I know, you are asking yourself why anyone would make homemade cloth baby wipes when you can just buy disposable wipes; it’s what almost everyone does. Personally, the only advantage of disposable wipes is convenience. Just because something is convenient/easier and popular doesn’t mean it is better. Homemade cloth wipes have a variety of benefits that you can’t get with traditional wipes:
- Cloth wipes save you money. You don’t have to keep purchasing more wipes.
- Cloth wipes are eco-friendly since they don’t contribute to landfills.
- Cloth wipes are healthier. Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of your wipe container? Even “hypoallergenic” disposable wipes have ingredients like polysorbate 20, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, and the ever mysterious “fragrance”. I wouldn’t want to use these on myself, much less an infant or my hairless dog.
- Homemade cloth wipes are versatile. You can make different wipe solutions to fit your child’s and family’s needs.
- Cloth wipes are stronger and clean up the mess better.
Making Cloth Wipes
So how do you make homemade cloth wipes? That is up to you. You can cut up receiving blankets or other soft fabric – such as cotton, fleece, and flannel – and sew up the edges to keep from fraying, use socks, buy baby washcloths, or buy brand cloth wipes like Thirsties, Bumgenius, or my personal favorite OsoCozy Flannel Baby Wipes.
You will need to keep your wipes in a container available at home and during travel; plus you will need a way of storing dirty wipes. For at home, I recommend the OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser. With this dispenser you don’t have to worry about how you are folding your wipes, as long as they are layered one on top of the other. The weighted opening allows you to reach and pull out one wipe at a time with ease and the clear window allows you to see when wipes are low. I can fit 30 cloth wipes in this dispenser. For travel I recommend a Planet Wise Wipe Pouch, if you don’t want to carry the large dispenser. For dirty wipes a large wet bag works great at home (this can be used for cloth diapers too) and a small/medium wet bag for your diaper bag.
Cloth Wipe Solutions
There are a variety of cloth wipe solutions and recipes to choose from, and you have the added choice of storing your wipes wet or dry. I personally prefer dry wipes and the use of a spray bottle for the solution (you can get small spray bottles here), to avoid mold and mildew, but using a wipes wet bag with pre-moistened cloth wipes for traveling (since there are fewer and less likely to sit around long enough to mold or mildew).
If you don’t want to take the time to make your own cloth wipe solution there are a variety you can buy:
- Pre-Made Solution that is usually available in a spray bottle, such as Thirsties Booty Luster, Eco Sprout’s Bottom Spray, Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Spray, and California Baby Diaper Area Wash.
- Wipe Concentrate is a liquid super concentrated form of the solution you will use. You will follow the directions to dilute the concentration. Examples are Lusa Organics Baby Wipe Juice and Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion.
- Wipe Bits are small wax looking masses that are dissolved in hot water, then cooled before using. You only use one at a time when you need it and can carry them with you. You can purchase them from Knickernappiers Baby Bum Drops and brands on Etsy.com .
Homemade Cloth Wipe Solution Recipes
First, there are four basic ingredients when making a homemade cloth wipes solution:
- Water is the main part of the solution; it can be used by itself or to dilute the other ingredients so they aren’t too harsh for baby’s sensitive skin. (I recommend distilled or boiled water when using wet wipes.)
- Oil helps the skin stay soft and helps the wipe slide gently across the baby’s skin. (I recommend Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut Oil.)
- Soap is used to cleanse the skin and remove urine and feces. (Many recipes call for baby wash – read the ingredients before choosing baby wash, many are just as damaging as those of disposable wipes. I recommend Dr. Bronner’s Castile Baby Soap .)
- Essential Oils are an optional way of adding antibacterial, healing, and aromatherapy properties. (Always choose pure essential oils, never synthetic, and buy organic when available to provide the most benefits possible.)
Tip: When mixing solutions first pour your water to avoid creating bubbles.
Basic Wipe Solution (Can be used with your favorite soap and oil.)
- 1/4 cup oil (Melted Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Olive Oil, etc.)
- ½ cup liquid soap or baby wash (only 1 Tbsp. if using Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Soap)
- 2 cups water
Chamomile Tea and Lavender Solution
- 2 chamomile tea bags (Steep in 2 cups of boiling water – make strong.)
- 2 drops lavender oil
- 1 Tbsp. baby wash
Anti-Fungal Solution (Great for preventing and treating yeast diaper rashes.)
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp calendula oil
- 5 drops lavender oil
- 5 drops tea tree oil
- ¼ cup 100% aloe vera gel
- ½ cup hot water
Tea Tree and Lavender (Great for preventing and treating diaper rash.)
Vitamin E Solution (Can be added to the bath.)
- 2 drops tea tree oil
- 2 drops lavender oil
- 2 drops chamomile oil
- 2 cups water
- ¼ tsp. vitamin E oil or 2 vitamin E capsules emptied into solution
Coconut Oil Solution
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
Dr. Bronner’s – Fair Trade & Organic Fresh Pressed White Kernel Virgin Coconut Oil – 14 ozTraditional Medicinals Organic, Chamomile, 16-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade & Organic Castile Liquid Soap – (Unscented, 16 oz)ArtNaturals Aloe Vera Gel for Face, Hair & Body – Certified Organic, 100% Pure Natural & Cold Pressed 12 Oz – For Sun Burn, Eczema, Bug or Insect Bites, Dry Damaged Aging skin, Razor Bumps and Acne
Washing Cloth Wipes
Unless your baby is entirely on breast milk their poop will need to be cleaned off the wipe (shake, dunk in toilet, spray off –for less mess use the Spray Pal and Diaper Sprayer, or use a spatula to wipe squishy/sticky poop off), just like cloth diapers. Some families use toilet paper to grab the bigger chunks and flush them, then use the cloth wipe to finish cleaning baby. Since I wash clothes by hand I like to boil cloth wipes for 2 or 3 minutes, then use that hot water and detergent to wash them, then get fresh water and detergent for a second wash, finishing with two rinse cycles and drying on the line. You can wash them along with your cloth diapers. Try this Eco-friendly, all natural, homemade laundry detergent on your cloth diapers and wipes.
Other Uses for Cloth Wipes
- Cleaning faces and hands.
- Family Cloth in the bathroom (Basically cloth baby wipes, with or without the solution, instead of toilet paper).
- Wiping dogs with allergies down after going outside. (My hairless Chinese Crested gets wiped down – feet, legs, and belly – after each trip outside to decrease swelling of feet and itching.)
Using cloth wipes is a versatile and easy way to make a healthy and eco-friendly habit for your child and entire family. What is your favorite cloth wipes solution and what are your tips for cloth wipe beginners?