Don’t Keep Wipes in Your Car

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Photo: ND700, Shutterstock
Photo: ND700, Shutterstock

As a suburban mum, my car is my home base. (Or it was in pre-pandemic times, anyway.) If there was a tiny chance I might need something someday while I was out and about, it lived in the car. Sunscreen? Check. Diapers? A whole case, in the trunk. Wipes? Probably a couple packages. There’s a problem with that last one, though.

Yes, you can have wipes in your car, but don’t count on storing them there long-term. Whether they’re baby wipes, facial wipes or “flushable” butt wipes (which absolutely should not be flushed), the temperature extremes of a car’s interior don’t make for a suitable storage spot. Leave them there and eventually your wipes will either dry out or get really gross.

I’ve seen the former possibility happen with my own car stash of wipes. An abandoned pack of wipes will likely be too dry to be useful after a few months in the trunk.

But there’s more. The FDA, in a consumer fact sheet, points out that wipes left in a hot car all summer may end up growing bacteria or mould, as heat can break down the preservatives in the wipes. (Yep, wipes have preservatives, otherwise they would be moldy all the time.)

As your wipes bake in the heat, a lack of preservatives combines with a warm, wet environment can result in bacterial or mould growth in the wipes. Since you’re probably using said wipes to get germs off your hands (or your kid’s butt), this is counterproductive.

So what should you do? I wouldn’t sweat the occasional afternoon in a car, but try to keep your wipes out of there as much as possible. Keep them in the diaper bag, for example, and take the bag out of the car when you can. That way the wipes will be fresh and clean when you need them.

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