Date: 22 April
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ SAVES MONEY
From our guest writer Ann from Malta and England
Action 112: Reusable cloths are always better than disposables
Switch to Cloth Wipes
I’ve previously shared my love for cloth nappies; I must admit this is matched by my love for cloth wipes.
Wet wipes are just so convenient that they have become an integral part of daily life.
There are also so many different types available; baby wipes, hand wipes, kitchen wipes, wipes for your pet, intimate hygiene wipes, antibacterial wipes … the latter becoming so much more popular over this last year of course. The truth is, we can find a wipe for basically any situation where something needs to be cleaned. The result is a society that has come to rely on disposable wipes for our daily life.
So what about cloth wipes?
If you haven’t tried them, you absolutely should! Here are just a few reasons why.
Plastic, plastic and more plastic
Most wet wipes are, unfortunately, made of plastic. They do not degrade, so when they are flushed, they end up littering river and seabeds. This has been causing havoc with marine life across the globe. Even if the wipes say they are flushable, they are usually not! They end up as a major part of fatbergs (see below) or simply break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic, littering rivers and seas, and causing even more damage.
For those who haven’t heard of them, fatbergs are huge, disgusting mountains of wet wipes, fats and other waste that have been blocking sewers all around the world. They were first thought to be predominantly made of fat, hence the name, but further investigation by Water UK in 2017 revealed they were actually 90% made up of wet wipes.
Ridiculous, isn’t it? A lot of resources are being spent clearing waterways from these blockages that are completely avoidable.
(BTW … you can read our earlier article about fatbergs and drain discipline at this link … Ed)
Comfort and cleanliness
Cloth wipes are softer and feel so much nicer against the skin than wet wipes!
They come in so many different fabric bases too, so you can choose exactly which one you prefer against your skin. You can choose regular cotton terry (maybe you have an old towel you don’t use any more? Why not cut it up and use it as wipes?) or softer, smooth, absorbent bamboo. That’s not all though, they actually clean so much better too! Think about it, would you rather shower with a flannel, or a wet wipe? I use cloth wipes for my little boy’s hands, face and bum, and just love how well they clean without the need to scrub or use more than one.
Better for your (or your baby’s!) skin
When was the last time you looked at the label on a packet of wet wipes? I must admit, it took me a while before I made a habit of looking at labels, but now I just can’t stop. So many chemicals!
Without any of these nasty chemicals, cloth wipes are so much kinder to the skin. We mostly use ours with plain water, but sometimes add a drop of soap, if needed. This means you are in control of what is being absorbed by your skin, avoiding harsh and totally unnecessary chemicals.
The cost of disposable wet-wipes is an unnecessary addition to your household shopping bill!
Take action 112
There are debates being held on all levels about the way forward with regards to legislation around the world of wet-wipes an dother disposable plastic items. Until those decisions are made and restrictions imposed, we can all do our bit by avoiding wet wipes, or at least minimising our use by switching to reusable cloth as often as we can instead.