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Wipe it Off – Don’t Take it Home

As firefighter post fire decontamination procedures continue to evolve, so too does the need for fit-for-purpose decontamination equipment. We’ve talked at length about the fact our firefighter decon wipes are scientifically proven to remove the most dangerous cancer forming toxins produced in fire – despite the scientific evidence propelling us to becoming the UK’s leading supplier of firefighter wipes and decontamination products, we’re continually faced with the same question:

Why can’t I decontaminate with baby wipes? 

In fact, a quick internet search yields similar queries from various firefighter forums:

  • “I don’t know what these are, but I’m guessing they’re repackaged wet wipes”
  • “They do nothing regular wet wipes don’t do”
  • “Does anyone even know how they compare to baby wipes as far as what they take off?”

One user commented that even though they use after fire decon wipes, it’s only because their “hands and face are dirty.”

The fact of the matter is this isn’t just about appearing to be clean – after fire decontamination wipes are engineered to eliminate the toxins you can’t see that are absorbing through skin. De-Wipe is scientifically formulated to draw out contaminants like a magnet, trapping these dangerous pollutants inside the wipe.

You’ve heard the phrase “shower within the hour” – as skin absorption rates dramatically increase with body temperature, getting this harmful soot off your skin as soon as possible is paramount. This rings true for grubby equipment and PPE too; wipe it off, don’t take it home or back to the fire station.


An after fire decontamination procedure looks like this:

  1. Wipe yourself first – skin, face, eyes, nose, ears, hands, arms; every part of the body exposed to fire must be decontaminated on-scene.
  2. Bag your kit.
  3. Wipe the rest of your equipment and kit, plus the cab, before returning to station.
  4. Thoroughly cleanse equipment once returned.
  5. Shower within an hour of leaving the scene.

Are baby wipes really the best decon wipes a firefighter should use to decontaminate?

Baby wipes and wet wipes are primarily composed of mild cleansing lotions that are tested for their sensitivity on delicate skin. In fact, these lotions are found in everyday skin care products. Are the cancerous hydrocarbons and chlorinated dioxins produced from burning plastic an everyday pollutant? We’d argue no; what is required is something specifically formulated to deal with these pollutants.

Our scientific study conducted with leading toxicology professors at Manchester Metropolitan University found that De-Wipe removes a significant 70% more pollutants than baby wipes. Of the most dangerous pollutants, De-Wipe was found to remove an average of 99% of the most harmful toxins with greater than 92% of the worst pollutant Benzo[a]pyrene being removed.

Baby wipes are composed of soft, non-woven cloth that is designed to feel gentle on the skin. Would something designed to be soft stand up to rigorous cleaning of firefighter equipment and PPE without breaking apart? Perhaps not. De-Wipe is engineered from tightly woven fabric that can’t easily be ripped or torn. Plus, firefighter wipes compared to baby wipes are much larger in size meaning less wipes are required to clean that stubborn soot that’s seeped into the EPDM on your facemask.

Finally, most baby wipes and wet wipes aren’t yet biodegradable. When using De-Wipe, you aren’t just choosing to be clean – you’re choosing green. De-Wipe is the UK’s only 100% biodegradable after fire decontamination wipe supporting UK Fire and Rescue Service’s nationwide to operate in an environmentally sustainable way.

By the way… watch this space. De-Wipe are currently testing some new solutions in our lab and will be announcing some new innovations to cover your entire after fire decontamination procedure very soon.

Join De-Wipe – the UK’s leading supplier of firefighter decontamination wipes – to be the first to know when the latest decontamination solutions are available.