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Using Personal Wipes Safely Matters

Before disposable wipes were available, people used cloths to clean messes. Since Arthur Julius trademarked Wet-Nap in 1958, advancements in technology and manufacturing allowed for the mass production of non-woven wipes. Today, the marketplace has a large variety to clean nearly everything.

These premoistened wipes are useful because of their portability. They are convenient, easy to use, hygienic, and great for a quick freshen-up. For example, after a lunchtime run, between flights, or a social event planned without time to go home first.

As a result, they have grown in popularity; in 2019, the estimated market value was about $14 billion. According to Statista, in 2020, over 16 million Americans utilized pre-moistened wipes 31 times or more weekly based on U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS).

"What started out as a welcomed and convenient way to wipe baby bottoms has now grown into a billion-dollar business for adult, too," writes Sweat Block author Kellen Perles.

Prevent Against Wet Wipe-Related Skin Irritation

People should follow the manufacturer's instructions when using disposable personal body wipes to ensure they use them correctly and safely. The U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises consumers not to use wipes only on broken or irritated skin and use them only for their intended purpose. Furthermore, following proper hygiene methods to prevent irritation or infection is important.

Store disposable wipes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. "If they are exposed to temperature extremes, such as in a hot or cold car, they may dry out," explains the FDA. Additionally, such extremes can cause changes in the ingredients. For example, the preservatives intended to protect against bacteria and mold may break down and no longer work. Using these wipes may cause skin irritation or infection.

Consumers should also avoid cross-contamination. For hygiene purposes, like cleaning a baby's bottom or wiping away sweat, do not use more than disposable cloth per area. In other words, use multiple wipes to finish the task. When people clean "down there," they should use a front-to-rear motion once per wipe to prevent bladder and other infections. Always gently clean and avoid excessive rubbing, which can irritate the skin.

Dr. Evan Goldstein warns that moisture can be a big problem. "People tend to use wipes and then pull up their pants. The moisture just festers, and it causes a change in bacteria and leads to irritation." If people fail to dry the area, the anal surgeon noted, they may feel like they have fissures or hemorrhoids, when in reality, it is a buildup of irritation and bad bacteria.

While it is safe to clean hands and faces with personal wipes, remember they are designed for external use only. Avoid contact with the eyes, the inside of the nose, or the mouth. Moreover, do not use them near open wounds or broken skin like a rash.

If someone experiences redness, irritation, or discomfort after using disposable wipes, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional if the symptoms worsen.

When used a directed, baby and body wipes are effective for staying fresh and clean when on the go. However, doctors advise users to wash their hands thoroughly afterward. Also, while they are great for quick clean-ups, they are not a substitute for regular bathing or showering.

Finally, Simpleaf Flushable Wipes are eco-friendly and septic system safe. However, some sewer and septic systems are unable to handle wipes. Here are some basic rules: Only flush one wipe at a time; flushing is okay when doing so is permitted by local rules; and the septic system follows the EPA rules for alternative systems that include annual inspection and pumping.

Do not flush if it violates local rules; when using RV, marine, or aviation systems; if the home uses a macerator toilet or household pump; or if there is uncertainty about the system's capability.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

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