lets talk about wet wipes

I have three children that still need help cleaning themselves when they poop. There is a three-year-old boy that calls “MOM! come here and wipe my butt!!” at least once a day and a two-year-old toddler that also calls from the toilet after doing his business and flushing the toilet 10 times while he waits for mom to show up. Oh, and my Ari girl is 4 months old…need a say more? Some days I think I deserve a medal for being an expert on poop.

With lots of poop to clean up there’s lots of wipes used under my roof. To be honest, I barely used disposable wet wipes in the past because they cost $ and I’m not a fan of spending $ on things to just use for a second and throw away! (this may sound nasty to some) but I have been using reusable wipes since my oldest was born mostly to save money. BUT when your 5th child comes, anything to make life a little easier is totally welcomed. My lovely neighbor friend gave me a HUGE¬† Costco box of disposable wipes and this is the beginning of my story.

With two boys needing to be wiped throughout the day, I thought it was a marvelous idea to put a big box of wipes on the top of my toilet. This is a great convenient place to grab a wipe when needed. I soon learned that the subconscious mind will throw nasty used wet wipes in the toilet once in awhile (and who wants to fish it out afterwards?? NOT ME!). So this is what happened. A wet wipe was flushed instead of trashed…one here and one there. But oh dear, one soon leads to more and more and more.

One Friday night (Friday is laundry day around here by the way. Probably 10 loads go through the washer) after starting the washing machine for the 10th time, human sewage began rising from all the drains. My house smelled like a wastewater treatment plant and nothing would go down the drains. Poor husband rushed to the Home Depot (we otta get some stock in that store!) and came back with a $500 tool to unclog the pipes.

After a couple of hours taking toilets off and sloshing this new fancy tool through the pipes, it was brought to my attention that these lovely wet wipes were to blame! Thanks to my personal experience and costly mistake, I was forced to do more research on these wipes because I imagine that I’m not the only one flushing them “here and there”!

WHY SHOULD WE DITCH THE WIPES AND SPEND OUR $$ ON SOMETHING THAT’s HEALTHIER?

Wet wipes contain chemicals that you don’t want to use on your baby’s (or anyone’s!) behind. They contain alcohol, perfume, chlorine, dioxin, potassium laureth phosphate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Maleic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) and a formaldehyde-based preservative that has been linked to allergies and cancer.

All wet wipes are NOT biodegradable and generate 7.6 billion pounds of garbage each year. People (including me) will flush them down the toilet, clogging pipes and doing A LOT of damage to wastwater treatment plants, oceans, and beaches.

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A mechanical rake at the Newtown Creek plant collecting solid waste, mostly wet wipes, for disposal. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

SO WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

Use reusable cloths! It really isn’t hard and they work a million times better anyway.

travel

I like using the Norwex Travel Pack while I’m out and about. I have a pack in my purse/bag and dry them out on the dashboard of my car. I love knowing that they are removing 99% of bacteria off surfaces with just water!

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The Baby Pack is wonderful for cleaning messes off my kids’ faces and hands. I’m not using a wipe soaked in chemicals every time they need to be cleaned (which is mostly on their little faces and hands!)

Here’s to not using expensive chemical filled wipes that clog our pipes (and turn our homes into wastewater treatment plants!), decorate our beaches and landfills, and ruin our sewer systems. And here’s to using a better, cheaper, and healthier option!