Baby wipes are a spectacular cleaning aid, little wonder they are very popular amongst nursing mothers. They allow us to quickly clean our babies if they dirty themselves, spill anything or when they soil themselves. Baby wipes provide a wet antibacterial medium for easy and sanitary cleaning of dirt and are usually very useful for mothers on the go. As a result of this, most nursing mothers usually like to stock up on baby wipes and diapers alike.
Stocking up on wipes is good for so many reasons. Asides saving you the cost of individual purchase, it also saves you the time, energy and even gas that would be wasted making frequent trips to the store to make purchases. However, one significant problem that comes with buying wipes in bulk is expiration. The wipes must be durable enough to last till you are ready to use them, and that begs the question, do baby wipes expire?
How long do baby wipes last before they expire?
There is no straight forward answer to this question. Some wipes have an expiry date on them, some have a best before date beyond which the safety of such wipes is not guaranteed, other wipes do not have an expiry date, but manufacturers suggest a validity period of 2-3 years. Generally, the lifespan of baby wipes depends on the type of baby wipe in question.
Baby wipes, as we know, contain water which makes them wipe off dirt effectively, but stationary water facilitates the growth of molds and creates a favorable environment for bacteria and other pathogens. One then begins to wonder how baby wipes last for so long when they contain water. This is because preservatives are included in the baby wipes to hamper the growth of microorganisms, thereby prolonging the lifespan of the wipes.
Based on this, there are two types of wipes, those that use natural preservatives such as grape seed extract, and those that use chemical preservatives such as bronopol, isothiazolinones, parabens, and so on. The ones that use chemicals last longer because the chemicals used are strong, but they may be too harsh on the skin of your baby. Those that use natural preservatives on the hand have a comparatively shorter life span, but their safety is guaranteed.
What happens to wipes stored for prolonged periods?
Since baby wipes do not expire and the ones that do have a minimum lifespan of two to three years, it is very likely that we will get to use them before that time elapses. However, some changes could occur in baby wipes as a result of prolonged storage, which can affect their usability, and we must be aware of these changes before we decide to stock up on baby wipes. These changes include
- Growing molds and bacteria: As stated earlier, baby wipes have preservatives that prevent molds and bacteria from growing on them. Molds and bacteria start growing on wipes when these preservatives lose their potency, and they can be identified as black to grayish spots that appear on the wipes. Wipes on which molds are seen should be discarded immediately as they are dangerous and should not be inhaled and most definitely not be used to wipe our babies.
- Drying out: As most wipes predominantly contain water, the water is susceptible to evaporation, leaving the wipes dry. This makes them lose their cleaning potential significantly. This can be slowed down by protecting the wipes from sunlight and excessive heat, but it is somewhat inevitable in the long run. Instead, we should make sure we buy wipes with the most recent manufacturing dates to minimize the period for which we store them before use.
- Cleaning efficiency: After a long time, baby wipes tend to lose their cleaning efficiency. This is because most of the active ingredients tend to interact with constituents of atmospheric air and are converted to some other inactive product.
How to preserve baby diapers for prolonged periods
Even though baby wipes do not expire, a lot of changes could occur in them that will make them lose their cleaning efficiency and even make them dangerous to you and your baby. However, some precautions could be taken to prevent or significantly slow these changes and prevent waste of money. They are
- Storage: The way we store wipes goes a long way in determining their lifespan. Wipes should be stored in a cool and dry place and protected from sunlight at all costs, as this helps them to retain their coolness and moisture. Also, wipes that are in use should not be left open, and they should be tightly sealed after each use to minimize evaporation.
- Purchase wipes with recent manufacturing date: Endeavour to purchase wipes with recent manufacturing dates. This allows you to be able to store them for long periods before they are needed.
Check out our article on baby wipe warmers as well.
FAQs on Baby Wipes
Can baby wipes be used on newborns?
Of course, baby wipes can be used on newborns. Most baby wipes were manufactured with consideration for the tender and sensitive skin of babies. However, one should still be careful and observe if the baby develops any rash or redness as a result of the wipes, and the use of the wipes should be discontinued. Cotton balls dipped in warm water can be used as an alternative.
Can I still use dried out baby wipes for my baby?
Fortunately, wipers drying out doesn’t render them void. The wipes can still be made useful by wetting them with distilled water before use. However, you should note that there is the possibility of introducing bacteria to the wipes via the water if it is not very pure. You should also ensure you use the wipe immediately after wetting it to prevent the risk of molds and bacteria growing.
Do baby wipes kill germs?
Baby wipes contain antimicrobial agents that are fairly effective. Though alcohol-based disinfectants are the most effective, they irritate the skin of babies, and therefore skin-friendly antimicrobial agents like triclosan are used.
Buying baby wipes in bulk is a good way to save money. It even gets better when one considers the fact that wipes do not expire. It is, however, pertinent to be aware of the various changes that could occur to the wipes due to prolonged storage and how to mitigate them. We should also endeavor not to stock up on too many wipes as this could lead to a waste of money when the wipes lose their effectiveness. In conclusion, it is a good practice, but moderation should be applied as well.