Why Baby Wipes Can Ruin Your Leather


And why they aren’t as safe as you think

Baby wipes – they’re great aren’t they! They clean your baby’s skin effectively and safely, and they smell good too. And lets not forget that they are convenient, I mean when your in a hurry they are really ideal to clean up a mess.

But why are they bad for my leather I hear you say? I mean if I can clean my baby with them – then surely they are safe to use on anything else right? Unfortunately its not right at all.

Baby wipes are pieces of material soaked in cleaning chemicals to keep them moist, and have been designed soley for skin and nothing else. There are detergents amongst a host of other things to enable cleaning quickly. They can also contain:

Cetearyl Alcohol
Benzyl Alcohol
Various acids
Sodium Hydroxide
Potassium Sorbate
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Citrate
Sodium Hydroxide

It is this combination, and more importantly the alcohol content that will cause the damage on leather items. You see alcohol is a sprit – a solvent if you like and this can damage a lot of things – and even though they are in small quantities, over time they can break down the lacquer finish that currently protects the leather pigment (the colour).

So by breaking this surface down your leather then becomes prone to attack from above. When your lacquer wears down, soil, sweat, food, drink, jean dye etc can all then enter the pigment and render it ruined – which will then need re-colouring and re-lacquering. If your lacquer is really worn down cleaning will not make any difference at this point – and can even make it worse, as you could remove the colour pigment (as you have no lacquer to protect it).

Always use specific leather cleaning agents – designed for the job in hand. Remember, cleaning kits purchased from a retailer when you purchased your leather – are soley designed to MAINTAIN the [clean] leather. This means that you should use them from new – and regularly, to keep light soil away.This way they always remain clean! They are not designed to clean deep down soils and contaminants that have built up over time.

So those safe, quick cleaning wipes that you may have relied on – could now cost you hundreds of Rands in repair bills.

Jose Lopes – Owner & Operator

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