Friday, November 11, 2011

Homemade Baby Wipes

What kind of baby wipes do I use?

...not Huggies or Pampers. Not knock-off brands either. I use cloth. Yep, cloth!

Why cloth wipes? 
Initially, we chose cloth diapering for both of the 'eco' reasons - economical and ecological. I will post more on my love of cloth diapers at some point, but for now, I want to share my experience about our cloth wipes and why I love them so!

Yes, using cloth leaves less of a footprint on our planet, and yes, it saves us oodles of money. And while those are good enough reasons to use cloth wipes, there is another reason cloth is so appealing to us. Unfortunately, disposable wipes are often made with chemicals that I would rather not apply to my baby's skin, especially in such sensitive areas. So for us, using cloth made a lot of sense for many reasons.

My background with cloth wipes...
When I entered the cloth diapering world during my pregnancy with Luke, I bought two packs of Bum Genius cloth wipes (12 in a pack, for about $12). I also splurged on a Prince Lionheart wipes warmer for about $25. I bought the 'warmies' version which is specifically designed for warming cloth wipes. I Googled ideas for ingredients for the wipes solution, and found I had many of the items already. Since Maggie has come along and I need more wipes on hand, I decided to cut up an old receiving blanket to add to our stash of wipes. (By this time, I was too frugal to pay $1 each for the name-brand cloth wipes!)

This is how I do it...
With two little ones, easy is the name of the game! I whip up a batch of wipe solution about twice a week. My recipe for wipes solution is as follows:

  • 1 tbsp witch hazel
  • 1-2 drops Vitamin E oil
  • 1-2 drops tea tree oil
  • 1-2 drops lavender oil
  • 1-2 drops calendula oil
  • a big bowl-full of hot water
Of course, this is approximate and I don't measure out my witch hazel, nor do I get upset if I add a drop or two more than I intend. I am often doing this with a baby in my arms and make mistakes!

I roll my wipes before I begin (as pictured) so they will fit in the warmer. Then I dip them in the bowl, wring them out, and place them in the warmer. After I fill the warmer, I fill three spray bottles with the leftover solution. One bottle stays upstairs for nighttime diaper changes, the other stays at the changing station downstairs right next to the warmer, and the final smaller bottle goes right into our diaper bag. I reserve a pile of wipes to keep dry, some which go into the diaper bag, while the others hang out near the warmer. Inevitably, I will run out of warm wipes and will use the spray bottle to wet the dry wipes on an as-needed basis. The whole thing is super easy and takes all of 5 minutes to do! (Just think.... no more emergency trips to Rite Aid because you are out of wipes! Saves time too!)

So I usually have my warmer filled, and the dry wipes are there if I need them. It makes diaper changes a cinch.

Let's compare...
It is estimated that you will use between 6000 and 8000 wipes on your baby in his first year. At $.03 per wipe, you will pay between $180 and $240 for disposable wipes each year! Even when you factor in the cost of washing the wipes (I make my own laundry detergent to help save moolah there too), you are still saving a significant amount of money by using cloth wipes.

And the grand total is....
$24: One time cost of wipes
$25: One time cost of warmer
$1:   Bottle of witch hazel (need about two per year)
$5:   Bottle of tea tree oil (still on first bottle after 18 months)
$5:   Bottle of lavender oil (working on second bottle after 18 months)
$5:   Bottle of calendula oil (still using first bottle)
$4:   Bottle of Vitamin E oil (still on our first bottle)

$68 for our first year of using cloth wipes!
Yearly investment to continue use of cloth wipes: less than $20 per year!

Go frugal mamas, go!

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I linked this post to Not JUST a Housewife and While He Was Napping


  1. Hi Nancy! thanks for visiting me. I used diaper cloth too for my little girl when she was just about less than a year due to infection from using commercial diapers. I don't use wet wipes either co'z it gives my baby rashes. What we did was just water and diluted Lactacyd (just sharing, i am not promoting). I used it everytime I need to wash my baby. No cotton, no wipes since we have to eliminate situation that causes the infection. Nancy, you are such a clever and frugal Mama. see you more often.

  2. Hi! Thanks! I totally forgot to mention the lack of diaper rash when using cloth... thanks for reminding me. It is really nice to not have to worry about creams and lotions to solve a rash problem! If there is ever any redness on their bottoms, I use the Vitamin E oil and by the next diaper change, the redness is usually gone.

    I'm definitely going to visit you often as well - LOVE DIY projects, especially mini projects! See you soon!