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Bamboo vs. Cotton Wipes - What’s the Difference?


Updated August 2023

If you're considering using environmentally friendly reusable wipes instead of disposable wipes, the main choices that you'll have are bamboo terry or cotton terry. But it does raise the question 'Bamboo Terry vs. Cotton Terry Wipes - What’s the Difference?'

The difference between bamboo terry & cotton terry wipes is:

Shop White Cotton Terry Wipes

"Amazing product that we use daily! Ended up buying more so we have 50 wipes for our newborn. They’re soft and great at cleaning up all sorts with minimal effort. With a wash every day or two we have more than enough. I can see us using them for a long time and will easily make back the money spent by not having to buy disposable wipes" Product Review via Trustpilot

Are cotton or bamboo wipes better?

It's difficult to say whether cotton or bamboo wipes are better than one another as each are good for different things. Cotton Wipes are (slightly) better for poo and bum wiping as they are slightly rougher and have more 'traction'. Bamboo wipes are better for faces as they are slightly softer.

One of the best things about Cheeky Wipes is that they make cleaning your baby (after a poo, or their dinner) a faster job, because rather than just spread the mess around, they get it off in one go. We like to say 'just use one for a nice clean bum'!

Now don't get me wrong, bamboo is super for getting poo off. But, in my opinion, nothing quite matches the grip of cotton terry wipes on squidgy poo. (Excuse me if I'm being too graphic!) Cotton terry towelling are actually our workhorse wipes and they're the very first type of wipe we used at Cheeky Wipes HQ more than 18 years ago!

Natural Bamboo Wipe

"My cotton terry cheeky wipes are still going after 3 years but i needed some extras due to having twins, so thought I’d try these as being bamboo they are softer but can still be washed at 60 degrees (presumably due to the cotton content?) so they seemed ideal. I can’t speak about their longevity as it’s only been a couple of weeks but I prefer them over the cotton so far, as they’re soft but still grippy enough for dirty bums." Product Review via Trustpilot

Are bamboo wipes good for face?

Yes, bamboo wipes are good for hands, faces AND bums. Bamboo is incredibly soft. Feel it dry and it's really hard to avoid stroking it (like the top of a newborn baby's head....) Even when it's damp and ready for use, it retains some of that silky texture and still feels much softer than terry towelling.

That means it's great for wiping hands and faces on even the most sensitive skin which makes it great for using when your baby is weaning. You can simply pop a few into a wet bag to use as an on the go wet wipe when out and about too.

Bamboo wipes are also great for removing makeup instead of cotton pads.

Shop Rainbow Bamboo Wipes

"I absolutely love this product. I have them for my sons face for after meal times and for his little peach when we change him. It leaves his skin feeling lovely and soft. Better than spending a fortune on wipes every week." Product Review via Trustpilot

Are bamboo wipes antibacterial?

Yes, bamboo material is naturally antibacterial so that property is maintained within the wipes. Which will help keep them more hygienically clean but to be honest won't make much difference to your baby's skin.

Bamboo is also quick drying and super absorbent!

How do you clean bamboo wipes?

To clean bamboo wipes wash in your washing machine on a regular length wash with your normal washing detergent. Natural coloured bamboo wipes can be washed in the washing machine to 60c. Dark coloured bamboo wipes should be washed at maximum 40c.

Bamboo wipes should be line dried as it's better for the environment, although they can be tumble dried too.

Bamboo Wipes are better in hard water areas

Bamboo towelling wipes are less likely to become 'crusty' through limescale so if you live in a hard water area this is something to consider.

Shop Reusable Wipes Kit

"Not only is this product better for the environment than disposable wipes, I actually think it’s a better experience for you and your baby. In the newborn days I used the fresh wipes with plain water and it worked a treat, no faffing with cotton wool! The fresh and mucky wipe bags are easy to use on the go too. I’m also impressed that all of the stains come out when washing them (probably helped by soaking in the mucky box)" Product Review via Trustpilot

How do you clean cotton wipes?

To clean cotton wipes, wash with your regular detergent in your washing machine on a wash cycle which is at least an hour long. White cotton wipes can also be washed up to 60c which means they are GREAT for bums.

The Cheeky Wipes reusable cloth wipes kit contains essential oils which kick start the hygiene process and also a handy mesh bag. That helps to transfer your dirty wipes into the washing machine without touching them.

To wash reusable cotton wipes, loosen the drawstring on the mesh bag so that the wipes come out in the washing machine for a really good clean.

A downside of cotton wipes is that they can suffer from limescale build up and start to feel crusty. A capful of white vinegar in your wash will quickly solve this problem though.

Bamboo wipes are more expensive than cotton wipes

Choosing reusable wipes will save you money, no matter which type of wipe fabric that you choose. However in terms of price, bamboo wipes are slightly more expensive than cotton wipes which is something worth bearing in mind if you're on a budget.

Bamboo wipes are (probably) more ecofriendly than cotton wipes

On the basis that bamboo is a fast growing material which is easily replaceable, it's more ecofriendly than cotton.  However both materials require extensive processes which require a lot of water and / or chemicals in order to make them into material.  Organic cotton is probably equally as ecofriendly than bamboo, but it's a tricky one to call either way.

We hope you found this article useful and interesting.  If you did, you might also enjoy:




About the Author: Helen Rankin is founder of Cheeky Wipes, the original environmentally sustainable baby wipes kit, founded in 2008. Helen used cloth nappies herself and was delighted to launch Cheeky Nappies in 2020, which were designed and tested by more than 100 parents! Team Cheeky pride themselves on helping people make the switch to reusables EASY, with a range of eco friendly products including period pants and cloth sanitary pads. This was recognised in 2021 when Cheeky Wipes were awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise for sustainable development.

Alex Galvez
02 August 2023  |  14:54

I've got the bamboo grey wipes for bums, I was wondering if it is ok to wash them at 60°witj the nappies. Thanks

02 August 2023  |  15:04

We don't guarantee them colourfast at 60c, so it depends on whether you're washing with white nappies or colours as the colour may run?
Generally we say wash at 40 but use antibacterial laundry detergent or laundry sanitiser.