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How to use disposable wipes safely

July 1, 2021

Busy parents know that disposable wipes can make cleaning tasks easy. However, before wiping your child’s hands or face or a surface in your home, check the label and choose the right wipe for the job.

  • Cosmetic wipes and baby wipes are for cleaning skin and removing makeup.
  • Disinfecting and sanitizing wipes kill germs on surfaces at home, school or child care settings.
  • Medicated wipes help prevent acne or other skin conditions.

Cosmetic wipes often are labeled as scented, unscented or fragrance-free. The labels of scented products either list the fragrance ingredients or simply say “fragrance.” Wipes labeled as “unscented” do not have a noticeable scent but may contain ingredients that hide the scent of other ingredients. Wipes labeled as “fragrance-free” do not have fragrance added. However, the product’s ingredients may have a scent.

It is important to check the list of ingredients before using wipes if your child has allergies or sensitive skin.

Following are tips on using disposable wipes from the Food and Drug Administration and National Poison Prevention Center:

  • Use cosmetic wipes only on unbroken skin and for their intended use. Follow instructions on the label.
  • Check the label of disinfecting and sanitizing wipes to make sure they can be used on surfaces used to prepare food.
  • Wipes for disinfecting or cleaning surfaces should not be used on skin. If you accidentally use cleaning wipes on your child, wash the area with soap and water right away.
  • Close containers tightly to keep wipes from drying out. Do not expose them to extreme temperatures. This can cause the ingredients to change or germs to grow.
  • Throw out used wipes right away and keep containers away from children. If a child puts a wipe in his or her mouth or swallows the liquid at the bottom of the container, rinse the child’s mouth out with water and then have the child take small sips of water.

For questions, call the poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222 or visit

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