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Best Wet Wipes for Survival Hygiene

The Best Wet Wipes

Wet wipes, of all things, have come a long way over the last few decades. While any plumber worth their salt will tell you flushable wipes aren't great to flush- there are many uses beyond your behind for wet wipes. Finding the best wet wipes for survival isn't a cakewalk with all of the brands and types available.

This is where we come in. We've researched the best wet wipes for survival, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, an EDC option, and a water-only option. If you need some wipes for hygiene on the go, one of our picks will keep you clean.

The Wet Wipes We Compared

Combat Wipes have several types of wipes they offer: Commando, Gaia, and Active. Commando has a unique heavy-duty black nonwoven, but we found the Active wipes to be the best all-around as they still have a thick nonwoven material.

Here is everything you get with this pack of wipes:

  • 25 wipes
  • 100% textured viscose nonwoven with purified water and aloe
  • 7.1″ x 8.3″
  • 6.0 ounces

With thick quality paired with good value and versatility, it's easy to see why Combat Wipes tops the rest.

Defense Body Wipes are large and individually packaged making them ideal for kits of any kind. Having individually packaged wipes lets you not worry about sealing containers or water escaping wipe containers to soil the rest of your bag.

The size is great, with a massive 30″ x 9″ nonwoven material that'll let you quickly wipe down pretty much anything.

Here is how these wipes measure up:

  • 30 individually wrapped wipes
  • 100% textured viscose nonwoven with distilled water, tea tree & eucalyptus oil
  • 30.7″ x 9″
  • 0.4 ounces (each)

If you are looking for individual wipes for everyday carry or survival kits, the Defense Individually Wrapped Body Wipes are the best option.

Sometimes you want just the basics without anything added. WaterWipes serve this up best with their relatively large wipes that are almost completely water. This is ideal for wiping down equipment, gear, or people with skin sensitivities.

Here are the specs:

  • 16 wipes
  • 100% textured viscose nonwoven with 99.9% purified water (fruit extract preservation)
  • 7.8″ x 11.8″
  • 8.2 ounces

With simple ingredients paired with a robust wipe, WaterWipes XL Bathing Wipes are a versatile choice anyone can take advantage of.

What to Look For

Our research narrowed the field down to a few brands and types of wet wipes that we compared: Cottonelle, Dude Wipes, WaterWipes, Combat Wipes, Wet Ones, Pura, Defense, Charmin, Johnson's, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of wet wipes and moist towelettes with different cleaning agents, lotions, etc. Chemical-laden caustic solutions were ruled out relatively quickly due to versatility. Alcohol wipes certainly can have their place but are not great for repeated use on your gear or your skin.

We're always looking for new and better gear, so if you have some towelettes that work well, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The best wet wipes have a few features to look for:

  • Value
  • Quality
  • Packaging
  • Size & Weight
  • Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find the perfect towelettes to help you stay clean on the go. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the wipes that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like moist towelettes shouldn't blow out your entire budget. There is a wide range of prices in our picks, so there is no need to spend beyond your means. You can also find some for free at medical clinics, restaurants, and other establishments that offer them to customers and patients. Grab a few extra for your survival kits while you are there.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, even when it comes to hygiene. It's better to diversify your spending to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.


The quality of a wet wipe is based on several factors ranging from nonwoven weight to the cleaning and preserving agents.

Getting tears in the nonwoven material, or having it deteriorate with use is not ideal. Nonwovens are not as structurally sound as woven fabrics but hold liquid well with titration.


Packing is a crucial part of wet wipes to contain the ‘wet'. We've experienced leaking wet wipes or opened them to find them all dried out- neither of which are ideal when you need them for something important.

Besides sticking with trusted brands, looking at the packaging quality can give you a hint at how well it will hold up with regular use or abuse. Individually wrapped wet wipes work exceptionally well, and even if you stash them in large quantities it doesn't add much more additional space or weight.

Size & Weight

Water is always a concern for mobile survival kits like bug out bags due to its weight. Although wet wipes are mostly water, they still don't weigh very much or take up much space.

You still don't want to overload any mobile kits with them, but the shelf life will let you stash some in your prepper pantry. You can expect to stash about half a pound of wet wipes in a mobile kit to address hygiene for a few weeks. The number of wipes varies based on the wipe size but is proportionate to how many you'll need to use.


Many wet wipes have more uses than just wiping yourself down. Wet wipes are often included in decontamination kits for gear and equipment, not just people. Wet wipes are used to clean gas masks and other worn gear quickly and easily.

High lotion content isn't ideal for those versatile uses, which is why we often go with our water-only pick in our own kits.

What is Wet Wipes Shelf Life

All wet wipes are generally made up of the same main ingredients: a non-woven cloth and at least 90% water. Turns out, this presents a breeding ground for bacteria and other microbial growth.

Most wet wipes last 2-3 years on the shelf when stored unopened in cool dark places. Being open, heat, and sunlight can all shorten this shelf life quickly.

Preservative additives help manufacturers achieve this, which is also why alcohol-based wet wipes are so common. The major downside to alcohol wipes is that they can be irritating to the skin, damaging to equipment, and are just generally less versatile.

Preserving wet wipes is a problem that moist towelette manufacturers have been trying to tackle for a long time now that alcohol wipes are less common and water wipes, aloe wipes, and others are much more popular for staying clean.

Who Needs Wet Wipes?

Almost everyone can use wet wipes. While they are useful in a wide variety of situations, we only consider them essential for one type of niche survival kit:

  • Nuclear Survival Kit

Towelettes are great at removing particle contaminants but are also convenient enough to consider adding to your:

    Title: Best Wet Wipes for Survival Hygiene
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    Published Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2023 13:12:18 +0000

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