Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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Cloth wipes are the solution!

If cloth wipes are the solution, what's the problem? Sorting disposable wipes from the laundry, trying to speed through a diaper change without confusing a trash can and a wet bag, and peeling wipes off aplix were all giving me a headache! There are the environmental impacts, not to mention the cost of those little tossable papers, that all led me to switch to cloth wipes. I was nervous about it at first. Would baby's bottom actually get clean enough? What if the wipes get moldy? Do I really have to spend that much on baby washcloths??

Turns out, it's much easier than I thought. My cloth solution includes wipes, a warmer, and plain old h2o. My initial investment was $26 for a Prince Lionheart Warmer, and $4 for a set of receiving blankets on clearance. I cut the blankets into 70+ squares and used a serger to sew around the edges. Since my baby is an infant, she goes through at least 16 wipes a day, which is all the warmer can hold. I keep a spray bottle handy to wet a dry wipe in a pinch if I run out of them. At first, I tried mixing baby oils and mild soaps with the water but I was always nervous about how her skin would react. Now I just run a bundle under the sink, wring them out, and fold them while I wait in her room for her to get to sleep.


There is an elaborate set of directions for how to fold the wipes to avoid mold or bacteria growth. Plus, you use a special pillow at the bottom of the warmer. They cost about $7 and need to be replaced every three months. I start by folding all the moistened wipes into quarters on top of the warmer. Then I open the warmer and balance them on the side while I roll and stack them. Air circulation is important, so you don't want to fill the whole warmer. You leave space between the walls and the bottom row and then stack in a loose pyramid. If you have any wipes in the warmer at the beginning, put them on the top of the pile. The warmer has a nightlight so you can even do this in the dark.

We also use cloth wipes on the go. For now, I keep them dry in a Planetwise Wet Bag. It's nice to have the option to moisten them in advance for an outing. I can spritz them with a spray bottle or wet them in a bathroom sink, then they go right in the wetbag with the diapers. Some day soon I'll start experimenting with natural additives in the solution such as castille soap or tea tree oil, but I'm enjoying the simplicity and ease of plain water.

BIO: Jeannette is a budget-conscious mama with a degree in Design and Merchandising from Drexel University. She's transitioning to stay-at-home Mommyhood and loving it! Catch her daily at 5weeksearly.blogspot.com.

5 comments:

MamaBear said...

I love reading how others are making cloth wipes easier! I was a slow convert to cloth wipes but am so glad I made the switch! I was spending $13 on disposible wipes almost every month!

I use a tee tree oil and castille soap combo with distilled water and have had no issues with my daughters skin. I spritz her bottom and then wipe with a dry wipe.

The one area I still struggle with is cloth wipes on the go. I'm so afraid she's gonna pee in the time I'm getting the wipes ready that I just use disposibles for now....I like your idea of taking wet ones olong!

Liz said...

I've been using the same warmer for a year now, I fill it with a simple stack of wipes that are just folded in half flat and pour solution right over them. I've never had any mold and have never heard of these rules before...did they add them to the warmer instructions?

Selina said...

Wow, I have the same warmer, but I've never gone through all that trouble with the way the wipes go in the warmer... I just fold all of my wipes in half (they are 8X8 inches), and stack them right in until the warmer is full. Nothing special about a pyramid or airflow. I usually use all the wipes in the warmer every 3 days. I've done it this way for 18 months now, and have never had a moldy or stinky wipe. I'm glad that system works for you, but that would be too much work for me to bother with.

So anyone else reading this and feeling like it sounds like too much work - there's an easier way!!

Nancy said...

We love our cloth wipes too! Not only for the reasons you mentioned, but because even the "natural" wipes are ranked as somewhat hazardous on the cosmetics database, which is shocking! I use a great smelling recipe for our cloth wipes, because IMHO, if my baby can tolerate the harsh chemicals that are in even in the "natural" disposable wipes, she can handle the truly natural essentials oils. I find her skin to be somewhat sensitive, and she is fine with this recipe. My son has very agreeable skin, and has always loved his warm cloth wipes, even now at nearly 20 months, he asks for them!

I even use cloth wipes when I use disposables!

Here's my recipe:

large bowl of water
1-2 tbsp witch hazel
2-3 drops lavender
2-3 drops tea tree oil
1-2 drops calendula

I don't actually measure, FYI, and I buy the big bottle of tea tree oil from Whole Foods since I use a few drops every few times I was the diapers. Tea tree is also great at the bottom of the diaper pail, under the wet bag.

Great post! I

Traci Martin-Robinson said...

where do we purchase this special pillow at the bottom to avoid mold?