and carcinogenicity; however, other scientific experts have challenged these claims and believe further research needs to be conducted before any definitive conclusions can be reached about their safety for babies.


1. The well-being of infants and young children is paramount for parents, but there is growing concerned about the potential risks of chemicals in baby wipes. Phthalates, a group of chemicals found in many baby wipes, have been linked to numerous health issues, such as endocrine disruption and asthma.

2. Though phthalates are considered safe in small doses, they can accumulate in the environment through improper disposal of products containing them. Even low levels of these chemicals can cause long-term issues if they are not managed properly. Furthermore, studies have shown that babies who use phthalate-containing baby wipes may be more vulnerable to these chemicals due to their developing bodies and immature immune systems.


Formaldehyde is used in many common household items, including baby wipes. It’s known for its antiseptic properties but can also cause health problems if not handled properly. Exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to adverse respiratory and skin reactions and cancer in some cases.

Though the amount of formaldehyde used in baby wipes is minimal, parents must be aware of what chemicals their child is exposed to. Some studies have suggested that this chemical could contribute to asthma and allergies in young children.

Furthermore, there are reports of contact dermatitis caused by prolonged exposure to formaldehyde-containing products such as baby wipes. Parents can protect their children from potential risk by choosing natural alternatives or looking for products labeled “formaldehyde-free.”


Recent studies have raised the alarm about chemicals in baby wipes. One such chemical is Triclosan, an antibacterial agent linked to numerous health issues. This chemical is commonly found in many personal care products, such as toothpaste, antibacterial soaps, and household cleaning supplies. It is also present in many baby wipes, even though there are no proven benefits to using it on infant skin.

Medical researchers have extensively studied Triclosan’s adverse effects on human health and identified several potential risks associated with its use. These include but are not limited to endocrine disruption, antibiotic resistance, and skin irritation for infants with sensitive skin.


Phenoxyethanol is used in many baby wipes and other personal care products. It has been used as an alternative to parabens due to its ability to effectively prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. However, recent studies have found that this preservative may not be as safe as first thought.

Recent studies have shown that phenoxyethanol can cause skin irritation and allergies, such as redness, itching, and a burning sensation when exposed to the skin in high concentrations. Additionally, it has been linked to neurological damage in animal studies when ingested or inhaled over long periods. These findings raise concerns about using this chemical in baby wipes for infants, who are more vulnerable than adults.

Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-Dioxane:

In recent years, manufacturers have come under scrutiny for using dangerous chemicals in baby wipes. Two of the most commonly used are ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. These chemicals can cause serious health problems for children and adults who come into contact with them.

Ethylene oxide is a highly flammable gas frequently used as an antifungal agent to sterilize products such as medical equipment, spices, and cosmetics.

This chemical has been linked to increased human cancer risk when it accumulates in the environment over time. 1,4-Dioxane is a synthetic byproduct of chlorine and petroleum production that also presents long-term health risks when present at high levels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified it as a probable human carcinogen.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES):

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are two common chemicals in many baby wipes. These chemicals are surfactants, meaning that they act as both a cleaning agent and an emulsifier, allowing the oils and water to mix when making the wipes. While these chemicals have been widely used for decades due to their low cost, there is growing concerned about their potential health risks.

Studies have suggested that SLS and SLES can irritate the skin, causing redness or itching in some individuals. Additionally, some research has linked the long-term use of products containing these ingredients with an increased risk of hormonal imbalance or disruption of cell membranes. As a result of this research, many parents are now seeking alternative baby wipes without SLS or SLES.

Methylisothiazolinone (MIT):

Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is a widely used synthetic preservative chemical in many household products, including baby wipes. MIT has been linked to skin irritation and allergies and is known to be a sensitizing agent, which means it can cause an allergic reaction when someone comes into contact with it. This has prompted concern among parents about the safety of using baby wipes that contain this potentially harmful ingredient.

Studies have been conducted to evaluate the use of MIT as a preservative in consumer products such as baby wipes. While results from some studies suggest that exposure to this chemical may be associated with health risks, other research concludes that its presence poses no risk of harm when used at the concentrations typically found in baby wipes.

Despite these inconclusive findings, some companies are now opting for other preservatives instead of MIT for their product formulas due to consumer demand.

Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate (IPBC):

Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate (IPBC) is a chemical often found in baby wipes and other hygiene products. It is an antimicrobial preservative that helps prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria in baby wipes. While IPBC can be beneficial for preventing the spread of bacteria, it has also been linked to potential health risks.

IPBC works by disrupting fungal cell membranes, causing harm and death to the cells. As a result, when used on babies’ sensitive skin, this chemical can cause irritation, redness, and even allergic reactions in some people. Studies have shown that long-term use of IPBC on delicate skin may lead to more serious health problems, such as liver damage or cancerous tumors.

Bronopol and DMDM Hydantoin:

The use of chemicals in baby wipes has been a controversial topic for years. Bronopol and DMDM Hydantoin are two common components found in many baby products, including baby wipes. These chemicals have long been under scrutiny due to their potentially hazardous effects on children.

Bronopol is an antimicrobial preservative commonly used in household cleaning products, cosmetics, and personal care items such as shampoo and baby wipes. It works by breaking down proteins that cause skin irritation and infection.

Unfortunately, this chemical can also be harmful if inhaled or ingested, causing nausea, dizziness, headaches, and even breathing difficulties.

DMDM Hydantoin is another ingredient used in baby products, such as wet wipes and lotions.

My chemical-free baby wipe recommendation:

Are you looking to provide your baby with the safest, most healthy products possible? If so, it’s important to consider how chemicals in baby wipes can potentially harm your little one.

Many of the main brand-name wipes on the market contain chemicals and fragrances that are irritating and even harmful to babies. To ensure that your baby gets only the safest cleaning materials, I recommend using a chemical-free version, such as WaterWipes.

WaterWipes are made from 99.9% water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract, which makes them exceptionally gentle for babies delicate skin. They are also free of alcohol, chlorine, parabens, phthalates, and other synthetic preservatives commonly found in other brands of wipes.


Using baby wipes can be quite convenient and beneficial for parents, but it’s important to pay attention to what chemicals are used in the wipes. Many common chemicals in baby wipes, such as propylene glycol, filial, methylisothiazolinone, and polysorbate 20, have been linked to allergic reactions, skin irritation, and other health problems. Awareness of these issues is key to protecting your little one from potential dangers.

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Emiley Walker Author & Writer | Parenting and BabyCare at Mamaadoptation About I'm a passionate writer committed to using storytelling to support and uplift families on their fostering and kinship care journeys. At Mama Adoption, I create engaging content that empowers parents and caregivers navigating the joys and challenges of raising amazing children. Expertise Childcare Parent coaching Parenting Attachment parenting Parent-child Relationships Baby Products Newborn Baby Knowledge of different parenting approaches (e.g., authoritative, permissive, authoritarian) Strategies for managing and modifying children's behavior communication techniques Understanding child psychology Specialized knowledge in supporting children with disabilities Highlights Certified in Family dynamics, Parenting guide, Effective communication skills. Education Emily Walker holds a Master's degree in parenting guidelines from Air university where she cultivated her expertise in understanding child development, effective communication, and family dynamics. Her academic journey ignited a lifelong passion for unraveling the complexities of parenting and helping others on their parenting journeys. Experience Emily Walker's professional journey is marked by a wealth of experience: Nurse (RN) - Pediatrics or Mother-Baby Unit Babysitter Authorship: Emily has authored numerous articles, essays, and books on parenting guidelines, all crafted with a blend of academic knowledge and practical wisdom. Parenting Workshops: She has conducted workshops and seminars, both online and in-person, providing parents with actionable tools and strategies. Consulting: Emily has worked as a parenting consultant, offering personalized guidance to families facing unique challenges. Media Contributions: Her insights have been featured in various publications, including parenting magazines and television programs. Emily's Approach to Parenting: Emily advocates for: Positive Discipline: Promoting non-punitive methods for teaching and guiding children. Open Communication: Fostering open and respectful communication within families. Child-Centered Parenting: Prioritizing the well-being and development of the child while supporting parents in their roles. Thank you for visiting Emily Walker's author page. Join her on a journey of discovery and empowerment as she guides you through the fascinating world of parenting guidelines. Together, let's nurture the next generation with love, knowledge, and understanding.

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