The Best Baby Wipes
The best baby wipes need to be gentle on baby’s skin, but tough enough to stand up to a big mess. We dug into the research and confirmed with a dermatologist which ingredients to avoid. Then asked parents to test out 11 different brands in their normal routines to see which delivered the best, most comfortable clean with the fewest wipes.
How We Chose the Best Baby Wipes
No matter how well a wipe cleans, it’s no good if it irritates your baby’s most tender areas. Alcohols, particularly simple ones (denatured, ethanol, and isopropyl) or aromatic options (often a benzyl alcohol), can dry out sensitive skin, so it’s best to avoid wipes that contain them. Synthetic fragrances (as opposed to those derived from natural essential oils) are something else to watch out for — they can be a source of phthalates, which have been linked to allergic skin reactions. Dr. Peter Lio, clinical assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Northwestern University and partner at Medical Dermatology Associates of Chicago, agrees: “Less is more. Although many may like a pleasant-smelling fragrance, it can be a source of trouble.”
Size and thickness
When it comes to baby wipes, size matters. So does structure. You want a large, thick wipe that can withstand a serious mess — think washcloth, not Kleenex. Some brands we tested were noticeably sturdier than others, allowing for a complete clean with fewer wipes. Others were limp and puny, clinging to themselves as they came out of their containers, forcing us to fling them around one-handed to unfurl. Against a baby’s backside, they would just ball up.
In our testing, we pulled each wipe on both ends to see if any would tear and double-checked which ones could withstand a one-handed yank from their packaging. Essential when simultaneously running defense on a squirmy, messy baby. Some didn’t tear but were so stretchy that when pulled they became thin and almost see-through, like a piece of taffy. The best wipes showed impressive toughness, stretching and holding to gather more mess in a single swipe.
It turns out that a textured surface helps make wiping more efficient — meaning you can clean up a mess in less time and with fewer wipes. Many of the wipes we tested were too smooth, and the difference showed. The textured wipes just cleaned better. The channels of the texture captured much of the mess, leaving the rest of the wipe to take care of the residual. In contrast, the smoother wipes just moved the mess around, meaning we needed more wipes for the same job.
The 3 Best Baby Wipes
Best Luxury Wipes
The best cleaning ability, plus plant-based ingredients to soothe skin.
Why we chose it
Parasol Baby Wipes outperformed all other contenders in our cleaning tests. The wipes’ distinctive dot texture meant we had to use the fewest wipes to get the job done: generally just two wipes to clean up 95% of a blowout.
Natural skin-conditioning ingredients
Parasol’s moisture level is also just right for cleansing: The wipes are damp, but not saturated, with a slightly sudsy feel, which leaves baby’s skin feeling fresh and smooth with no soapy residue. Parasol uses multiple natural skin-conditioning ingredients, including natural aloe, chamomile, cucumber, and sucrose cocoate, derived from coconut. We also loved the light scent with subtle whiffs of cucumber.
Softest and thickest we tested
Parasol wipes are thick, cloth-like wipes that are markedly softer and thicker than most on the market. It’s always nice to feel a thick, soft layer between your hand and the mess you’re cleaning, and Parasol wipes really deliver on this score. Their thickness also makes them easy to remove from the package with one hand: Each wipe detaches neatly from the others and doesn’t fold, crumple, or tear. In comparison, some of the thinner brands we tested made us feel like we had to use two at a time.
Points to consider
The only real downside to Parasol wipes is the cost. They’re a bit more expensive than most at about $0.09 per wipe. If you’re using 500 wipes per month conservatively, then that may be a dealbreaker. However, we needed less than half the number of wipes when compared to the cheapest brand we tested (Huggies at $0.04 per wipe).
Only available online
Parasol wipes are also only available online — either through Amazon or direct through its site. Similar to The Honest Company, Parasol does offer a subscription service for both its diapers and wipes and ships products straight to your door at regular intervals.
No snap closure
As great as these wipes are, we still wish the package had a hard plastic opening for locking in freshness. It’s just easier to hear and feel that “snap” than it is to re-stick the flap and hope there are no air leaks.
Most Convenient Packaging
The Honest Company
These wipes have an identical texture to our top pick but were a bit less luxurious-feeling.
Why we chose it
Effective skin-conditioning ingredients
The Honest Company Baby Wipes narrowly missed the top spot. They rival the Parasol Baby Wipes in cleaning ability and durability and left our babies’ skin feeling fresh and soft. Featuring a similar “dot” texture and many of the same natural ingredients, such as cucumber and chamomile, The Honest Company wipes contain masterwort (known for its skin-soothing properties) instead of aloe vera. Unlike Parasol, these wipes don’t have a scent.
While they lacked the sudsy feel of the Parasol wipes, they were easy to remove from the package, and the sturdy plastic opening clicks shut for extra security and freshness — a nice perk that sets them apart from Parasol.
Available at some retail locations
The Honest Company Baby Wipes are cheaper than Parasol at about $0.06 per wipe. Like Parasol, The Honest Company started as an online diaper subscription services (and still offers this through its website), but you can also find The Honest Company wipes at multiple retail locations, including Target, CVS, and Safeway.
Points to consider
Not as soft as Parasol
As comparable as The Honest Company wipes are to Parasol’s, they didn’t feel quite as luxurious or moist. We also missed the slightly sudsy feel. It may not be a dealbreaker for you, but it resulted in a better experience with the Parasol wipes.
Voluntary recall in 2017
In May 2017, The Honest Company issued a voluntary recall of some wipes due to mold spotting. A recall on a baby product is a concern for any parent, but it’s worth noting that the spotting was only an aesthetic issue and not a health hazard (that’s why it was voluntary). We like that the company chose to issue the recall and, living up to its name, posted an explanatory video and list of affected lot numbers to its website. There have been no issues since.
Best on a Budget
A solid choice available at more retailers.
Why we chose it
Effective and durable
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes aren’t as soft or thick as our two top picks, but they were surprisingly durable. In our stretch test, the material hardly budged when we pulled on them firmly. They were also easy to pull from the package while holding a squirming kid. And like our other top picks, these wipes feature a patterned texture — in this case, adorable little ducks — that helps them clean more effectively.
Cheapest of our top picks
These wipes also offer the best value of any we tested. Among our top contenders, they were among the cheapest, at about $0.04 per wipe. While the same price per wipe, the Huggies Simply Clean Baby Wipes tore easily.
Sold at more retail locations
If you prefer to do your shopping the old-fashioned way, you’ll like that Seventh Generation products are available at numerous retail locations, including Target and Whole Foods. Besides the convenience, cutting down on shipping materials helps these wipes live up to their eco-friendly name.
Points to consider
Less cleaning ability
Unfortunately, these wipes fell a little behind our other top picks in terms of their cleaning ability. The cute duck-themed texture did clean better than the non-textured wipes, but not nearly as well as the distinctive dot texture of both Parasol and The Honest Company wipes.
Not as luxurious
While they pulled easily from the package, we had to admit that these wipes didn’t have the deluxe feel and thickness of our other top picks. If anything, they feel a little too dry. In terms of skin conditioners, they also rely only on aloe vera and vitamin E — no herbal or flower extracts.
Guide to Baby Wipes
How to find the right baby wipes for your family
When it comes to baby wipes, look for plant-based ingredients and avoid potential allergens and irritating preservatives. In general, the fewer hard-to-pronounce words on the ingredient list, the better. Be aware, though, that preservative-free wipes, such as WaterWipes, have been known to eventually grow mold after being opened.
Some common ingredients to avoid
Choose a price range
Baby wipes vary in cost from about $0.02 to $0.08 per wipe. That might not sound like much of a difference, but when you consider the volume you’ll be using (babies do tend to be messy, after all), those pennies can add up in a hurry. We found Seventh Generation to be among the best value we tested (around $0.04 per wipe).
Look for signs of irritation
You’ll know if a certain wipe is a good fit for your baby if they continue to have healthy, smooth skin. Diaper rash happens on occasion, of course, but a true allergy would result in recurring symptoms that don’t go away on their own. These symptoms include redness, irritation, itching, burning, bumps, and in more severe cases, actual blisters or sores. If you spot any of these, consult with your pediatrician.
Baby Wipes FAQ
Is there a such thing as an “organic” baby wipe?
Are certain wipes better for sensitive skin?
Can I rehydrate baby wipes that have dried out?
Can I use baby wipes to clean other parts of my baby?
The Best Baby Wipes: Summed Up
Our Other Baby Product Reviews
Got your hands full caring for your family’s newest addition? Let us help with recommendations on other infant essentials: