Alternatives to Baby Wipes

February 21, 2012

Children, Self Sufficiency

alternatives to baby wipes

We’ve talked about diapers and why it is wise to stock cloth ones.  One of the main reasons for acquiring  cloth “nappies” is because you would quickly be in a literal mess if disposables stopped showing up regularly on store shelves.  The same would be true with disposable baby wipes.

Most parents are accustomed to picking up a pack of wipes each time they get a pack of diapers.  They pretty much go together as a pair.  Wipes seem essential for cleaning up baby backsides and they are so handy for sticky hands and other small clean-ups.  In fact, if you have children in school, you probably had to send a pack or two in for classroom use at the beginning of the year.

What would we do without them?  I guess we should make a plan.

What alternatives are out there?

Some parents have begun making their own baby wipes from soft paper towels and a homemade solution.  That may give them control over what chemicals or materials are used on the baby, but it still doesn’t get away from the dependency on disposable products.

A couple of entrepreneurial companies have begun selling premade cloth wipes that can be laundered.  Now we are getting somewhere.

Even better-  there are instructions online for making your own cloth wipes at home.

And for those on a budget or in a hurry to get this checked off their list, you can do what I have done-  buy inexpensive washcloths dedicated for this purpose.  Keep in mind, though, that cheap fabric could be rough, so rub them against your face before you trying them on a tender behind.  You can often buy packs of 10 or so “baby washcloths” in the infant section of big box stores-  they have a short “nap” on one side and are smooth on the other.  Three packs of those should probably be enough.

So, how do you use them?

Not really a silly question.  The disposable wipes we buy already have a wet solution on them and we can pop them out of a neat little package.  I would recommend buying a couple packs of them in sturdy dispensers and planning to keep the boxes when the wipes run out.

Then, you can fold your clean washcloths in half so they fit inside the hinged lid and add water or a another mild solution.  Some people insist that water is enough.  Others think a gentle liquid that includes some baby oil causes less friction on the skin and offers a bit of moisturizing protection afterward.  You can decide for yourself.

Here is a very basic recipe for a homemade wipe solution:
  • 2 Tbsp baby or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp baby wash or liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 1 1/2 cups water

This can be altered to suit your needs.  You can also add a drop or two of tea tree oil (or another essential oil like lavender), some aloe vera, or Vitamin E.  Some people even use chamomile tea in the place of the water.

Do not dampen too big a boxful at once or the wipes could turn sour before they are used.  Keep any leftover solution well labeled and in a sealed bottle.

Once soiled, the cloth wipes can go right into the pail with the diapers and be laundered together.  The same suggestions for stain treating, washing, and drying apply to the wipes as to the diapers themselves.

Do you have another alternative to disposable wipes?  Do you have a recipe for a wipes solution that everyone else should know about?  Please share them in the comments section.

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8 Comments on “Alternatives to Baby Wipes”

  1. Bob Says:

    I use paper towels in ziplock bags. I add to that a mixture of distilled water and baby shampoo enough to dampen. Works great.


  2. Beck Says:

    Reminds me of when mine were in diapers and you had a diaper pail right next to where you usually changed the baby. I used warm wash cloths, too, but would rinse them out before they went into the diaper pail.

    Not much different than going back to the old days. Our grandparents were probably a lot smarter than we realize. Wouldn’t we love to have them around to advise us these days?


  3. destiney Says:

    i bought a few yards of walmart fleece on sale (it was Christmas print) for like 3$ total chopped them up with my rottery cutter into 5in squares and i keep them in a old tub that held soap packs in it and just wet them as needed i did sew the edges but found that i didn’t need to they never fray also some old t-shirts got made into these when we switched to cloth instead of tp. only real investment here is a wet bag or waterproof fabric. or an old tent cut into bags works well also. this saves ridiculous amount of money when you have 4 kids. oh and for soap i recommend rocking green it is my all time fav for cloth diapering or just for cleaning the yuck out of anything!


  4. northernhomesteader Says:

    Great post – thanks for sharing! So often it is the “little things” that we need to remember to prep with as well!


  5. Laura Says:

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I’m going to have to look into Rockin Green. That’s a new one for me.


    • destiney Says:

      yeah it’s a laundry soap for diapers that’s environmentally safe and very economical but we use it to get stains out of everything and it works great as an all purpose cleaner and even hard water treater in dishwashers too. i love it.


  6. Tracy Barr Says:

    I was tired of spending SO much money on disposable wipes, and of washing them accidentally when I stuffed them into my cloth diapers, so I searched for anything I had around the house that would work. My first experiment: mismatched socks from the sock bag – worked great, and if I had to throw one away, it didn’t cost me anything! After deciding I needed a larger wipe, I cut up an old travel towel (one of the quick dry ones) that wasn’t being used any more, and that is my all time fav. wipe, but I don’t have a whole lot of it. To increase my stash, I purchased a few flannel receiving blankets at a consignment sale and cut them up. I have plenty now, but DO want to sew two pieces of flannel together to increase the structure and keep the edges from fraying. Also, for wipes solution, I add a tablespoon of coconut oil, a tiny cap of baby shampoo, and hot water to the peri bottle I brought home from the hospital, and spray some onto a wipe just before I use it.



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