Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cloth Wipes

I feel like cloth wipes are one of those things that new CD mamas work there way into. At first glance they seem a little more overwhelming that Cloth Diapers.

Ok, I'm doing the right thing for my baby, environment, my bank account by using Cloth Diapers... Cloth Wipes will be the next step. Maybe.

At least that's what I thought initially. I'll work my way up to cloth wipes. Disposable wipes seem so much simpler; they don't make that much garbage; and how bad can they really be? Plus, I could ask my babysitter to use cloth diapers, but cloth wipes too?

So we were using just disposable wipes for a while. But the cloth wipes seemed so much softer and they didn't provide that cold shock effect upon contact with my baby's soft, warm bottom. So I gradually worked my way into them.

Your natural reflex when changing a diaper is to wipe, drop the wipe into the diaper, wrap up the diaper and dump it. When you get your first shredded wipe in your dryer, you might think twice about switching to cloth.

According to Thirsties, you can spend up to $800 on disposable wipes during one child's diapering career. They're basing this number on using 3 boxes of wipes a week, at $2.50/box. That sounds a little excessive. I don't think we've ever gone through 3 boxes of wipes and you can get them cheaper in bulk. Punkin Butt figures 1.5 boxes/month at $4.50/box. That's $203 if your baby's in diapers for 2.5 years! But calculate for yourself - how many times a month do you buy wipes at what price? And then see how much money you can save switching to cloth. And think about it - no more late night trips to the store to buy more wipes!

Plus cloth wipes can be reused with your next child and can be used for hands, dishes, you name it, if you're currently going diaperless!

Another reason people switch to cloth wipes is the ingredients factor. I can't even pronounce half of the ingredients in disposable wipes, let alone know what they are! I mean, why is there Xantham Gum in my wipes? And what is Sodium Hydroxmethylglycinate?? Even the "natural" brands of wipes have weird things in them. If your baby has sensitive skin or even if she doesn't, you may sleep better just knowing what's going on her most sensitive area.

So how do you use cloth wipes?
There are myriad options available and I will present just a smattering for your consideration.
1. Put them in a wipes warmer with a solution. This is nice because you have warm, wet wipes available at any time. The downside is that you shouldnt leave them in a warm, wet solution for an extended period of time as that may allow for bacteria growth and mildew.

2. You can put a solution in a spray bottle and either spray the wipe or spray the bottom and use a dry wipe.

3. You can use warm water from the sink or in a spray bottle.

What can I use as wipes?
I carry 2 types: Thirsties and Punkin Butt. But you can really use anything. You can cut up a receiving blanket, a piece of fleece or other material, or use baby washcloths (though not as soft).

I love Thirsties Fab Wipes. They are 8x8 inches and 2 ply. One side is a textured cotton velour for the big messes. The other side is a microfleece for drying or lighter messes. They are so soft and colorful. They just make me feel good to get to use them! They come in a package of 6 in assorted colors.

Punkin Butt makes a great flannel wipe. It is one ply which makes it a thin, easy to maneuver material. They come in great patterns and are available in boy, girl or neutral.

What kind of solutions should I use?
1. Plain old-fashioned tap water works great. When my baby has a huge blow-out that no wipe will clean -- you know, the up the back type -- I either put him straight into the tub or under the faucet.

2. You can make a solution of baby shampoo, baby oil and water.

3. Punkin Butt makes an Organic Wipes Solution which I carry in my store. A 0.5 oz bottle of concentrate makes over 3 gallons of solution. You just put 10 drops into 1 cup of boiled or distilled water. Ingredients: Organic Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Oil, Organic Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Organic Lavadula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Organic Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil.

4. Here's another recipe from Punkin Butt:
3/4 cup distilled or boiled water
1/4 cup aloe vera juice
3 drops Tea Tree oil [do not use full strength - will irritate - must be diluted]
1 drop lavender essential oil or apricot kernal oil (optional)
1 pump baby shampoo or wash
The aloe vera is soothing and healing. The tea tree oil kills bacteria, viruses and fungus that can lead to diaper rash or infection.

5. A simpler recipe by Punkin Butt:
1 cup distilled or boiled water
3 drops Tea Tree Oil


  1. My sister made me some great, quilted flannel wipes that even my husband likes better than the disposable wipes. She works in a fabric store, so she got the fabric for next to nothing!

  2. Do you have advice as far as what solution to use to avoid adding build up to your cloth diapers? I keep reading conflicting info about washing cloth wipes with an oil-containing solution in the same cycle as a pocket diaper like fuzzibunz because the oil can cause build up on the dipes and lead to repelling.