Adding Cloth Wipes to your Cloth Diapering Regimen
Why Should I Use Cloth Wipes?
If you are already using cloth diapers with your baby, it is really easy to justify stopping there, while you're ahead, and picking up those disposable wipes while you are at the store. I mean, you are already saving so much money on your diapers. Do you really mind the comparably small price of that box of wipes? You are doing what you can for the environment, and your little one's tush is already perfectly padded in soft, cozy fabric. Besides, you have a lot of errands to run during the week, and you really don't want to deal with any more diaper-related stress! It is all very reasonable and understandable, but you may be missing the boat entirely!
Cloth wipes, when added to your regular cloth diapering regimen, have many benefits that you may not have realized, and, all things considered, they may be much less stressful than you anticipate. You already run that load of diaper laundry every two or three days. Adding cloth wipes to the mix is really as simple as throwing them in alongside your diapers. In fact, they may even provide more agitation to help your diapers get a better wash.
It's true, you ARE saving a lot of money already. In fact, you feel a small swelling of pride every time you pass right by the shelves full of "sposies," but imagine the feeling of bypassing the diapering aisles altogether! You and I both know that, while that one extra trip down one extra aisle hardly seems like much of an effort to those who do not have a tiny entourage riding shotgun in the buggy you're carting around, a little bit of time in the grocery store equals a lot of energy spent.
Also, if environmental impact played a part in your decision to ditch the disposables, cloth wipes could lessen that impact even more. In fact, there are studies that suggest that cloth diapers have almost an equal environmental impact as their disposable counterparts, but there are many ways to alter your diapering regimen to tip the odds in your favor. Cloth wipes represent one of those options.
Finally, cloth diapers can absolutely benefit your baby. Instead of watching your little one's bum dry out or negatively react to the chemicals in the disposable wipe solution, you can hand pick the ingredients for your own. Does your baby have exceptionally dry skin? Add a moisturizer. Are you concerned about diaper rash? Add a few drops of tea tree oil. Do you want a solution that soothes your baby and smells great? Add some lavender oil. Does your little one already have a rash? Use nothing but water and coconut oil. There are many different recipes that you can tailor yourself, and most of them use ingredients you probably already have around your home or can easily pick up at your local grocery store.
Where Should I Get My Cloth Wipes?
Just like cloth diapers, wipes are very versatile. There are different materials, styles, and thicknesses, and you can get them in a variety of ways. Keep in mind you will need somewhere between two and four dozen wipes depending on your diapering and washing routine. On average, you will use one or two wipes per diaper change, but it is always good to have extra just in case.
- Purchase Them Pre-Made: Most major cloth diaper brands also carry their own line of wipes. For example, BumGenius, GroVia, and Thirsties all offer them online, and certain brands are even in your large baby retailers. You can typically purchase packs of 6, 12, or 15 and usually at somewhere between 50 and 75 cents a wipe, though there are some that cost a dollar or more.
- Use Baby Washcloths: Many moms find that baby washcloths make perfect wipes! You may have an oversupply of these around the house. They make great fillers for gifts, so, if you had a shower, you may have more than you know what to do with anyway. If you don't already have some, you can often purchase these for even cheaper than actual pre-made wipes, and you can absolutely find them in abundance at consignment stores and yard sales.
- Purchase Material to Make Your Own: Even for someone with limited or even no experience sewing, cloth wipes are very simple to make. Usually, they are made out of two layers of flannel, terry cloth, or other absorbent materials. Typically, they are sewn in around 9X9 inch squares, but you can make them larger or smaller depending on your preference.
- Use Recycled Fabric to Make Your Own: To save even more money while de-cluttering the various closets and dresser drawers in your home, you can make your own wipes from the old material, blankets, and clothes you've been meaning to get rid of anyway. Receiving blankets, t-shirts, and pajama pants all make excellent baby wipes, though you can really use any soft, absorbent material you have laying around.
Whether you choose just one of these options or a combination of them, you really can't go wrong. Remember, you will literally be using these to wipe a bottom, so don't stress about it too much!
Which storage method seems most appealing to you?
How Should I Store My Cloth Wipes?
There are two main methods of storing your wipes, and they have to do with whether you add the solution to them before or during diaper change.
- The Dry Method: With this method, you store your wipes separate from the solution. You can store them in a wipe box, small bag, basket, or even just in a stack on the changing table. Your solution should be stored in a spray bottle, and during diaper change, you will need to either spray the wipe itself or spray the solution directly onto your baby's bottom. The latter option seems to maximize the efficiency of the solution and minimize waste, but if your baby has been sleeping or it is particularly cold, I recommend the former.
- The Wet Method: For this method, you will pour our solution over your wipes beforehand so they will be pre-moistened when it comes time for diaper change. Because they will already be wet, you will need to store your wipes in a waterproof container with a lid. A wipe box, wet bag, or even a wipe warmer work perfectly for this. Keep in mind that if your solution contains a solid oil such as coconut oil, a wipe warmer is preferred so that it keeps the oil melted and your solution from separating.
What Type of Solution Should I Use for My Wipes?
As if you haven't had enough choices to make already, cloth wipe solution brings its own wide range of options. This part, though, is pretty interesting because you truly can personalize the solution to meet your little one's exact needs. Of course, you have to keep in mind that different solutions require different storage methods that will be discussed in the following section.
- Plain Old Water: Many moms stick with the tried, true, and simple solution of plain old water! Whether you are storing your wipes wet or dry, water is the simplest (and cheapest) option
- Pre-Made Solution: There are several pre-made solutions out there available for purchase. You can find solutions that are concentrated and must be mixed with water before use and you can find some that you are already ready for use!
- Make Your Own Solution: There are many, many different recipes for solutions that you can make yourself. They are easy to make, and most of them use ingredients that you already have around your home or that you can easily find in a local grocery store. Common ingredients include water, baby soap, baby lotion, baby oil, and essential oils such as lavender or tea tree. Each essential oil has their own properties that you may want to consider when choosing a recipe. For example, lavender is thought to be soothing for minor skin irritations (think diaper rash), relaxing, and antibacterial. Tea tree oil is thought to have antifungal properties which will keep those yeasty rashes away.
How Should I Wash My Cloth Wipes?
Washing your cloth wipes is INCREDIBLY easy- simply add them to your diaper laundry loads! If your wipes get particularly messy during a diaper change, you can dump the mess into the toilet and/or spray them with your diaper sprayer as per your usual routine. Most wipes will do just fine in the dryer, but if you typically dry your diapers on a clothesline, they will do great that way as well! In fact, if you use sun bleaching as a whitener for your diapers, you can absolutely do the same with your wipes if you notice any staining! Again, it is important not to stress too much about them! They won't be touching your baby's skin for a prolonged period of time, and they are not an adorable little fashion statement like your diapers! They are, plain and simply, the cleaners of the mess, and it will all come out in the wash!