A wet wipe, also known as a wet nap, wet towel, or a moist towelette, is a small moistened piece of paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....
or cloth that often comes folded and individually wrapped for convenience. Such towelettes are for cleansing or disinfecting.
The most common produced wet wipes are baby wipes used for cleaning infants.
ProductionWet wipes are produced as air-laid paper where the fibres are carried and formed to the structure of paper by air. They are moistened with water or other liquids like isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol is a common name for a chemical compound with the molecular formula C3H8O. It is a colorless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odor...
depending on the applications. The paper might be treated with softeners, lotions or added perfume to get the right properties or "feeling". The finished wet wipes are folded and put in pocket size package or a box dispenser.
UsesWet wipes can serve a number of household purposes. Although marketed primarily for wiping infants' backsides in diaper changing, it is not uncommon for consumers to also use the product to clean floors, toilet seats, and other surfaces around the home. Parents also use wet wipes, or as they are called for baby care, baby wipes, for wiping up baby vomit and use to clean babies' hands and face in feeding or general dirtiness.
Baby wipesBaby wipes are wet wipes used to cleanse the sensitive skin of infants. These are saturated with solutions anywhere from gentle cleansing ingredients to alcohol based 'cleaners'. Baby wipes are typically sold in plastic tubs that keep the cloths moist and allow for easy dispensing.
Wet wipes have become a standard part of diaper changing kits. They can be bought in packages of 80 or more, and come with dispensing mechanisms.
The origin of baby wipes most likely came in the mid 1950's as more people were traveling and needed a way to clean up on the go. One of the first companies to produce these was a company called Nice-Pak. Nice-Pak made napkin sized paper cloth saturated with a scented skin cleanser.
The first real baby wipe products appeared on the market around in the mid 1970's, and were larger companies like Kimberly-Clark
Kimberly-Clark Corporation is an American corporation that produces mostly paper-based consumer products. Kimberly-Clark brand name products include "Kleenex" facial tissue, "Kotex" feminine hygiene products, "Cottonelle", Scott and Andrex toilet paper, Wypall utility wipes, "KimWipes"...
who produced Huggies and Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and manufactures a wide range of consumer goods....
's Pampers. As the technology to produce wipes matured and became more affordable, smaller brands began to appear. By the 1990s, most super stores like Kmart and Wal-Mart had their own private label brand of wipes made by other manufacturers.
Many green-minded parents, or those looking to save extra money, are using washable baby wipes. These are typically small squares of material (cotton, bamboo or fleece) that can be pre-soaked ready to use, or wet as required. Because they don't contain chemicals or artificial fragrances like most disposable wipes, they are very kind and gentle on the skin. They are often reported to be more effective at removing solids from the skin because of their textured nature.
Cleansing padsCleansing pads are fiber sponges which have been previously soaked with water, alcohol and other active ingredients for a specific intended use. They are ready to use hygiene products and they are simple and convenient solutions to dispose of dirt or other undesirable elements.
There are different type of cleansing pads offered by the beauty industry: make-up removing pads, anti-spot treatments and anti-acne pads that usually contain salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid, a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. This colorless crystalline organic acid is widely used in organic synthesis and functions as a plant hormone. It is derived from the metabolism of salicin...
, vitamins, menthol and other treatments) .
Cleansing pads for preventing infection are usually saturated with alcohol and bundled in sterile package. Hands and instrument may be deinfected with these pads while treating wounds. Disinfecting cleansing pads are often included in first aid kits for this purpose. Since the outbreak of H1N1
2009 flu pandemic
The 2009 flu pandemic was an influenza pandemic, and the second of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus , albeit in a new version...
sales of individual impregnated wet wipes and gels in sachets and flowpacks have dramatically increased in the UK following the Government’s advice to keep hands and surfaces clean to prevent the spread of germs.
Pain reliefThere are pain relief pads sopping with alcohol and benzocaine
Benzocaine is a local anesthetic commonly used as a topical pain reliever, or in cough drops. It is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter anesthetic ointments...
. These pads are good for treating minor scrapes, burns, and insect bites. They disinfect the injury and also ease pain and itching.
Personal hygieneWet wipes can also be bought in stores for private usage. In Southeast Asia, wet wipes are often sold out of refrigerators to give the wipes a refreshingly cool effect. Many adults use wet wipes in place of toilet paper.
They are often dispensed in restaurants, at service stations, along with airline meal
An airline meal or in-flight meal is a meal served to passengers on board a commercial airliner. These meals are prepared by airline catering services.The first kitchens preparing meals in-flight were established by United Airlines in 1936....
s, in doctors' offices, and other similar places. They are often included as part of a standard sealed cutlery
Cutlery refers to any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food in the Western world. It is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery can have the more specific meaning of knives and other cutting instruments. This is probably the...
Wet wipes have also found a use among visitors to outdoor music festivals, particularly those who camp, as an alternative to the communal showers. The wet wipes are a preferable option to the communal facilities for which there are generally extremely long queues.
Pet careToday one can find even wet wipes for pet care, for example eye, ear, or dental cleansing pads (with boric acid
Boric acid, also called hydrogen borate or boracic acid or orthoboric acid or acidum boricum, is a weak acid of boron often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, as a neutron absorber, and as a precursor of other chemical compounds. It exists in the form of colorless crystals or a...
, potassium chloride
The chemical compound potassium chloride is a metal halide salt composed of potassium and chlorine. In its pure state, it is odorless and has a white or colorless vitreous crystal appearance, with a crystal structure that cleaves easily in three directions. Potassium chloride crystals are...
, zinc sulfate
Zinc sulfate is the inorganic compound with the formula ZnSO4 as well as any of three hydrates. It was historically known as "white vitriol". It is a colorless solid that is a common source of soluble zinc ions.-Production and reactivity:...
, sodium borate
Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.Borax has a wide variety of uses...
) for dogs, cats, horses, and birds.
- Airline mealAirline mealAn airline meal or in-flight meal is a meal served to passengers on board a commercial airliner. These meals are prepared by airline catering services.The first kitchens preparing meals in-flight were established by United Airlines in 1936....
- Fast foodFast foodFast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...
- OshiboriOshiboriAn or hot towel in English is a wet hand towel offered to customers in places such as restaurants or bars in Japan and in Japanese restaurants worldwide. Oshibori are used to clean one's hands before eating, and have long been a common sight in Japan. Cold oshibori are used in summer, and hot...
, a Japanese wet hand towel used to clean hands.
- Hygiene wipeHygiene wipeA hygiene wipe, or wet wipe, is a piece of material that comes folded and can be placed in warm water for medical use. Hygiene wipes are currently used by the NHS in medical centers and in child-care facilities for wound dressing...