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How are Wet Wipes Manufactured?

History and Uses of the Modern Wet Wipe

Arthur Julius, an American, is credited with inventing wet wipes. Julius worked in the cosmetics sector, and in 1957, he re-engineered a soap portioning machine and installed it in a Manhattan loft. Julius registered the name Wet-Nap as a trademark in 1958, and it is being used today. After working with a mechanic to fine-tune his innovative hand-cleaning device, he debuted it at Chicago’s 1960 National Restaurant Show. He began selling Wet-Nap products to Colonel Harland Sanders in 1963 for distribution to Kentucky Fried Chicken consumers. Wet wipes can be used for a variety of personal and household needs. Although the product is primarily intended for wiping newborns’ bottoms during diaper changes, it is not uncommon for people to use it to clean floors, toilet seats, and other household surfaces. Wet wipes, often known as baby wipes, are also used by parents to clean their newborns’ hands and faces after vomiting. According to Statista, in 2020, over 16.3 million Americans used wet wipes an average of 31 times each week! Industrial-strength cleaning wipes are pre-impregnated with a powerful cleaning fluid that cuts through filth while the high-performance fabric absorbs the residue. As a result, Grime, grease, oil- and water-based paints and varnishes, adhesives, silicone and acrylic sealants, polyfoam, epoxy, oil, tar, and other pollutants may all be removed with industrial wipes from hands, tools, and most surfaces.

From Initial Design Through to Consumer Usage

Design – Where it Starts

Design is the first step in any manufacturing endeavor. In order to meet consumer expectations, wet wipes must have specified features. As a result, the fabric should be strong enough to endure intensive cleaning operations while yet being disposable. Because the wipes are saturated with a cleansing solution, the cloth must be absorbent.

Materials Used

Ninety percent of wet wipes on the market are made of polyester or polypropylene nonwoven materials. The material is moistened with water or other liquids (e.g., isopropyl alcohol) depending on the application. To modify the tactile and olfactory qualities of the material, it can be treated with softeners, lotions, or fragrances. Preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone are utilized to prevent bacterial or fungal growth in the package. When finished, wet wipes are folded and placed in a sealed packet or a plastic canister.

The Manufacturing Process

At the onset of the manufacturing process, rolls of nonwoven fibers are mechanically unwound through a specialty liquid formula that includes water and other proprietary chemicals. As the wetted material moves down the production line, it then goes into a cutting device that precisely slices it into the correct lengths (dictated by the particular size being produced). Immediately after this step, the freshly wetted and cut material is firmly pressed down into precisely numbered stacks, ready to be packaged and sealed for use in canisters or flat packets. The wipes are then mechanically sealed into packages made of a multi-layer film/plastic that if designed properly, prevents oxygen from getting through and dehydrating the wipes. After the nonwoven cloth has been fabricated and packaged, the finished wipes are stacked, packed, and palletized, ready for distribution to distributors and consumers. Savvy brand passionate manufacturers use additional stringent quality control measures such as error spotting robotic cameras and metal detection devices that scan the wipes and packaging as they are being manufactured and immediately reject those with errors and foreign contamination.

Crocodile Cloth

If you’ve used ordinary disposable cleaning wipes, you know the frustration. They’re small, so you need a bunch for a big job. They are not absorbent, so you end up pushing the mess around instead of cleaning it up. They dry out quickly (especially if you forget to close the package). And they’re just not tough enough for sticky, oily, greasy jobs. Crocodile Cloth® is a highly respected manufacturer of extra heavy-duty consumer and industrial-grade wipes. Contact Crocodile Cloth to learn more about our product range, including our private label solutions.