Pet wipes are essentially the "baby wipes" for those with fur babies instead of human babies. But that may lead some people to ask: are pet wipes and baby wipes the same thing?
Furthermore, what are the benefits of pet wipes compared to baby wipes? If they do the same job, are they essentially interchangeable?
Well, yes and no.
In reality, both pet wipes and baby wipes have distinct benefits and intended uses. They’re also distinct products from regular surface wipes and even hand wipes. In general, you won’t want to interchange any type of wipe for a different job.
Let’s break down the different benefits of pet wipes and baby wipes and examine the situations where you can blur the line a little bit and use them outside their intended purposes.
What Are Pet Wipes?
Naturally, since both types of wipes are named for their uses, they’re different. Pet wipes (or dog wipes, as they’re often called) are wipes specifically designed to be used for your furry friends, not for your human baby. Dog or pet wipes are disposable cleaning cloths you can use to:
- Clean your pet after spending some time outside
- Clean their paws so they don’t get your furniture dirty
- Clean behind their ears or other places where they may not be able to clean themselves
In general, pet wipes are made without alcohol and without artificial fragrances, plus several other compounds commonly found in surface wipes and baby wipes.
Instead, pet wipes may have additional antibacterial compounds that won’t cause an allergic reaction or cause any problems if your pet accidentally ingests some of the ingredients.
Furthermore, pet wipes often come in two types: grooming and antibacterial. Grooming pet wipes are designed to help you get your cat or dog’s fur in place or smooth down any rough patches. Antibacterial wipes are better for general cleaning and for soothing and irritated areas.
How Are They Different from Baby Wipes?
Pet wipes are mostly different from baby wipes because of ingredient differences. For instance, baby wipes may include:
- Essential oils
- Alcohol or isopropyl alcohol
All of these are mostly safe for use with babies because you can expect that your little one won't lick their own skin and ingest any of those compounds (at least, not to the same degree as a typical pet!).
Many baby wipes also include artificial fragrances that can soothe your baby or encourage them to stop squirming as you wipe them down with a cloth.
Basically, both types of wipes are designed for specific purposes: pet wipes are designed to clean or soothe your pet, while baby wipes are designed to clean or soothe a human infant.
You shouldn’t use baby wipes with your pets because pets are more likely to accidentally ingest unsafe ingredients since they will often lick themselves as a method of grooming.
Furthermore, some artificial compounds and fragrances can cause irritation if they are rubbed into your pet’s skin. This will undoubtedly have your pet scratching, licking, and pawing at their own fur in discomfort for at least a few hours.
Which Should You Use?
Ultimately, you should use both pet wipes and baby wipes for their intended purposes. However, there’s a little bit of cross-use you can take advantage of depending on the situation.
Benefits of Pet Wipes
Pet wipes, with their gentler formulas and focus on removing dirt, are excellent if you need to clean dirt or oil off of your infant. These wipes can also be a great choice if your infant has an allergic reaction to regular baby wipes, or if you can’t find any unscented wipes to use.
Furthermore, pet wipes can be useful for getting rid of certain types of bugs or vermin depending on the brand. It all depends on the ingredients used and what essential oils are included in the composition.
Since pet wipes won’t have any allergic compounds or dangerous chemicals, you can feel free to use pet wipes to clean your baby in an emergency cleanup scenario.
However, it’ll never be quite as good as a dedicated baby wipe, in part because it won’t have any moisturizers, so we really don’t recommend doing this unless you’re really in a pinch.
Benefits of Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are stronger than pet wipes. While you should normally only use pet wipes for your pets, you can occasionally use baby wipes for getting rid of particularly bad dirt or grease stains on their fur. But you want to be careful to only use baby wipes in places where they won’t be able to twist around and look up any of the compounds.
For instance, if your dog gets a bunch of dirt behind their ears, it’s probably okay to use a baby wipe to clean only the fur and skin behind their ears. Just be sure not to push any of the wipe into their ear canal.
Are Pet Wipes More Versatile?
In general, yes. That’s just because pet wipes aren’t as strong as baby wipes. This being said, you shouldn't try to use pet wipes or baby wipes as full-on disinfecting wipes. That's because disinfecting wipes are made with high concentrations of isopropyl alcohol and other heavily antibacterial essential oils.
Basically, pet wipes and baby wipes are more designed for comfort and cleaning than they are for full-on disinfecting or sterilizing. This doesn’t mean that they can’t clean a surface in a pinch, or if you don’t have any other supplies on you at the time. But they’re certainly not dedicated replacements – don’t try to use any type of wipe for all three needs.
Can You Use Surface Wipes for Pets and Babies?
That’s because surface wipes are designed with a lot more alcohol than either of the other two wipe varieties. As a result, using a high alcohol wipe on your pet or baby is more likely to dry out their skin and cause severe irritation than it is to do anything else. While you’ll technically sterilize their skin or fur, there are better ways to do so: namely, soap and water.
Castile soap is an especially universally friendly soap you can use for both your babies!
Are There Ingredients to Avoid in Pet and Baby Wipes?
Like with surface wipes, try to avoid toxic chemicals and synthetic ingredients as much as possible. Avoid things like parabens, sulfates, and other potentially harmful substances in any pet or baby wipes you purchase.
Instead, target wipes that are made with essential oils and other organic ingredients. Organic care and cleaning essentials can do just as good a job of cleaning your pet or baby and soothing their skin, and they often come with pleasant fragrances that can create a calming aura for both you and your little one or furry friend.
Pet wipes and baby wipes are both useful tools, and responsible adults who have at least one of both should include dedicated wipes for both members of the family.
This might seem a little over-the-top when the wipes are ostensibly designed to do the same thing, but the devil is always in the details; you don’t want to accidentally irritate the skin of your baby or your pet by using the wrong wipe.
Take it from us – choose the wipe that’s right for the job, and you’ll see better results and a happier baby, be it human or pet, every time!