A wet wipe, also known as a wet nap, wet towel, or a moist towelette, is a small moistened piece of paper or cloth that often comes folded and individually wrapped for convenience. Such towelettes are for cleansing or disinfecting.
Wet wipes are produced as air-laid paper where the fibres are carried and formed to the structure of paper by air. They are moistened with water or other liquids like isopropyl alcohol depending on the applications. The paper might be treated with softeners, lotions or added perfume to get the right properties or "feeling". The finished wet wipes are folded and put in pocket size package or a box dispenser.
Wet wipes can serve a number of household purposes. Although marketed primarily for wiping infants' backsides in diaper changing, it is not uncommon for consumers to also use the product to clean floors, toilet seats, and other surfaces around the home. Parents also use wet wipes, or as they are called for baby care, baby wipes, for wiping up baby vomit and use to clean babies' hands and face in feeding or general dirtiness.
Baby wipes are wet wipes used to cleanse the sensitive skin of infants. These are saturated with solutions anywhere from gentle cleansing ingredients to alcohol based 'cleaners'. Baby wipes are typically sold in plastic tubs that keep the cloths moist and allow for easy dispensing.
Wet wipes have become a standard part of diaper changing kits. They can be bought in packages of 80 or more, and come with dispensing mechanisms. The origin of baby wipes most likely came in the mid 1950's as more people were traveling and needed a way to clean up on the go. One of the first companies to produce these was a company called Nice-Pak. Nice-Pack made napkin sized paper cloth saturated with a scented skin cleanser.
The first real baby wipe products appeared on the market around in the mid 1970's, and were larger companies like Kimberly-Clark who produced Huggies and Procter & Gamble's Pampers. As the technology to produce wipes matured and became more affordable, smaller brands began to appear. By the 1990s, most super stores like Kmart and Wal-Mart had their own private label brand of wipes made by other manufacturers.
Cleansing pads are fiber sponges which have been previously soaked with water, alcohol and other active ingredients for a specific intended use. They are ready to use hygiene products and they are simple and convenient solutions to dispose of dirt or other undesirable elements.
There are different type of cleansing pads offered by the beauty industry: make-up removing pads, anti-spot treatments and anti-acne pads that usually contain salicylic acid, vitamins, menthol and other treatments).
Cleansing pads for preventing infection are usually saturated with alcohol and bundled in sterile package. Hands and instrument may be deinfected with these pads while treating wounds. Disinfecting cleansing pads are often included in first aid kits for this purpose. Since the outbreak of H1N1 sales of individual impregnated wet wipes and gels in sachets and flowpacks have dramatically increased in the UK following the Government's advice to keep hands and surfaces clean to prevent the spread of germs.
There are pain relief pads sopping with alcohol and benzocaine. These pads are good for treating minor scrapes, burns, and insect bites. They disinfect the injury and also ease pain and itching.
Wet wipes can also be bought in stores for private usage. In Southeast Asia, wet wipes are often sold out of refrigerators to give the wipes a refreshingly cool effect. Many adults use wet wipes in place of toilet paper.
They are often dispensed in restaurants, at service stations, along with airline meals, in doctors' offices, and other similar places. They are often included as part of a standard sealed cutlery package.
Wet wipes have also found a use among visitors to outdoor music festivals, particularly those who camp, as an alternative to the communal showers. The wet wipes are a preferable option to the communal facilities for which there are generally extremely long queues.
Today one can find even wet wipes for pet care, for example eye, ear, or dental cleansing pads (with boric acid, potassium chloride, zinc sulfate, sodium borate) for dogs, cats, horses, and birds.