InGreen Cleaning, Healthy Schools, Shopping Guides

How to Choose Safe Cleaning Wipes + 9 Brands to Avoid

It's coming up on back-to-school shopping time again and we'll all be gathering up our mile long lists of supplies. It can challenging to be a non-toxic ninja when it comes to surface cleaning wipes though, and now that they've firmly planted themselves on all supplies lists, we find ourselves with the task of locating safe options. Here we examine the most common cleaning wipes and point out which ones are natural, which ones are nonsense, and which ones are all-out toxic.

Most of the mainstream wipes have multiple ingredients we want to avoid, and at school they're used to clean desks and whatever you slather on there will definitely be touching some skin throughout the day. That means it's important to choose wipes with the best ingredients whenever possible. Luckily, we found a handful of great options!

Ingredients to Avoid in Cleaning Wipes

There are several ingredients to avoid when looking for surface wipes to send to school with your kids. Keep this list handy and you'll be able to tell which products to stay away from just by reading the label.

Natural or Nonsense: Surface Cleaning Wipes for Green Cleaning

Safest Cleaning Wipes

This roundup of all purpose wipes includes six brands that have created a cleaning wipe without any worrisome chemicals. Let us know in the comments if you've used any of these brands — we're very curious to know how they perform in real life.

Note: Dapple and Babyganics contain the preservative sodium benzoate. After reading through many different studies and professional opinions, we've come to the conclusion that it's safe enough to use in non-skincare products, although it's important to be watch for contact dermatitis or allergic reaction.

Aunt Fannie's
Greenshield Organic
Sun & Earth

Next Best Cleaning Wipes

We're giving the following cleaning wipes second place because they contain very small amounts of one or two ingredients have the potential to be problematic (and we're not talking about a personal care product that is meant to be used on the skin every day).

Cleaning Wipes to Avoid

  • Simple Green contains ethoxylated alcohol, isothiazolinone and unknown synthetic fragrance.
  • Greenworks contains fragrance, unnamed preservatives, methylisothiazolinone and octylisothiazolinone.
  • Melaleuca Tough & Tender contains fragrance for sure, but only lists a generic, undetermined amount of cleaning agents, solvents and preservatives (see EWG's score here)
  • JR Watkins contains fragrance and methylisothiazolinone.
  • Lysol and Clorox contain fragrance, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chlorides and myristalkonium saccharinate
  • Great Value and Up & Up contain fragrance, quaternium-24, dioctyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, didecyldimethyl ammonium chloride and alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride.
  • Pledge contains fragrance, hexoxyethanol, quaternium-15 and ethanolamine.

6 Safe Cleaning Wipes


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