James Van Der Beek calls baby wipes a scam, says you just need water

James Van Der Beek has five kids. I follow him on Instagram and his family is so photogenic and cute. James’ second wife of eight years, Kimberly Brook, had her last baby at home this summer. They are all two years apart! They have daughter Gwendolyn, who turns seven months soon, daughters Emilia and Annabel, two and four, son Joshua, six and daughter Olivia, eight. If I had that many kids I would be looking for every shortcut I could take. James says they don’t use babywipes though because they’re a scam.

James Van Der Beek chatted with Missi Pyle and AJ Gibson on the red carpet ahead of the 2019 Golden Globes on Sunday, where Pyle admitted she had consulted Van Der Beek for parenting advice after adopting a baby.

“You told me, ‘Don’t bother with baby wipes,’ ” said Pyle.

“Yes. Yeah, it’s a scam,” confirmed Van Der Beek, 41. “You don’t need medicated baby wipes. Just water.”

[From People]

If personal hygiene wipes didn’t clog my plumbing I would use them. It’s just that the couple of times I’ve tried I’ve had to call a rotorooter guy. (Even with the “flushable” wipes. You can flush them but they will build up somewhere.) I get not wanting to use all those chemicals and perfumes on your baby, but there are unscented and natural wipes. I know that they’re bad for the environment, as are disposable diapers. (I think they use eco diapers.) I’m not sure how I would be able to cope with cloth diapers and just using water and washcloths unless I had a service though. Especially with that many little kids! It’s hard enough to raise and care for a baby as it is. It just seems like you’re making extra work cleaning up.

76th Golden Globe Awards Arrivals

InStyle Warner Bros Golden Globe After Party

Photos credit: WENN and via Instagram

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

68 Responses to “James Van Der Beek calls baby wipes a scam, says you just need water”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Muffy says:

    You don’t *need* them, just like you dont need ziploc bags or automatic coffee makers.

    It just makes life a hell of a lot easier.

    • jan90067 says:

      Yeah, no. “Just water” is not going to clean the bacteria off from a poop, and man, can little kids poop! “Just water” isn’t going to wash it off when it’s all the way up his little back (we’ve alllll been there!). Don’t want to use a wipe, use a washcloth, some water AND some gentle baby soap. But “just water” isn’t gonna do it right!

      Oh man.. I wonder if he’s one of those guys who uses “just water” after using the bathroom himself! *shudder*

      • Kerfuffle says:

        Wipes don’t exactly clean bacteria either.

      • Lua says:

        My pediatrician actually told us not to use wipes unless it’s for a poopy diaper. My kids never had diaper rash. Urine is sterile. I actually had to go to a specialist for fissures that would not stop and the root cause was … baby wipes! I was using sensitive baby wipes because I assumed they were better for my skin that the adult wipes and my proctologist told me post op that wipes are absolutely terrible for your skin. There’s a reason water wipes are a thing now ..

      • Muffy says:

        There are plenty of wipes that are just water. Even the chemical ones aren’t going to kill bacteria, just make the area easier to clean/look clean. They’re not soap, really, because that’s too drying on baby skin.

      • kim says:

        if it’s THAT bad then just give the kid a bath. lmao


    • Joanna mitchell says:

      I only use wipes when we are outside of the house for diaper changes on the go.

      Otherwise at home we wash their buns with some water and tiny bit of soap if needed. The youngest is almost 2 and has never had a diaper rash. The oldest only had one by the time he was potty trained and only because I switched diaper brands for a few days before realizing they were causing the rash.

      Tiny bit of cornstarch when they are super tiny and have wet diapers all the time.

      Otherwise a quick wash in a tub/ sink is sooo much easier than dealing with gross poopy wipes!!

    • Nana says:

      Makes life easier for 2 minutes for humans, the cost being long-term damage to drains/sewerage systems/the environment, the UK Fatberg story this week being a case in point: https://www.npr.org/2019/01/08/683359201/massive-fatberg-found-blocking-sewer-in-british-seaside-town

      A quick Google for “baby wipes environment” comes up with info on the effects of using single use/disposable products like these, for eg, from: https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/You-and-Your-Home/Live-sustainably/Single-use-items/Wet-wipes

      “The use of wet wipes has become more popular, with a range of styles available including eye make-up removers, baby wipes and ‘toilet’ wipes. But incorrect labelling and marketing of wet wipes as ‘flushable’ has resulted in serious plumbing issues by contributing to ‘fatbergs’ – congealed lumps of fat, sanitary items, wet wipes and so on. Wet wipes don’t disintegrate like toilet paper when flushed. They typically contain plastic so, once they reach the sea, they last for a long time, causing havoc with marine life.”

  2. Tiffany says:

    There is over a decade between me and my sister and my Mother was planning to go the cloth diaper route with her.

    She lasted exactly 5 days before going to bio disposal.

    While not a parent but survived a week of soiled clothing, I feel Dawson on this one.

    • Millennial says:

      I feel like the cloth diaper movement has its heart in the right place, but it just gives moms another thing to a) feel guilty about and/or b) martyr themselves over. I know as a new mom I do not have the extra time in my day for another load of laundry. Others do, and good for them.

      • Tiffany says:

        You know what’s funny Millennial, my mother was in no position to even think about this as an option ( working mother and the babysitter was in no way going to keep up with that). I mean, I still laugh and this was almost 30 years ago.

      • jan90067 says:

        Uhggggg! I remember having cloth diapers for my little sister (we’re 8 1/2 yrs apart), and having to “dump and rinse” them before putting them in the “smelly” hamper, gathering them for the service, throwing them in the washer with Dreft in-between if she used too many … Nope! Nope! Nope!

        Bio-degradables are the only way to go!

      • SamC says:

        OMG yes to memories of the cloth diapers. I’m the oldest of 4, and we’re all 5 years apart My mother used cloth for all of them so it was over a decade for me. I remember the “dumping,” the smell of the diaper pail, endlessly folding them (too cheap to use a service) etc. Was so jealous of the kids I babysat whose parents used disposable.

      • Kerfuffle says:

        “Has its heart in the right place”

        Let’s get real for a moment. Very few diapers, even the eco-friendly ones, are biodegradable. “Eco friendly” diapers simply use more environmentally friendly materials, anything that is biodegradable will specifically say so. We produce a HUGE amount of waste with disposable diapers. And while cloth diapers are more work, they make a significant impact, and frankly are worth it. But right now moms want to hear that it’s not a big deal if they feel like it doesn’t need to be.

      • Swack says:

        Everyone must do what they feel is best. I used cloth with all three of mine. Two of my 3 children used disposable and the main reason was no time to do the extra laundry. My ex was part of it and he would do the diapers (probably 50% of the time) because our washer and dryer was two stories down. I was lucky that my babysitter didn’t mind the cloth diapers as long as there was no diarrhea (which depending how bad it was I also used disposables at that point). I also used wash cloths for some of the wiping – just through them in with the diapers when washing. Again, I felt very lucky and my children were potty trained by 2 (again – the luck of the draw on kiddos).

      • LNG says:

        There is a lot of research suggesting that the environmental impact of cloth diapers is not that much better than disposable. Cotton is an incredibly water and pesticide heavy crop to produce and is terrible for the environment. Added to that is the electricity, detergent and water used to wash the cloth diapers over years of use, or the carbon used by diaper services driving all over to do deliveries.

    • Tiffany says:

      @jan RIGHT???!!!! I do not miss that at all. That week felt like years.

  3. Lala11_7 says:

    Ain’t nobody trying to deal with the aftermath of wiping down a dirty bottom with cloth diapers and having to find someplace to store them before you wash them…and dealing with that mess more than once…

    • Tigerlily says:

      Yep. I am 59 and my mom didn’t have a choice as there weren’t disposables “way back”. I recall very clearly when my 54 year old sister was a baby….mom dunking poopy diapers in toilet as she flushed in order to get the worst off. Then to the smelly diaper pail. Possibly this factored into me never having children though I did quite a lot of disposable diaper changing (and buying) with my husband’s grandchildren plus my 6 nephews. Can’t imagine using washcloth & plain water for some of those messes. Don’t recall any significant diaper rashes due to bum wipes either. I also think disposables are so “comfy” when wet that it makes it difficult to potty train. My sisters and I were all trained by 2 probably partly due to discomfort of a wet cloth diaper.

  4. A says:

    I don’t have babies but friends and family have and nowadays the advice is to wash them after every diaper change. They use wipes if they have to change the diaper while out.

    • HelloSunshine says:

      They wash their babies after each messy diaper? Like with a wash cloth or full on in the bath? I could see trying with wash clothes and warm water but not a bath each time. Imagine the amount of water used for that!

      • A says:

        They only undress them halfway and wash them fast under running water.

      • Lorelei says:

        I read it as washing the diapers that frequently, which is even worse! The water & electricity required for a washing machine…

    • Esmom says:

      That seems reasonable. Kinda like having hand wipes when you can’t wash your hands at a sink. The again, I’m not getting up at 3:00 am to change a diaper anymore so who knows how long I’d last without the wipes!

  5. CharliePenn says:

    I have moved to sustainability with as many things in my household as I can (paper towels, cleaning cloths, tissues, napkins, we make cleaning solution out of vinegar, we wash and reuse plastic bags, reusable coffee mugs, straws, snack containers, we use reusable shopping bags, etc etc). But one thing I’ve never been able to switch to is reusable diapers and wipes.

    It’s an ordeal. It’s hard to approach! My second and last child is now 18 months old. And I have guilt about all the diapers we have produced and wipes we have used.

    When I was a baby my mom did cloth diapers and there was a service for them to be cleaned. I don’t have that available. It’s just daunting!

  6. L84Tea says:

    I used Boudreaux Butt Paste on my baby boys’ tushies when they were in diapers, and let me tell you, the only thing that could get that stuff off of my hands and fingers were baby wipes. My sanity would not have survived without them.

    • Mel M says:

      Truth! That’s the only stuff that worked for mine and that crap can stain. I still have stains on my ottoman from it.

    • Lexilla says:

      You needed a butt spatula. Changed my life. (Though I still need water wipes to clean the spatula.)

  7. Holly says:

    I have 4 daughters. I used Viva paper towels I cut in smaller rectangles, dampened with water and put in their wipe warmer ahead of time – but only with newborns and during diaper rashes. I used wipes later when they were older. It wasn’t for environmental purposes; I just used as little chemicals as possible because they were prone to rashes and the Viva paper towels worked soooo well! So this sounds pretty normal to me.

    • Mar says:

      Did this too until my son was about 4 month, minus the wipes warmer bc I’m an idiot apparently. Just got warm fresh water w each change.

  8. Marigold says:

    I cloth diaper (2 kids in) and while I think it’s not for everyone, it’s definitely not as hard as it seems from the outside. There’s a learning curve and then they are pretty easy to get into a routine with. That said, cloth wipes have never been my thing. The sheer number I would need with my child who poops 5-6 times a day…I wouldn’t be able to keep up without real wipes. However, many people just use Viva paper towels (they’re super soft) and water. To each their own.

  9. HelloSunshine says:

    I can’t give up baby wipes. I’m considering cloth diapers for our next baby that’s due soon but I don’t think I could give up the convenience of wipes, especially in those early days when you’re constantly changing diapers and 2am diaper changes are a thing.
    Has anyone tried biodegradable diapers?

    • jeanne says:

      i did cloth diapers and cloth wipes. it’s easy once you get a system. i have a spray bottle of my own cleansing solution (usually water, tea tree oil and dr. bronners). you just spray the baby bum down, white it up with the cloth wipe and then put everything in your cloth diaper bag waiting to be washed. i usually washed every other day. it really wasn’t that bad. you just need to make sure you buy enough cloth diapers to start. i always bought 18 per size.

      and nothing wipes better than cloth diapers. whenever i used wipes i had to use like 5. one cloth wipe gets the job done everytime!

      and then after the kids are potty trained you can use them for cleaning towels around the house.

      it worked for us but i totally get it doesn’t work for everybody. i was a stay at home mom and had the time but not everyone does. just do what works for you and your family.

      • Bryn says:

        I wouldn’t use those clothes around the house no matter how much they were cleaned ugh

      • JanetDR says:

        My kids are in their 30s now and I still have a few old diapers under the sink for messy clean ups. I think if you are at home with your kiddos, it is a lot easier. I did a small load of diapers every day and used cloth wipes too – I just threw them in with the diapers and washed on hot. As I recall, warm and wet was more important than soap! Not a rash on either, ever. I used wool diaper covers which made it easy. I had nylon bags to put soiled diapers in when we were away from home and I still use those for damp swim suits when packing to come home from vacation.
        When they got older, I would sometimes buy disposable diapers for road trips. I totally get the appeal of disposable, but felt good about my choice to avoid them 99% of the time. I bought pull ups each when they expressed an interest in potty training and neither finished the box!
        There are so many difficult parenting choices to make- everyone’s got to figure out what works for them. I’ll tell you one thing though, I miss those younger years everyday. They are wonderful adults, but it’s almost impossible to get them to sit on my lap so I can read them a book! Good times😃

  10. TaniaOG says:

    No. Just no. Slow news day??

  11. Bryn says:

    I doubt he’s worried about the environment, they just keep on having kid after kid. I worry all the time about what kind of world my daughter will have when she grows up, or my grandchildren if I have them.

  12. Agenbiter says:

    Sorry to be a downer, but having five (or more?) children does not make your impact environmentally responsible and sustainable even if you are avoiding wipes.

    • Coco says:

      This is so true and I wish we could have an honest conversation about how procreating in large numbers has a negative impact on the environment. My grandparents had six kids and my parents had six as well and I’m pregnant with my second, and last, baby. My grandma the other day was encouraging me to have more but it was a struggle to even decide to have the second when I know resources are becoming more and more limited. We’re in the Bay Area and seeing a direct impact of climate change with massive fires the past couple of years. It’s really scary.

    • Starkiller says:

      Yeah, the cheek of him is pretty unbelievable. Have as many kids as you want, dude, but don’t stand there and preach about sustainability once you’ve got more than one or two kids.

    • Moneypenny says:

      I agree. Our max was always going to be 2 kids so that it wouldn’t be more than “replacement value.” I’m not one to say how many kids other people can have, but then they also can’t talk about how much their doing for sustainability.

      And what car can hold all of those people? Not an electric one, I promise you that.

    • maddie says:

      while i agree with you that having a lot of kids is not environmentally friendly, he didn’t say he doesn’t use baby wipes because it’s bad for the environment. he said it’s a scam. who knows if he even cares about the environment.

      • Agenbiter says:

        True, but see the link above to their promotion for eco nappies ‘organic diapers’

    • Lex says:

      Two intelligent, educated and mature adults having children they want and plan is faaaaar preferable than what normally happens. They need to balance out the morons or we will be living in the filmn Idiocracy. Keep on cranking them out if you can afford them James!

  13. Moco says:

    Cloth diapers and cloth wipes have a pretty significant environmental impact in water use and in some areas of the country, like mine, water is a much bigger issue than landfill space. You can pry baby wipes out of my cold dead hands… I still carry them and my youngest has been potty trained for years. They’re the most useful things ever.

  14. Rocky says:

    I used water and washcloths for both kids and it all turned out fine. More cause I’m cheap than anything else.

  15. Coco says:

    We used reusable cloth wipes and water until baby started solid food and now do a combo of disposable and reusable wipes with Baby Butt Juice concentrate that we dilute with water (I think that’s what it’s called). On a messy diaper, I’ll use a disposable wipe to get most of the mess and then use a cloth wipe for the rest of the cleanup. It works for us and that way I don’t have stinky reusable wipes hanging out till I can wash them but it cuts back on waste a bit.

  16. AnnaKist says:

    We keep a packet of those wipes in the boot of the car, along wth the first-aid kit, torch and a few tools, for emergencies. I didn’t use them when my kids were little, but sometimes my adult daughter has them in the house. I ompletly swore off them a few years ago. We were painting and a coutle of drops splashed on the carpet. I didn’t notice them until thy were almost dry, so grabbed a few wipes and was able to remove all the light paint off a dark carpet. When my son’s baby arrived, they always used wipes, but I got them using soft washcloths and wam water for hands, face and botty. That’s what toddler Sonny prefers now, although the wipes are still handy for when thy are out and water is not readily accessible. I agree with JvdB, but mums an dads are very busy, and at times, onveniemce has to take priority.

    However, no matter what they say or advertise – the wipes are NOT flushable! Plumbers love them, though, and that’s a tip from my son-in-law, the plumber. Apart from your bodily waste, the only other thing that shoul go in your loo is loo paper. No kitchen paper, wipes of any kind, no sanitary products, cigarette butts… nothing, but loo paper.

  17. geekychick says:

    Well, I used only water up until my son was 2. he had sensitive skin and his doctor was adamant about not using baby wipes. To be fair, in our pregnancy class, the doc and nurse also said that watwr is always bezter choice, considering the sensitivity of baby’s skin and chemicals in wipes.

  18. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Greatest invention since the wheel is flushable wipes.

    • Kerfuffle says:

      No wipe is truly flushable. They can get caught and make a huge, disgusting block. Plumbers hate them.

      • Lex says:

        And they join those fatbergs in the sewers that are made from all the kitchen oils people rinse down their drain they shouldn’t.
        Flushable wipes are the work of the devil

  19. Pandy says:

    Not a parent, so just adding my two cents anyway … I think you can “get away” with water and a wash cloth because you’re bathing your babies every day? I don’t use wipes between showers and no one is complaining about smell. But I would have an emergency stash in my diaper bag for outside the house moments. Just not used as often.

    • Bryn says:

      You may not use wipes after showers, but I bet you also don’t poop 5 or 6 times a day, sometimes up your back and on your legs lol. I had no problem using wipes, it made it easier for me and baby. I couldn’t bathe her everyday because she had some intense dry skin.

  20. holly hobby says:

    If your child had exploding diarrhea or generally soft stools that covered the entire bum a little water ain’t gonna work (especially if you are out and about). Been there done that and used wipes. I don’t flush the wipes. I wrap them around the soiled diaper and threw the whole thing away in the trash.

  21. Chaine says:

    Whatever they use on the booties, that little bitty baby’s skeptical face in the top pic makes my day! Too cute.

  22. La says:

    It’s not that crazy. When my daughter had a brutal diaper rash several months ago our ped told us to just blot her with a soft washcloth and warm water. She sometimes even winces when we use the “sensitive” brand wipes so now we pretty much just use water for pee diapers. Still all about the wipes for poopy diapers though, lol.

  23. Hannah Maguire says:

    Terrence Howard would not agree with this sentiment.

  24. RoyalBlue says:

    So funny. That is exactly what my mother said when my kids were babies. She was a nurse and could not understand why we would use the wipes and call it clean. She would take my kids and run their bums under the faucet and clean then that way.

  25. Veronica S. says:

    The only problems with cloth diapers is that it’s a hefty investment up front and the labor aspect of it where laundry and cleaning is concerned is no small feat. My friend did cloth recyclables with her first two, but she fully admitted that she could never have kept up with it without being a stay at home mother – especially since she had her babies back to back. By the time her third came around and wound up in the hospital for most of his first year of life, she’d given up altogether. There was no way she could maintain a home and spend every other night at a NICU. It’s only because we devalue women’s domestic labor so much that we take how time-consuming it is for granted.

  26. Scal says:

    I had every intention of doing cloth diapers with my first. No plastic bottles either. Except baby refused to take any glass bottle/nipple combo other than Dr. Browns. Then after a week of being back at work I realized my partner and I both work 50-60 hours plus 1 hour RT commutes and we were killing ourselves when we got home. I felt horrible but I needed to spend the time I had left with the baby, eating and sleeping than I did with laundry. Even with a service it was ALOT of upkeep in the interim and then it got crazy expensive.

    If you have the time and can afford it-it’s awesome. I was losing my mind trying to keep up with it, and at the end of the day happy parents happy baby. With a 3 month old you gotta do what you gotta do (within reason)

  27. Brittney B says:

    No wipes should be flushed, regardless of what the package says… but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used!! There’s a trash can in every bathroom for a reason. Anyone with a uterus that bleeds should already be familiar with disposing of gross things in discreet ways.

  28. MsCatra says:

    I used cloth diapers and wipes for two years and missed my wipes terribly whenever I had to use disposable ones. It took so many to do the job and I still never felt like my kiddo was clean. For those remembering the awful “dunking”….toilet sprayer, baby! My kid is long out of diapers and we still use the sprayer for cleaning and helping prevent double multiple flushes.

  29. Marty says:

    Can someone ask him how many diapers he has changed in his life? An occasional diaper in the comfort of a home nursery does not count.