Behold! The Wet Wipe! (and more preaching than I set out to do)

All you germophobes can just mellow. Seriously, soap and water go a long way and do far less to trigger short-term mega-germ evolution. Before I learned to appreciate child labor (loving, family-centered child labor, that is), one of my major reasons for not having the kids clean (right after being too lazy to show them how) was because I figured all the toxic cleaning chemicals they inhaled and absorbed through their skin would make it all moot anyway. My deformed and/or non-existent grandchildren wouldn’t grow up to thank me for instilling such an admirable work ethic.

I once sat happily in the “What-I-don’t-know-isn’t-really-true-camp” about household toxicology, back in the olden-days when concerns over chemicals were the ravings of hippie lunatics (2004ish) and could be swiftly dismissed. Then I got sent a Canadian news program clip where a toxicologist went through a family’s house measuring parts-per-billion of various scary things in the air. The highlight of the piece was right after mama wiped down the high-chair with an anti-germ wipe and was about to put baby in. The toxicologist, standing by said chair, sent his eyebrows through the roof in alarm as chemical levels off the high chair rose over 20 times those safe for adult inhalation.

That’s not funny at all, and neither is this post thus far. But now you know why I decided to become an undercover hippie lunatic, and why I switched to Shaklee cleaners, which turned out to be cheaper anyway (although my aversion to network marketing is fierce, I’m a sucker for a friend’s pitch and it all worked out well in the end). It is so concentrated, when my son blows through a whole bottle of cleaner on one baseboard assignment, I don’t have to stomp and rant anymore, just another few drops of the good stuff in the bottle, then fill ‘er up at the sink.

So, I was happily ordering my kids about to wash windows and scrub floors and they were building so much character without compromising the family jewels and my admiring progeny, if you know what I mean. I was cleaning more myself, too, now I was left bereft of the chemical excuse. I really felt I’d arrived as a parent.

But, the towel situation stood between me and success. The rag drawer was always belching new and once-used wipers, and the post-bathroom cleaning rags are just yuck. Enter, the baby wipe!

Wipes are cheap, wipes are relatively sturdy. They have a little soap in there to get stuff just water can’t, they make great dusters, and they are easily handled by children for children-sized chores. They lend themselves well to instructions: “Use one wipe for the light switches, one for each windowsill, and one for the craft table.” They are effective way to have the boy deal with his own midnight aim problems in the bathroom, or for me to wipe fixtures down while baby is in the tub. Or, since I only mop if something has been spilled (daily, but not generally in the same place) or when the Queen is visiting, I can now just hand over a wipe and ask for a spot check.

Yes, it adds to the waste and the garbage situation, and yes, most baby wipes also have toxics in them (namely sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol–bad stuff). They are probably better used for my toilet cleaning than the baby’s hiney. But it is a better choice on the good, better, best spectrum. I guess that makes me a toxiphobe and maybe I should just mellow, also.

Regardless, hail the Wet Wipe!

PS: The MSDS data sheets of chemicals are what OSHA requires be on file if any chemical is in the workplace, and are great sources of real info about what is in cosmetics. The ones for both of the chemicals above say if you get skin contact, you should wash your skin immediately, and that hazmat suits and gloves may not be sufficient protection from the chemical. Ha HA! Now go check your shampoo and deodorant. Gotta love that FDA.

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