Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to: Cloth Baby Wipes

I tend to be asked lots of questions and quite often these questions are ones that I get asked again and again.  I really enjoy being able to share what I’ve already figured out so one of the things I’m hoping to use this blog for is as a platform to give some good clear answers and to have a place to keep these answers for the next person who asks.

We use cloth diapers for Rebecca and although we get asked about the diapers all the time we also frequently field questions about wipes.  We do buy disposables from time to time but 99% of the time we use cloth wipes.

We prefer cloth wipes for a quite a few reasons.  For an investment of about 5 minutes every week or two, we have a cost effective and greener choice than disposables.  Disposable baby wipes are actually made of a plastic product that is not biodegradable, will do a number on your plumbing if you flush them and unlike diapers are generally not accepted into city organics disposal (like Toronto’s green bin).  We also like that we don’t have to do any sorting while changing a diaper, all the dirty laundry goes into the same wet bag and then it all goes into the wash together.  Last but not least, even the unscented-sensitive wipes can cause reactions in an allergic baby or caregiver and as our midwife said, “wipes are an invitation to diaper rash and yeast”.

Here is the break down:

We use the little cheap face clothes and have about 4 or 5 dozen.  We don’t need anywhere near this many these days but we certainly did for the first few months.

If you don’t already have one (they multiply in your house even if you don’t use them), ask a friend who uses disposables to save you a container.

Start by folding your cloths neatly in half, and then simply roll them up.  They should look just like when you first got them.

Then stack in rows in the wipe container, we do 3 rows of 7.  We normally have one box upstairs and one box downstairs and I make them up at the same time.

Once your box is full, its time to add the liquid.   This is not an exact science.  Combine ¼ cup white vinegar and ¾ cups warm tap water. Sometimes I add a drop or two of tea tree oil.  Franny decided to help out.

Pour it over the top of the rolled cloths.  Close the lid and give a little shake and you’re done.

The liquid will even out and make each cloth just damp.  We use them at room temperature but here are some great instructions on how to use them in a wipes warmer from the feminist breeder. 

They will look like this:

We just wash them with the diapers and keep them in a little stack until there are enough clean ones to start again.  We use them for everything, just like the disposable ones, diaper changes, washing hands and faces, dusting, wiping off sticky keyboards and telephones, and they’re also really great if you are treating the dreaded thrush.

They will last up to two weeks with out any issues.

A ziplock bag is great to take some out with you but even better is a tiny wet bag.  We just received a free itzy ritzy reusable snack bag from renewing our subscription to mothering magazine that is absolutely perfect for this.


  1. Laura this is great! Thanks so much! As luck would have it, my friend just passed on an empty box to me.

  2. we used your instructions last week with much success, I plan to do it again this week - thanks for the recipe.