Tuesday, January 20, 2009

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Wipe-Out!

When thinking about cloth diapers it’s easy to forget about the little details, such as cloth wipes. If you’re already committed to cloth diapering – using cloth wipes is truly the easiest and economical way to go!

There are many types of cloth wipes available; terry cloth, organic cotton, flannel, bamboo, velour, hemp, etc… My personal favorite is terry cloth wipes such as Kissaluvs Knit Terry wipes. Knit terry fabric is coarse enough to thoroughly wipe up the messiest bowel movement but is still gentle on your little one’s skin. Oftentimes I can even clean my little man’s monster poo with one terry knit wipe (although I typically use an extra one for good measure). For pee-only diaper changes I like to use a cotton wipe, such as the bumGenius Egyptian Cotton wipes (these came as part of my bumGenius Shop and Go Pak).

On a tight budget? You can make your own wipes by purchasing a ½ - 1 yard of fabric (depending on how many wipes you want to make); cut the fabric into even-sized squares then stitch and/or serge the edges to prevent the material from fraying. Here’s an example of the double sided terry wipes I made myself with some stretch terry knit fabric I found on clearance at my local Wal-Mart. My daughters even helped me put the squares of fabric together and handed them to me as they were ready to be sewn.
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A solution for your wipes solution…
The cloth diapering fun never ends; once you find the cloth wipe you like best – you can experiment with wipe solutions too! There are some who choose to use only water. I’ve tried this approach but found with numerous diaper changes throughout the day a little moisturizer is needed to prevent excessive skin dryness.

There are many great reviews for the more popular wipes solutions: Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion, Baby Bits, and Northern Essence Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Free Wipes Solution. I’d love to try these, but since I prefer to save my cloth diaper “allowance” for diapers, I’ve chosen to make my own wipes solution. I use 2 teaspoons of Burt’s Bee’s Baby Wash and 2 teaspoons of Burt’s Bees Apricot Baby Oil with 2 cups of water; this solution is enough for approximately 20 wipes.

Other recommendations for DIY wipes solutions: boil water with lavender and/or chamomile tea bags and let cool (strain if necessary), then add a little oil (such as olive oil) if desired.

I prefer to have my wipes wet and ready to go, so I store them in a wipe warmer (which I will discuss in a moment). However you may store the solution in a spray bottle and either wet the wipes as needed or spray directly on baby’s bum.
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Storing and Warming Your Wipes…
Although I use a wipe warmer it’s essentially a glorified storage box as I’ve chosen not to use the warming feature. I could have used a plastic storage box (or a recycled plastic wipes box), but I still had the wipe warmer my dad bought me 4 years ago – so I might as well use it for storage if nothing else.

The warming feature is great, especially for babies who detest a cold wipe against their skin. Take a cold wipe and slap it against the skin on your stomach to test for yourself how cold wipes actually feel and you would understand why so many babies cry during diaper changes. My little guy doesn’t seem to care either way so for the sake of less maintenance I’ve chosen not to warm them.

If you do utilize a wipe warmer you need to be a bit more attentive as the combination of water and warmth can cause a few problems, namely musty smells or even mold. To deter smells and/or mold avoid using too many wipes in the warmer (no more than you can use in less than a day). You may also consider adding a couple drops of Tea Tree Oil (TTO) to your solution. Tea Tree Oil has antifungal properties and will help ward off any potential problems with mold and also combats smell.

Another way to have warm wipes is to use a small thermal pump pot. Basically fill the pump pot with a little of your warm solution (or plain water) and this will keep it warm for at least 8 hours, maybe longer. Just pump a little water onto your wipe and voila – instant warm wipe!

More savings!
We all know the significant savings we gain by using cloth diapers; but those figures don’t typically factor in the cost of disposable wipes. When I used disposable wipes I would purchase them in bulk from Costco Warehouse. A box of 704 wipes (8 packages of 88 wipes each) costs approximately $16; which breaks down to $0.02 per wipe. Two pennies may not seem like much, but over the course of time they certain add up especially when you’re using a few dozen a day! By switching to cloth wipes I estimate a person can save a minimumof $100 each year!

NOTE: If experimenting with your own solution be very careful not to use too much of any one ingredient, especially oils and essentials oils. If you use too much, you not only risk causing harm to your little one’s skin, but the oils can deposit onto your diapers causing an oily buildup leading to leaking and repellency problems.

- By Serena

30 comments:

Dani said...

Great, informative article! I found my cloth wipes through etsy and love them. If I could sew, I would just make my own. It does seem easy enough.

Kira said...

Thanks Serena! That was a great post! I also like experimenting with homemade solutions. I've tried various combinations of small amounts of gentle baby wash, TTO, lavender oil, etc. It is important not to use too much of any one ingredient, and a very small amount of the essential oils goes a LONG way. I really recommend the Prince Lionheart wipes warmer with the "Everfresh" pillow. I find that adding distilled water and a very small amount of witch hazel helps to keep the "funky mustiness" at bay (I usually go through the wipes in 2 days). I'd love to read other people's suggestions for wipes solutions, especially for babies with sensitive skin.

kira_williams2003@yahoo.com

the momma said...

Thank you, thank you! That helps so much! I've made my own wipes with paper towels before, but it still seems counterproductive to a waste not philosophy! 2 pennies may not seem like a lot, but when there's a lot of wiping to do, and you have to use up to 7 wipes sometimes, and that's only on 1 child... Some days I could probably go through almost a dollar's worth of wipes! I'm excited to switch full time to cloth wipes!

Katrina said...

When I switched to cloth wipes, I did it because it was easier than disposables after I started cloth diapering. I never really thought about the savings, but it really does add up. esp when you consider that during the big messy changes, you can go through 4-6 wipes. I store my wipes in old plastic disposable wipe containers. For on the go, I take along the wipe solution in a foam bottle and use as needed with dry wipes. The solution I use, punkin booty bits, is made by a work at home mom. It's awesome - she has somewhere between 30-40 different scents available, in addition to unscented for babies with sensitive skin. All I have to do is dissolve it in warm water and it's ready to go.

Kelly said...

The first couple weeks I started cloth diapering, before I made my wipes, I just used disposable wipes. I found it very hard to use disposable wipes because you can't just put them in the diaper, you have to think of a disposal option, like a second garbage can. To me it is just easier to use cloth wipes. The ones I made are flannel on one side, which is nice and soft, and fleece on the other, which is also very soft, but has a little coarse-ness for stubborn poop that is stuck on my baby's bum. Also, I tend to use a lot of wipes, and find that I use fewer with the cloth. But even if I still used a lot, it wouldn't matter because they are cloth and just need to be washed. And they wash very easily. I don't really have any stains on my wipes.

Cecile said...

Thank you for this post!!! It's full of info and ideas, and it's perfect timing too. I've almost gone through my last disposable wipe container, and I'm about to try and sew my own cloth wipes. I don't know anything about sewing, but a friend of mine said she would help me.

Kelly Wels said...

Yes, this is a very informative post. Thanks Serena, My favorite wipes are the Thirsties Fab Wipes. We use them for everything.
Keep checking back this week as we do have a post on "making your own cloth wipes"

Nikki said...

I love cloth wipes too. I make a wipes solution very similar to the one described in the post: using 1 cup brewed chamomile tea, 1 tsp Burt's Bees Baby Wash, 1 tsp baby oil, and 2 drops lavender oil. It works great and I love the lavender scent. I also pre-wet my wipes and store them in an empty plastic disposable wipes box. It's so nice to just toss the used wipes into the diaper pail with the diapers instead of having to dispose of the separately. I'm using baby washcloths: the ones you get as baby gifts and never use because you have SO MANY! But I'm going to try making some flannel ones here soon. Thanks for a great post!

Jut and Chris said...

Thanks for all the tips! I'm planning on using them with baby #2. I can't wait!

MommyCat said...

Thanks for the great post! I'm just getting started on cloth diapering and I have a bunch of cloth wipes a friend gave me. However, I had no idea how to us them effectively. This gives me a great starting point for making my own solution. I plan on using a recycled wipes container, as the wipes I have are the same size as disposable wipes. Now, if the baby would just make it's appearance, we could get started!

Angela said...

Scrap fabric is the perfect material for wipes. They do not need to be very big, about 6-8" square, and you can always find some cute scraps.

Jess said...

Thank You, Serena!!!!!

Chic Mama said...

I made my own solutions with my son and they always smelled so yummy! I will definitely be warming the wipes this next time around!

Kelly said...

Thanks for the post. I have finally converted to cloth wipes after using disposable entirely for son #1. I can't believe how easy the cloth wipes are in comparison. I do still need to switch to cloth wipes on-the-go and love the comments on how other moms use them on-the-go.

For wipe solution, all I have needed to use is a little J&J baby wash and some warm water. I don't fill my wipe container but a couple of inches and that will last me a couple of days, just like my diapers. I haven't had any funky smells so it seems to work. I also tried the baby bits but it seemed to irritate my son's skin worse than just plain baby wash.

Kelly said...

Forgot to mention that I keep my cloth wipes dry and dip them in my solution prior to wiping baby bottom. But might have to try pre-wetting them and storing them in my container and see how that works.

Sara in Seattle said...

thanks so much! Haven't yet experimented with my own wipe solution, but that's next on my list. Cloth wipes are so easy!

Shari & Andrew said...

Thanks for the "recipe" for the wipes solution--I've just been using water, but I think I'm going to try the Burt's bees solution you mentioned

Umm Sayf said...

Thanks Serena!
As always, wonderful tips.
I just wanted to share my cloth wipe solution - warm water and olive oil.
I use about 1tsp olive oil to 8oz warm water, mix it up really good, and pour over a few wipes that I have neatly folded in my wipe warmer. It takes about 40 wipes and about 3 cups of solution to fill the wipe warmer, and it usually lasts me until I wash dipes - about 2 1/2 days!

gibsonfam said...

I like the idea of using chamomile tea. I think I'll try that this week with my wahm wipes (which I really like). Thanks for a great post!

Erika said...

Thanks for that article......I've been wondering about cloth wipes.

Amanda said...

When I decided to do cloth diapers I decided to do the cloth wipes as well. That way I don't have to fish anything out on wash day...and it's better for baby & Mommy's wallet.

For the diaper bag I use a plastic wipes case personalized w/ DD's name (a shower gift) which can hold 5-8 cloth wipes. But I have noticed that if I leave any wipes in the case overnight they will get a musty smell.

I use my wipe warmer and love it! I generally stock it with about 24 wipes which will last me 2-3 days depending on how many poo changes I have. I have never had a problem w/ mold or musty smells. I do have to make them a little extra wet however to prevent the bottom wipes from browning. But a gentle squeeze before using them dose the trick.

I have never made a wipe solution. Instead, to freshen DD's bottom after a poo I use Gentle Care Cheeky Clean Diaper Area Cleanser. I give a few spritzes directly onto her bottom (which always makes her laugh) and then I pat dry with a cloth that I keep at the changing table...so as not to leave to much oil on her skin. (I change the cloth out every few days). It smells lovely and also helps combat rashes.

Amanda said...

I have only used cloth diapers for one week now and am also experimenting with cloth wipes. I am adding a couple of drops of tea tree oil to my water along with a little baby soap. Does anyone know how much tea tree oil is too much with pocket diapers???? Or at least how little is safe?

Serena said...

Hi Amanda!
Welcome to the wonderful world of cloth diapering!

When making your own wipes solution using tea tree oil, I would recommend no more than 2 (maybe 3) drops maximum for 1 1/2 - 2 cups of water. Otherwise, you risk the the scent being a bit too strong and you don't want to have too much oil which can potentially cause build-up when you wash the wipes along with your diapers.

Hope this helps!

Amanda said...

Thanks Serena for the clarification! I had to strip my diapers last week after using 1 tsp Olive Oil (as recommended in a post above) and not more than 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of water. I'm not sure which was the problem, but there was a build-up problem with my pocket diapers. After going back to a small squirt of baby soap and 2 drops of tea tree oil in 1 1/2 cups of water I am not having any trouble with build-up so far. Thank you for being a bit more specific! Amanda

Kimmy said...

I love using my cloth wipes and I use a wipes solution that smells sooo much better than the throw away wipes! Thanks for the info on warming, my little guy hates a cold wipe and I'm going to look into a small thermal pump pot.

Stacy Whalen said...

I know this is a comment on an old post, but I thought I'd ask if anyone uses baby washcloths (sold in 12 pack) I have these and found them to be a little too thick and rough, although I use them anyway. I also have very thin flannel wipes I bought from somewhere (??). They work much better to get into little nooks and crannies!

Upstatemomof3 said...

This is a great article. We use the millions of wash cloths we were given as our wipes. I have no idea why but our families bought SO many wash cloths for the kids that we would never otherwise use. So, they are our wipes and I love them - way better than disposable ones. :)

Mindy said...

Great tip for homemade wipes solution.
"I use 2 teaspoons of Burt’s Bee’s Baby Wash and 2 teaspoons of Burt’s Bees Apricot Baby Oil with 2cups of water; this solution is enough for approximately 20 wipes."

I too want to save my pennies in hopes of convincing hubby that I need more diapers :)

Kim said...

Thanks for the article! I have a question about the homemade wipe solution you shared. My baby wears BumGenius 3.0's, and I'm currently using Thirsties booty luster as my wipe solution. I used bumgenius bottom cleaner before this. I would love to make my own solution but the only solution recipes I've found include oil. The Cotton Babies support people say that the oil will ruin the diapers. Is this true? Do you know of any solution recipes without oil?? Thank you!

seahorse said...

Cloth wipes are what started me the whole cloth diaper kick. My son was always getting rashes from wipes when I switched over no more rashes!