Gone are those days when wet wipes were only considered as a wet towel for personal care or to cleanse the sensitive skin of infants. These days, there are various kinds of wet wipes available on the commercial market, with disinfecting or antibacterial properties and cater to different types of industries including beauty, healthcare, hospitality, etc. These wipes are also used for industrial cleaning purposes and are even considered a better option when compared to textile or microfiber cloth for cleaning.
Tine Dillen is the General Office Manager of Wet-Nap Europe – a 20-year old company offering wet wipes with a network of distributors and partners throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The brand provides solutions to a number of industries like F&B, beauty and wellness, retail, healthcare and personal care (including sunscreen and insect repellent wipes) and exports to over 30 countries worldwide. Dillen says, “Wet wipes are disposable, lower in cost and more hygienic, as they are infused with consistent formula, when compared to reusable, high cost woven material. These wipes are very effective as a cleaning and hygiene product for F&B industries. For medical industries they can be used for hand and body sanitizing as well as for cleaning purposes to avoid cross-contamination. Our medical wet wipes are used in all the government-owned hospitals in Singapore.”
“The basic ingredient of these wet wipes is wood pulp fibre. We source our raw material from plantation forests, many with FSC certifications. As these wet wipes are not reusable, unlike other cleaning materials like textile or microfiber cloth, most of our wet wipe material is combustible and degradable. Furthermore, biodegradable wrapper is also on the rise,” adds Dillen. These wet wipes used for quick and convenient cleaning may cause some concerns if the disinfectant or the antibacterial component leaves any residue causing skin irritations or allergies. Also, if the appropriate dwell time is not being considered then it might not serve its disinfecting purpose. “Commonly, we use Chlorhexidine Gluconate (CHG) as antibacterial and cleaning agent, which is very safe, even for consumption in small quantities; even mouth rinse manufacturers use the same formula. Once the product comes in contact with the skin, the antimicrobial properties give protection up to six hours,” explains Dillen. Lastly, the shelf life or insufficient quantity of disinfectant in a wet wipe also raises some questions on the durability of the product. According to Dillen the shelf life is determined by the formula, giving normal cleansing wet wipes a shelf life of up to 24 months.
Despite the pros and cons, one cannot ignore the convenience of wet wipes in the industrial and commercial settings where the time involved in dosing and diluting chemicals and then application of the chemicals is cut down. Moreover, the impregnated wipes seem to do as effective, if not better, a job as regular cloth and chemical practices. Definitely a trend to follow.