Homemade Baby Wipes

You may remember that I've been cloth diapering my precious daughter lately. Once you make the switch, and are already washing the diapers regularly, there is absolutely no reason not to also use cloth wipes. But even if you don't switch to cloth diapers (yet!) ;), I would encourage you to considering making your own baby wipes at home. The money you'll save is significant. The environmental impact is nice. The confidence of knowing what you're using to clean your baby's face, hands, or bottom is wonderful.

Here are THREE EASY STEPS to making your own homemade baby wipes:
1. Buy the wipes you want to use. I bought a nice variety of wipes in fun patterns from Zannadu cloth diapers (oops, looks like they are now out of business). You can see the five patterns I chose ... the thing I love about these is how soft they are. (Well, and the fun patterns make them FUN to use!) One side is soft flannel and the other side is micro terry cloth... so they're super soft on tender bottoms but also have some grip to get gunk off skin! If you're even somewhat skilled at sewing, you might even be able to make your own!

I also bought some cheap washcloth-material mitts that they sell here. It makes for easy cleaning, and I wanted to try a variety of options. For what it's worth, these do work OK, but I do prefer the soft ones I got from Zannadu. I tend to use the washcloth ones for cleaning her face and hands.

2. You can use any wipes container you want to. Because I have so many wipes and like to do it in bulk, I double whichever recipe I'm trying and pour it over the wipes in this great container:

That way, I can keep the diaper rash cream and Vaseline (that's the yellow circle container) right there in the container and have it handy when I need it. But lots of wipes-making moms just use the wipes boxes you get from Huggies or Pampers and fold over their wipes inside the case.

3. Make your baby wipes solution and pour it over the wipes inside the box. I use the large plastic cups that restaurants give out to mix up the solution and, so far, have tried 2 different "recipes".

First, I tried this recipe (which works fine):
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp oil (olive oil, baby oil, whatever simple oil you want to use)
- 1 tbsp baby soap
MIX WELL and pour over wipes in portions.

An even simpler recipe, that has been great for her poor little irritated bottom (a result of the bathroom issues one often faces from changing bacteria when moving overseas) is this one:
- 1-2 tbsp of lavender smelling baby oil
- 2-3 cups of water
MIX WELL. Add wipes to box in small portions, pouring portions of the mixture over the wipes until both wipes and wipe solution are gone.

[I plan to try more entirely natural wipes solutions once I get my bearings here and have better language skills.]

This has been such a surprisingly easy solution to buying wipes from the store, and the cost savings is significant. Even if you just wanted to use this for after-meal face and hand wipes, I believe you'd see savings and enjoy the process as well!


Anonymous said...

I totally agree--it makes no sense to use disposable wipes. We've always just used warm water on our cloth wipes, and we haven't had problems.

On the rare occasions when we've had some diaper rash, we've used one of the natural baby creams from Earth Mama Angel Baby, Country Comfort, or Weleda.

Laurie B

Jaime said...

even easier (but not as pretty smelling, i will admit) is to just buy a $1 squirt bottle & fill it with water. spray on wipe (whatever that may be) whenever you need it.

although i guess one would need the oil for irritated bottoms... i've always been a fan of A&D though... and that is not as environmentally friendly...

Anna S said...

Great tips! Although I'm not a mother yet, I'm already taking notes! ;) It's almost funny how deeply I'm interested in subjects like breastfeeding, births, diapering and baby food ;)

Anonymous said...

hi jess,
I used wash cloths and warm water also. I guess the advantage of adding something that smells nice, is that baby would... smell nice!

Anonymous said...

We keep ours folded in half and placed in an electric wipe warmer...especially nice in the winter! Little miss seems downright appalled when we are out and use a "cold" wipe on her little rear. She doesn't fuss but looks very surprised! I put in a squirt of Dr. Bronner's organic castile liquid soap and fill up with filtered water.


annie said...

hi jess - i've been reading your blog for quite a while now (so long i can't remember how i found it!) and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate your posts. i came out of hiding to comment on diaper wipes, of all things. :) oddly, some friends and i were talking about this very topic this afternoon. we make our own for our daughter, too, but use only olive oil and some warm water. olive oil is 100% harmless and works wonders -completely clean and diaper rash free! baby oil or soap isn't so good to get into all the little parts of baby girls. also, diaper rash cream and cloth diapers don't mix. i don't know if you use cloth when you are using rash cream, so maybe you already know this, but the cream ruins the absorbency of the diapers.

so, um, yeah. :) just wanted to pop that in! and say hello and thanks for being so honest and thought-provoking with your writing!


Kim said...

I have a friend who does this, but she uses paper towels. Not quite as environmentally friendly, but it's still better for the baby and cheaper than baby wipes! She does the same recipe, just with a roll of paper towels cut in half.

Just wanted to chime in with that option! Love you Jess! How are you feeling these days?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jess! I appreciate your post. I too have been reading for a few months, but have not commented. I do have a question. With the cloth diapers and wipes, so you have any secrets for changing while out and about? Traveling tips for dirty wipes and diapers etc? I am expecting #5(3 will be 3 and under to use the diapers and wipes) and have been curious about transitioning to cloth. I think it sounds great at home, but am having a hard time seeing how it would work even for church or outings. Thanks for any advice!

Jess said...

Different people do different things. Some people use disposables whenever they're out and/or traveling. Which is certainly a workable option. I think many people make the mistake of writing off using cloth because they think it's a 100% either/or proposition. You can choose to use cloth at home but disposables when you're out. There would still be an economic and environmental savings if you do that.

Some people carry plastic bags to hold whatever diapers they use until they get home, which can be a workable solution as well, particularly if you have access to a sink or a place to deposit any items in the diaper, should you need it. :)

I fall somewhere between the two. If I'm going to someone's house for the first time, maybe, or if I'm going on a long trip, we revert to disposables. It's easier for those situations (to me).

If I'm just going to be out for a few hours or am going somewhere where there will be a sink available, I'll use cloth and a plastic bag in the diaper bag.

For church and babysitters, we use disposables (or sometimes have used the easy all-in-ones that work just like disposables). I don't want to inconvenience others when they are doing me a favor or serving us in some way.

Those are the things we've done- others do it differently. Hope this helps, though. It's certainly OK to do a mixture of both, particularly in the more "tough" situations like traveling or nursery care.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jess!
I haven't bitten the bullet to start cloth diapering, only because we haven't had enough discretionary money to make the initial purchase :( However, I DO use cloth wipes, which I love! I am apparently not the brightest mama...my sweet baby had awful diaper rash for her first 3 months of life. We changed to different brands of wipes, diapers, etc. Turned out her little bottom couldn't tolerate the chemicals in the wipes. We switched to cloth wipes - 100% cured!

We use only plain water since we've had so much trouble. I fill our wipes warmer about every other day with fresh water and then just dip my wipe into it before I change her diaper. Works GREAT for us!

If you'd like to share which types of cloth diapers you use and love, I am all ears!!!

-Lauren Hill

got another on the way said...

HI Jess, congratulations on your successful switch to CDs! I cloth diapered my boy for nearly three years. I make my own wipes/washcloths. It's free and couldn't be easier! Take one of hubby's old, worn, clean t-shirts. Place it on cutting surface with the front side up. Take any sturdy, sharp scissors and cut up the side folds (where front meets back) all the way up and through the armpits and into the sleeves. When the cut is as high as the bottom of the neck band, start cutting across, making a 90-degree angle and cutting just under the neck band and into the oppsite sleeve. Cut up the other side to meet the top cut if you haven't already. I cut through both layers of the t-shirt at the same time, making twin big rectangles. Then cut both rectangles into equal sized squares (just fold into halves and cut on folds). My hubby wears a size M I think, so I end up with 8 10.5" x 11" cloths. Jersy knits don't unravel, just curl a bit, so you don't need to hem or even use pinking shears! The better quality shirts he buys the softer cloths you'll get. I have stacks and stacks by now. I never use paper towels for anything! Once you start they'll start piling up fast, and they become as single use as paper products, only you toss them into the dirty laundry instead of the trash. Also, since they are very soft they are excellent for wiping tender toddler noses (add a little lotion if it's perpetually runny). I have one pinned to the boy's security rail on his bed so he doesn't wipe his boogies on the wall anymore, and frequently switch it out. It worked the first night! No more concrete yuck for me to scrub! Thanks for spreading the word on cloth diapering!

Jennifer said...

Hello, Just wanted to say I enjoyed this post. As a cloth diapering mom I always love to read when other moms are making some of the same choices :)

Charley said...

This doesn't quite fit with your topic, but I thought of you and your blog when I read this...thought it was a hoot, but then again, I am a male....

It's from Highlands Study Center


HomeDiscipling Dad Blog
Get Serious Blog

(From the May/June 2002 issue of Every Thought Captive)

Top Ten Things Not to Say When Your Wife is in Labor

by R.C. Sproul Jr.

10. Hey, what's on ESPN?

9. You don't mind if I smoke, do you, dear?

8. Did you know Katie has her babies at home?

7. I can't wait for you to have the baby, so you'll be skinny again.

6. What's a five-letter word, meaning work, with a b for the third letter?

5. Man, I love burgers from Wendy's. How are your ice chips?

4. I need to call the office for a phone meeting.

3. Do you have any idea how much an epidural costs?!?

2. Man, eighteen hours so far. I need a nap. Wake me if anything important happens.

1. Remember the last time, how much it hurt right there at the end?

Bloggers said...

thank you for the "recipes" for the wipes cleaner! I make my own wipes and was wanting a solution to use with them instead of just water.

Surprised Rach said...

Dear Jess - I'm totally new to cloth wipes, I'm just wondering - do the wipes sit around wet in the open box? How do you stop them drying out? - Or do you only add the liquid solution one at a time as you use them?

Jess said...

Rachel, it works just the same as a normal wipes package from the store. As long as you have the lid on tight, they all stay as wet as you make them.