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There are a few different kinds of wipes we can purchase...
- Cleansing towelette - These tend to have some tiny bit of surfactant in them and might have an alcohol or lotion base. Some are made with gels and then the towelettes are soaked in said gel. If you have something that needs to be wetted, they are made with surfactants that are intended to be washed off your skin. Other towelettes are cleansing without being foamy.
- Moisturizing towelette - These tend to be impregnated with lotion. The lotion needs to be quite solid at room temperature and requires our body temperature to melt as we don't want to pull out a gooey cloth from a container.
- Make-up remover towelette - These can be cleansing or moisturizing towelettes, depending upon the company.
- Baby wipes - These tend to be very watery and contain some cleansing ingredients, mostly surfactants, and although there may be some moisturizing ingredients in there, they might be water soluble moisturizers like polyquats or water soluble oils. These don't tend to be lotion based.
Consult the preservatives table for a water soluble, broad spectrum preservative if you don't have one in mind already. Suttocide A and liquid Germall Plus are noted as being good for wipes, as are Optiphen Plus and Optiphen MIT, Rokonsol ND, PP-2, and LJ. Click here for the section of the blog on preservatives.
Click here to read more about the impact of packaging on contamination of our products.
Microfiber is one of these materials. (The fabric used in commercial products is called spunlace, but I have no idea where to get it!) This is important because we don't want the preservatives to adsorb to the fabric and reduce their efficacy. (Adsorption means the molecules accumulate on the surface of the material instead of penetrating, which would be absorption.) You can get this stuff at your local clothing fabric store in the form of sports jersey material or even by the metre. It's the same stuff we use to clean our glasses and so on. Try to get a very thin version of this, and preferably a white or light colour as you'll want to bleach these between uses.
Okay, now that we've covered the possible problems we might face in making such a product, we can move on to a few recipes. Join me tomorrow for those!