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Adult Wipes vs. Baby Wipes vs. Wet Wipes: Which Ones Right?

Adult Wipes vs. Baby Wipes vs. Wet Wipes: Which Ones Right?
Kevin Cleary

Dealing with any incontinence can require many products to manage it properly. When one thinks of incontinence, the first thing that usually comes to mind is diapers or adult briefs. But what about wipes? Having wipes available when caring for someone suffering from incontinence means that they can be cleaned quicker and minimize the risk of skin breakdown. So, are all wipes the same? In the sense that they are used to clean up, then yes. We here at HPFY can explain the differences and similarities for you. There are some subtle differences, so visit HPFY for all your incontinence needs.

Aren’t They the Same?

Yes, adult wipes, baby wipes, and wet wipes are used to do just that…wipe. Although they are similar, there are distinct differences between each one. So, how do you know which one to use if there are similarities but subtle differences? The basic overview is

1. Baby Wipes

Infants have sensitive skin, and these wipes are formulated to protect this sensitive skin after a diaper change. In order to prevent irritation, most baby wipes are alcohol/soap-free. While being a great option for diaper changes, they are also an alternative to bathing in a pinch. Often, they are prepackaged, or they come in plastic tubs with resealable lids for convenience.

2. Adult Wipes

Also known as cleansing wipes, they can contain added scents and moisturizers and are formulated for an adult's skin. They can also be used as an alternative for bathing and can minimize odor or skin irritation after adult brief/diaper changes. These can come packaged in containers with snap tops or resealable lids for portability.

3. Wet Wipes

Typically used for general cleaning, such as dirt, these can be used on the skin but are better at cleaning dirt or liquids. Often, they contain isopropyl alcohol, which is a mild disinfectant but can cause dry skin. Some wet wipes contain CHG (chlorhexidine gluconate), which is used in hospitals to reduce the spread of infection but could also be used at home for patients with invasive lines or drains.

While baby wipes may be appropriate for simple diaper changes, wet wipes might not be the right choice since the chemicals in antibacterial wipes might be a bit harsh on infant skin.

When Should I Use Which?

For those who suffer from incontinence and/or their caregivers, the question begs to be asked… which wipe should I use? A very valid question!! Baby wipes vs. wet wipes or vice versa? Since each wipe has certain benefits and drawbacks, using the right one at the right time can maximize its effectiveness. A couple of guidelines are:

1. Baby Wipes

Since baby wipes are typically smaller and made for sensitive skin, the best baby wipes can be used for:

  • Diaper changes
  • Removing excess diaper creams
  • Wiping faces
  • Cleaning hands
  • Makeup removal

2. Adult Wipes

Adult body wipes, or adult wet wipes, are normally larger, stronger, and designed to prevent irritation. They can contain lotions or aloe and can be used for:

  • Adult diaper changes
  • Spills
  • Safe for sensitive or perineal skin

3. Wet Wipes

Yes, these wipes are similar to adult wipes, but they typically don’t contain moisturizing ingredients. Some uses include:

  • General cleanup
  • Not suitable for sensitive/perineal skin (unless otherwise noted)
  • Alternative to soap and water
  • Spills

At first glance, it may seem that baby wipes, adult wipes, and wet wipes are the same products but understanding the differences can help protect skin. One other characteristic of these wipes that must be considered is whether or not they are flushable or not. Flushable wet wipes are listed as “flushable,” but this has more to do with the fact that rules against flushing them don’t really exist. All three types of wipes are made from woven, synthetic fibers that don’t break down like toilet paper. This can play havoc on your plumbing or septic system. It’s better to be safe than sorry and dispose of your wipes in the trash. 

Where can you buy the best wipes for cleansing?

HPFY has been online since 2002. We carry a wide range of personal hygiene products such as adult wipes, baby wipes, and wet wipes. Explore our catalog today to find all that you need to stay healthy.



Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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