By Malissa McClintock, Contributing Writer
When we decided to cloth diaper Miss Moo, I didn’t even entertain the notion of cloth wipes. I figured I’d have my hands full with the diapers even though we had a service. When Miss Roo arrived, we had moved on to doing our own diapers, but it didn”t occur to me to research a cloth wipe option. Once she reached about 6 months, I was getting very frustrated with the soiled wipes in the trashcans when I was washing diapers every other day. I was also worried about all the ingredients listed on the side of the box and all the “new materials” that were used to make the wipes themselves. I felt using something basic and under my control and safer for my children. I started googling the topic of cloth wipes and felt a little overwhelmed, just as I did when I started looking into cloth diapers. I decided to ask a friend what she had done- her daughter was 10 days older than Miss Roo and I knew she did cloth everything. Her suggestions and direction led to our stash of cloth wipes. Here’s what I did.
Rather than spend a ton of money on pre-made wipes, I began looking for alternative sources. My friend suggested buying flannel by the yard or using all those receiving blankets that were folded up in the house somewhere. The blankets seemed like a great idea. I used 5 as our initial stash and they worked very well for an almost potty trained 3 year old and a toddler. However, as I prepped the diapers for Baby Boy, I realized that we would need a LOT more wipes around with a newborn and a potty training toddler on our hands.
As I had used all the previous flannel blankets I could from our stash, I went to a local store and found a pack of basic, cotton receiving blankets. There were 5 blankets in the pack for $8.00 – much less expensive than getting flannel by the yard at any local craft stores. The blankets are not organic cotton – but since the wipes weren’t lying on the skin for very long I felt this was acceptable. I removed the blankets from the package and unfolded them. I then grabbed my scissors. I folded the first in half and cut it.
Then in half again. And again. I kept cutting until I got a good wipe size – 16 wipes from each blanket.
I repeated the process with each blanket until I had 5 stacks of 16 wipes laid out in front of me. ( I actually ended up making a 2nd set this way, in addition to what we already had, just in case.)
Prepping the Wipes
Next, I washed them in a warm/warm cycle in my diaper detergent. Right now we use Rockin’ Green that we received as a freebie bonus with a cloth diaper order . I dried them in the dryer with our wool dryer balls.
They came out a little wadded and with a few strings here and there- but otherwise they look fantastic.
The Wipes Solution
For the wipes solution, I use a homemade recipe:
- 2 cups warm/hot water
- 1 teaspoon Dr. Bronners Castille Baby Soap
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2-4 drops tea tree oil (optional- I use this when there is any redness or irritation on Roo’s bum)
Place the warm/hot water in a measuring cup. Add the soap and stir slowly.
Add the coconut oil and mix slowly and well.
The temperature of the water should help to melt the coconut oil. (Optional: Add the tea tree oil and stir.)
Storing the Wipes
There are two solutions for using cloth wipes: storing them in a container already moistened or using the mixture in a spray bottle with dry cloths during a diaper change.
For outings, we use dry cloth wipes and a spray bottle of solution.
At home, I use a plastic standard wipes container with the solution poured over it.
The wipes may have to be folded or bent slightly so they will fit in the container. I can fit about 30-40 wipes in a container. I pour the solution over until it is saturated well.
In most cases, I can make two sets of wipes from one mixture of solution. I also keep a few glass bottles of solution around at home for particularly big messes or messes that have dried a little from nap time.
There you have it! Simple DIY cloth wipes to get you started for a small investment. Just toss the soiled and dirty cloths in your wet bag or diaper pail and clean your loads as usual. Cloth wipes may or may not be for you. We use them all the time now- and the coconut oil addition has proven great for cleaning faces and hands in the yicky winter weather. There are no chapped cheeks when I carry cloth wipes. Sometimes a concept is much more intimidating before you find a simple solution.