“I worked with a nurse at a school for disabled children that swore by wipes,” says Patti. “They’re a disinfecting, pre-moistened, all-purpose cleaning tool. I will buy wipes forever; they’re a staple in our home. I have other uses for them besides for butts.”

I’m with Patti on this one. The wipes in the Kelly home are multi-purposed. Diaper changes, counter wiping, feet cleaning, spill cleanup — wipes get a workout here. It’s been a while since I bought anything other than the Costco wipes ($26.99 for 900 wipes). Something about stocking up on three months of wipes appeals to me. But I wonder if there is a better wipe on the market.

“Thinner wipes are for me,” says Sarah. “I can maneuver and work into the crevices better with the thinner wipes. I hate it when I get a thicker wipe and end up using a lot more of them. I buy the Costco wipes — they’re economical. And also the unscented Target brand wipes.”

“My husband says, ‘There’s nothing like the texture of a Huggies wipe,’” laughs Meg. “He insists on them, and we don’t even use their diapers. He’s a fan of their thickness and their texture.”

Erica is also a member of the Huggies fan club. “I like the size of the Huggies wipes, and I prefer their scented wipes. I don’t like the smell of the Costco brand wipes, and you have to use more of them.”

“I get angry every time I use wipes,” offers Nancy. “We use so many of them, and they’re not cheap. Currently, I use the Target scented wipes, which have a nice smell to them. But I’m looking into making my own. A roll of paper towels, a half a cup of baby oil, a half a cup of baby soap, and some water — all soaked in a bag.”

The following day I plowed through stores, snatching up every wipe I could find, and then headed home for some testing with hubby Pat.

Of the three mom-to-mom wipes: Supreme Sensitive ($2.50 for 64 wipes at Vons), Supreme Unscented, ($2.50 for 72 wipes at Vons), and Supreme Scented ($2.29 for 72 wipes at Vons), the unscented wipe felt the smoothest and didn’t carry a maternity-ward aroma with it.

The Parent’s Choice Real Cloth Sensitive Wipes ($1.96 for 80 wipes at Walmart) were see-through and unremarkable in size, moisture, and softness. Their cousin, Parent’s Choice All-Purpose Wipes, suffered the same fate ($1.54 for 88 wipes at Walmart). The Parent’s Choice Scented Baby ($1.96 for 88 wipes at Walmart) were quick to dry on the skin and carried that hospital smell.

“I could use these wipes for fine-woodworking sanding,” complained Pat as he rubbed the Kroger Value Baby Wipe ($1.49 for 80 wipes at Ralphs) on his arm. “Too scratchy, and not very strong. I tore the first two wipes I tried to take out of the package.”

“These Comforts for Baby Wipes [$1.99 for 72 wipes at Ralphs] are made with 100% renewable resources,” I read off the package. “A little burlap-ish for the booty,” observed Pat. “And the smallest and the driest of the group so far.”

We popped open a package of Pampers Natural Aloe ($2.69 for 72 wipes at Ralphs). “Soft, lotiony, and though I can’t squeeze any drops out of it, it is still plenty moist,” said Pat.

The Pampers Sensitive ($2.69 for 64 at Ralphs) were satiny soft. “These are made of that material that stretches and stays stretched,” offered Pat. “My only complaint with these is that you might get to the end of the box and the last bunch would be too dry.”

Finally, we broke into the Huggies. “These are poor-man Huggies,” complained Pat of the rough-feeling Huggies Natural Care ($3.49 for 72 wipes at Ralphs).

The Huggies Supreme Thick-n-Clean ($3.49 for 64 wipes at Ralphs) looked like a wipe for Patti. A heavy, clothlike feel, with lots of moisture.

Our favorite was the Huggies Soft Skin Shea Butter ($3.49 for 64 wipes at Ralphs). “I’d wipe these delicious-smelling wipes on my arms to give them lotion,” I said. Our other favorite: Huggies Gentle Care Sensitive ($3.49 for 64 wipes at Ralphs). “Lotiony softness of the Shea butter wipes, but even wetter,” said Pat. “Maybe even too much.”

“How can you have too much lotiony softness on your butt?” I asked.

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