Part one: What are wet wipes?–Definition/history and classification

There is a lot more to wipes than meets the eye. This series will be providing you with a guide into the world of wipes and provide answers to the questions you might be asking. Today we are going to have a peek at what wet wipes are, its history and its applications.

Wet wipes are a familiar sight today. You can find them perhaps on your kitchen counter or in purses of mothers with a baby or kid in tow. Even offices, commercial establishments, and industrial facilities include wet wipes in their list of cleaning supplies. The fact is, these pieces of disposable, moist cloth or paper have become somewhat of a necessity in our lives.

From delicate cleaning to tough scrubbing, there is a wide variety of wipes and towels for your cleaning needs.

So what exactly are wet wipes, and how did they evolve?

Wet wipes definition

Wet wipes, also known as wet towels, disinfecting wipes, or moist towelettes, are small, pre-moistened pieces of paper or fabric that often come folded and individually wrapped for convenience. They are mainly used for cleaning or disinfecting.

Wipes can be a paper, tissue or nonwoven; they are subjected to light rubbing or friction, in order to remove dirt or liquid from the surface. Consumers want wipes to absorb, retain or release dust or liquid on demand. One of the main benefits that wipe provide is convenience – using a wipe is quicker and easier than the alternative of dispensing a liquid and using another cloth/paper towel to clean or remove the liquid.

Most wipes are made of non-woven fabric similar to those used in dryer sheets. These are then saturated with a solution of water and gentle cleansing agents such as isopropyl alcohol. For that added scent, softness or moisturizing capability, the paper or cloth may also be treated with lotion and softeners. The finished product is then folded and placed inside packets, boxes or handy dispensers.

History of wet wipes

According to Wikipedia, There is a story about the invention of wipes going on that American Arthur Julius is seen as the inventor of the wet wipes. Julius worked in the cosmetics industry and adjusted 1957 a soap portion or machine, putting it in a loft in Manhattan. Julius trademarked the name Wet-Nap in 1958, a name for the product that is still being used. After fine-tuning his newfangled hand-cleaning aid together with a mechanic, he unveiled his invention at the 1960 National Restaurant Show in Chicago and in 1963 started selling Wet-Nap products to Colonel Sanders for use in his KFC restaurant.

The need for these handy, cleaning wipes started when people began travelling a lot. During these trips, they realized a necessity to clean up quickly and easily without stopping at a hotel or motel.

The first companies to take advantage of this new product were major brands such as Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble, who had the ability to purchase the costly specialized equipment needed for manufacturing wet wipes. But as technology progressed, producing these moist towelettes became more affordable, allowing smaller brands to venture into this business.

By the 1990s, a number of large supermarket chains began selling their own brand of wipes. Due to their lower prices, these store brands successfully lured consumers of other brands.

As the popularity of these scrubbing wipes increased, their use eventually shifted. What was once considered as primary hygienic tools for the body when on the road eventually became the number one means of cleaning babies instantly and conveniently.

Classification (types of wet wipes )-Based on applications

Wipes started at the bottom or more precisely, the baby’s bottom. Yet, during the past decade, the category has grown to include hard surface cleaning, makeup applications and removal, dusting and floor cleaning. In fact, applications other than baby care now account for about 50% of sales in the wipes category.

Wipes mainly cater to 3 categories:

1.Personal Care wipes

2.Household & home cleaning wipes

3.Industrial cleaning wipes

1.Personal Care wipes

• Baby wipes: 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.

• Cleaning pads: Cleansing pads are fibre sponges that have been previously soaked with water, alcohol and other active ingredients for a specific intended use. There are different types of cleansing pads offered by the beauty industry: makeup 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 a sterile package. Hands and instrument may be disinfected with these pads while treating wounds. Disinfecting cleaning pads are often included in first aid kits for this purpose.

  • Cosmetic Wet Wipes: Makeup Removal, Anti-Ageing Wipes, Anti-Acne Wipes, Nail Removal Wipes

• Personal hygiene: For instance: Feminine Wipes, Moist Toilet Tissue, Face Wipes, Hand Wipes, Body Wash Cloths. These are usually pre-moistened and come either individually packaged or in one larger container that can be resealed. These kinds of wipes can be useful when you’re doing outdoor activities, especially during warmer weather. The wipes can remove dirt and sweat before they settle into your pores. Some no-rinse wipes can even remove waterproof makeup.

• Pet care: 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.

2.Household & home cleaning wipes:

• Kitchen wipes

• Bathroom wipes

• Foodservice wipes

• Glass surface cleaning wipes

• Automotive care wipes

3.Industrial cleaning wipe

  • Degreasing / Machinery cleaning wipes
  • Car Wipes, Anti-bacterial Wipes, Dental Wipes, Detergent Wipes

When it comes to industrial applications, choosing the right wipe for the job can make an enormous difference in terms of performance, efficiency, and economy. Rags and laundered clothes were once the all-purpose solutions for wiping dirt and oils from equipment and hands. Convenient disposable wipes are now widely recognized as the preferred alternative.

Hope this provides you with a good introduction into wet wipes and the categories where you can expect to find them. Next up in the series, TOP 10 BABY WIPES TO CONSIDER.

Stay tuned!

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