Hear Me Out: I Tried a More Sustainable Alternative to Wet Wipes and These Are My Thoughts

Updated 08/16/19

My stories typically orbit around the categories of skincare, makeup, and haircare. One overarching theme we take seriously at Byrdie, and try to tackle within each of these categories, is sustainability. But committing to more sustainable practices in the bathroom doesn't just end with our grooming habits.

Something called "paper sprays" recently made their way into my life. From a new brand called Spruce, these sprays are a sustainable alternative to wet wipes (for those less familiar, the adult equivalent of baby wipes that those without bidets keep near their toilets). They're in a liquid format that—as their name suggests—gets sprayed onto toilet paper to "do the job." Talk about a product you never knew you needed.

Spruce paper sprays
Dacy Knight

I've heard some icky facts about wet wipes (like makeup wipes) in the past, learning they're often made with fragrance and chock-full of formaldehyde-releasing chemicals used as preservatives. Being a wet-wipe proponent, I always make sure to purchase wipes that are plant-based and made without harmful ingredients like parabens and phthalates.

That said, this doesn't tackle every issue. As the messaging on each Spruce bottle packaging points out, wet wipes pollute our oceans and clog our drains. So even if you find wipes that are made with clean ingredients, they're still not a truly zero-waste approach. "While there are some really good, biodegradable wipes out there, most bathroom wipes are woven with plastic and don’t break down the way toilet paper does," explains Spruce founder Max Kater. "And that’s the point. Paper Spray eliminates the need for an extra paper/plastic product."

Spruce sprays in bathroom
 Dacy Knight

Not only do the sprays tackle the waste issue, but they're also formulated with clean ingredients you can feel good about using (especially given their personal nature). Each spray is formulated with a list of natural and certified organic ingredients you might even recognize from your skincare lineup, like squalane, rosemary leaf extract, and cucumber seed extract. In fact, the sprays are "facial quality" and you can use them to spray the air after you do your business. They're scented, but naturally. "Spruce does double-duty as a “post bathroom” odor eliminator, which wet wipes don’t do!" notes Kater. "We’re the only product out there that does both." The current collection offers three scents: coconut, peach, and pineapple. Coconut is my favorite by a longshot—who doesn't want their trip to the restroom to involve the sweet scent of coconut oil evoking sun-kissed skin and a balmy summer beach day?

Spruce paper spray in coconut
 Dacy Knight

A couple more upsides to the paper sprays are that they're super easy for on-the-go use. Even though I keep wipes in my bathroom, I'm not so dedicated that I carry them wherever I go. The 3.5ml bottles the paper sprays are housed in make them not only easy to throw in your tote or purse, but also mean they're TSA-friendly so you can literally take one with you wherever you go. Making little changes in our consumption habits can make a big difference in the long run, especially collectively, and I'm a fan of this novel yet simple idea to cut back on daily waste (while also upgrading your toilet time).

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