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Make Your Own Cloth Baby Wipes: Eco-Friendly and Save Money

Updated on May 14, 2011
A baby's changing station has a stack of cloth baby wipes standing at the ready. A plastic box of store-bought disposable paper wipes shares the changing station for any industrial size messes.
A baby's changing station has a stack of cloth baby wipes standing at the ready. A plastic box of store-bought disposable paper wipes shares the changing station for any industrial size messes.

It's Easy To Make Eco Friendly Fabric Baby Wipes

When it comes to a new baby, many people want to go green.

People who don't hesitate to use chemical bath and body care products in their own daily regimen quickly become tree-hugging-green when it comes to their newborns; they want as pure and eco-friendly an environment for their little one as they can make. That means they buy onesies made from organic cotton. They invest in fragrance-free, dye-free, chemical-free laundry detergent. Their bottles are either BPA-free plastic or glass. Come time for solid food, that food is all organic. Many parents also choose to go the cloth diaper route.

It's incredibly easy and cost-effective to go that extra step and use cloth wipes, too. You reap all the same benefits with fabric wipes as you do with cloth diapers. Cloth diaper wipes can also save you money.

A stack of home made cloth baby wipes in a variety of colorful flannel fabrics.
A stack of home made cloth baby wipes in a variety of colorful flannel fabrics.

Step by Step Instructions to Make Your Own Fabric Cloth Baby Wipes

To make your own fabric baby wipes you will need:

  • Flannel or terrycloth fabric. You can buy this at any fabric store like Jo-Ann Fabrics. One mom I know bought flannel remnants on sale for $1.99 a yard.
  • Sewing machine, serging machine or even a hand-held sewing device.

You don't even need to know how to sew well to make your own cloth baby wipes. It is very easy to make fabric baby wipes that save you money and that are better for your baby and the environment than the landfill-clogging paper wipes most parents use.

Here is how you make double-sided cloth baby wipes:

  1. Cut the flannel or terrycloth, whatever material you are using, into a 7-inch by 7-inch square. (You can also make these 8-inch by 8-inch or even 8-inch by 7-inch. The actual size is up to you, though this hub s based on a 7-inch square wipe, which seems the best size to be both useful and to maximize the fabric.)
  2. Place two squares of material together with the outside — the pattern— touching. Sew or serge around three sides of the square, leaving one end open. It should look like a pocket or like a square oven mitt.
  3. Turn the wipe inside out, so that the bright pattern is now on the outside. Once you have it right side-facing out, sew or serge that final edge, closing the "pocket."
  4. Voilà! You now have a homemade cloth baby wipe in about one minute flat!

OsoCozy Flannel Baby Wipes - Reusable And Washable - 15 Pack (Unbleached)
OsoCozy Flannel Baby Wipes - Reusable And Washable - 15 Pack (Unbleached)

You also can buy cloth wipes if the DIY thing isn;t for you!


How To Use Cloth Wipes

Basically, you use a fabric baby wipe just as you would use a cloth baby wipe from Costco or Babies R Us.

Cloth wipes obviously are not pre-treated with the solution that makes Wet Ones wet, so you will need to apply your own solution to the wipes to make them effective at cleaning a baby's bottom. It is easy to make a diaper spray solution to use with your baby wipes.

  1. Take a spray bottle and fill it most of the way with distilled water.
  2. Add witch hazel and an essential oil like lavender, tea tree oil or chamomile, which have great aromatherapy properties and will give the baby and its diaper a clean scent. Lavender, for example, is incredibly soothing, while tea tree oil is naturally microbial.
  3. Spray the diaper spray directly onto a clean fabric wipe; it will be cold and shocking if you spray it directly onto the baby's bottom.
  4. Use the fabric wipe exactly as you would use a paper wipe, only throw the cloth wipe into your diaper bin or a wet bag instead of in the garbage can after you have used the wipe.

Do not use any essential oil like peppermint or spearmint in your diaper spray as this will really aggravate the area and will cause your baby great discomfort! Making your own diaper spray is a great way to make sure that you are not using harsh chemicals or perfumes on your baby's tender skin when you don't have to!

You also can buy a wipes warmer if you want your baby's diaper change to be a luxurious experience, though the energy used to warm the wipes will counteract some of the environmental good you are doing by using cloth wipes.

In the event of diaper rash, there are also all natural homeopathic remedies you can use. One is to use coconut oil, at room temperature. This is naturally antiseptic and is both easily spread and highly soothing. You also can try olive oil or lanolin on an uncomfortable diaper rash.

The Case For Cloth Diapers Spreads to Fabric Baby Wipes

There are numerous reasons that parents choose to use cloth diapers instead of the disposable ones made by Pampers or Huggies, or even the slightly-more eco-friendly disposable diapers made from recycled materials and without dyes or bleaches.Among the reasons to use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers listed by the Real Diapers Association are health reasons, environmental reasons and cost reasons:

  • Health: Cloth diapers are soft and chemical-free next to a baby's sensitive skin, and can reduce the number of uncomfortable rashes your baby suffers.
  • Environmental: Americans use over 20 billion diapers each year, and almost all of those end up in landfills. Diapers are the third greatest consumer item in our landfils, and nobody knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose.
  • Cost: Most children use 6,000 diapers by the time they turn two years old. With diapers costing around 30 cents each for a name brand diaper, that works out to about $1,800 for two-years' worth of diapers — before tax. Even counting a higher water and electric bill for more frequent loads of laundry, cloth diapers cost a fraction of paper diapers.

For many parents, using cloth diapers is a total no-brainer, yet they don't take the obvious next step and use cloth baby wipes, too.

The case for reusable cloth baby wipes is much the same as the case for cloth diapers: They are soft and you know they are chemical free because you wash them, and you buy the material. You know the wipes won't clog up landfills because you wash and re-use them rather than throw them away after one swipe of a dirty bottom. And you will save a lot of money using cloth wipes or fabric wipes rather than paper wipes.


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    • s.carver profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, guys. And interesting point, livelonger. My sister is the Martha Stewart in-training who made these... and lo and behold, she has a daughter!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      What a cute idea! Voted up and useful :D

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      This is very cool! I would not use lavender or tea tree oil, though, for wiping little boys. Apparently there are estrogenic effects to these oils that can affect boys hormonally.


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