Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Make Cloth Wipes & Solution


In the month before I had my baby, I was busy sewing up a storm in an attempt to distract myself from the ever-increasing discomfort and to keep me from going crazy with anticipation. One of the things I sewed in preparation for baby were these homemade wipes. (Note: post about cloth diapering a newborn coming soon.)  

Even though using cloth diapers saves a lot of money in the long run, the start-up costs can really add up.  You can buy wipes from the various cloth diaper companies, but I figured that I could probably make my own. I mean, how fancy do wipes need to be? As long as they get the job done, right? What's better -- I just reused some old fabric, so they were basically free.  Even though I made these weeks ago, I wasn't going to post about them until I'd actually tested them out. Well, we've been using them for the last couple weeks and I'm happy to say that they've worked out quite well. Plus, they're super-simple to make.

To make your own wipes you'll need:
  • Flannel material - the amount you'll need will depend on how many wipes you want to make. I used a couple old, standard-sized receiving blanket and got about 20 wipes out of it, with still some fabric to spare.
  • Thread, fabric, scissors/rotary cutter, ruler, sewing machine

The flannel receving blankets I used for this project were similar to the one I used for the homemade nursing pads (which, I might add, are doing their job well). The blankets were great when I used them with my first child, but they've since gotten faded and stained. This is why I don't feel bad cutting them up.

I cut the wipes into 6" x 6" squares using this handy-dandy ruler I got for my quilting class. You don't need one of these, of course, (any ruler will work) but it did make it go by really quickly.


Next, I did a zigzag stitch with my sewing machine as close to the edge as possible. This will keep your wipes from fraying in the wash. I've washed these wipes a lot already and haven't had any problems with fraying. They've held up really well.


Trim the excess fabric from the edges, cutting as close to the stitching as possible. That's it. Homemade wipes that work.

Before you use these on baby, you've got to wet them down. I mean, I guess they'd work dry, but I'd feel bad rubbing dry material on his cute baby bum. There are a few ways to do this -- the way we've been doing it is with the spray-bottle method.

When it's time to use the wipes, I simply give a wipe a few sprays with a spray bottle filled with wipe solution. You can find a bunch of wipe solution recipes online, depending on your needs (like if you want an anti-fungal solution or one with lotion for dry skin). For a list of recipes, check out this link.


To make your own wipe solution, you just need a combination of oil, soap, and water. The oil helps the wipes move comfortably against baby's skin and keeps it soft; the soap cleans away the pee and poop; the water dilutes the first two ingredients and helps clean the diaper area. If you want, you can also add essential oil to your solution if you want certain aromatherapy or antibacterial benefits.

Depending on what ingredients you use, you'll have different amounts of each ingredient. Here's the recipe of the wipe solution we've been using:
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons baby soap/shampoo
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix the shampoo and oil, then add water. Pour into spray bottle.  I love how fresh it smells. It seems to do a good job cleaning the diaper area, too -- we haven't had any problems with diaper rash yet.

I'll admit right now: using homemade wipes isn't as easy as using the disposable kind that come in packages and containers. Kind of like cloth diapering. Sure, it isn't as convenient, but it's not that bad and it doesn't take that much extra time. For me, the trade-off of saving money and sending a little less trash from my house is worth the few extra seconds it takes to use and wash them.

3 comments:

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Awesome. This will for sure be in the Weekend LInks. I love DIY diapering posts. Like the diaper sprayer post.

And, yet. . . we LOVE our Kissaluvs awesome wipes. Definitely pricier (about $1 each) than homemade, but we love love love them. My husband says they are the best part of cloth diapering. I find it simplest to just get the wipe wet at the bathroom sink before wiping a bottom (tried many other methods first).

Here's my post about it:
http://www.eco-novice.com/2010/05/wfmw-wiping-my-babys-bottom.html

Michelle said...

I really want to try to make these wipes. Do you soak and wash them along with cloth diapers (just trying to figure out a good system for making reusable wipes work). Thanks!

Heather said...

Michelle --

When I'm done with the cloth wipe, I throw it into my hanging diaper pail, along with the soiled diaper. When I wash a load of diapers, the wipes are in there, too. When they're clean and dry, I store them in in a little basket, along with the spray bottle of solution. Good luck -- once you have a system down for cloth diapering, it really isn't too hard!

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