Cloth Wipes Solution DIY
Updated: Mar 31
Diapering a baby generally creates SO much garbage.
It's estimated that one baby produces approximately 1/2 a ton (about 450 kg) of diapering waste and scientists predict it will take up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose! BUT adjusting to life with a baby and all the demands it brings can make it so difficult to choose earth friendly options like cloth diapering.
If you're not feeling up for cloth diapering (or if you are!) let's look at another area that can still have a big impact - cloth wipes. It's easy to underestimate how many disposable wipes you'll use in diapering years until you see how quickly you burn through one of those mega boxes... over and over again. Although it's thought wipes will only take up to 100 years to decompose, that's most likely longer than your baby's life span! Read on for a simple cloth wipe solution that only needs about 5 minutes of your time every few weeks and will take a chunk out of your diapering waste (and budget)!
Changing to cloth wipes is not only simple, but both my husband and I really prefered using them over disposables. Here's why:
The cloths are usually bigger than disposable wipes, which is especially nice for really gross messes and when that little baby bum isn't so little anymore.
They are much more effective at getting stuck on/dried on/gooped on messes off because they have some texture, but they also feel more soft and gentle on baby's bum.
Our fingers have never gone through one. Eww.
The ingredients in the wipe solution below are all natural (and the cloths you choose can be as well) so I'm confident I'm not wiping harmful chemicals all over such a vulnerable area.
For the sake of the planet and our children's future on it! Disposable wipes production and decomposition affect forests, groundwater, oceans, ocean life and more. And in the end, they affect our health as well.
Although you can try just using water, I found it didn't feel cleansing enough or stay fresh while sitting in a bowl for a day or two. Here's a simple concentrated wipe solution you can make up, having some available in a bowl by the change table and the rest in the fridge for the future!
Cloth Wipe Solution Recipe
In a small bowl, combine:
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1/4 cup witch hazel
1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
10 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops tea tree essential oil
Mix well with a fork, pour into a 1L jar and fill the jar to the top with distilled, bottled or boiled & cooled water. Shake to mix and store it in your fridge.
To use, give the jar a shake, then combine approximately 1/2 cup solution and 3 cups water (distilled, bottled, boiled & cooled OR tap water in a pinch) in a bowl.
How long the bowl of solution lasts depends on usage but you'll have enough solution in your jar to do this 8 times!
Keep the bowl by your change table with a pile of cloth wipes (aka baby wash cloths you can find at pretty much any store with a baby section). If you're cloth diapering, toss the dirty wipes in the diaper pail. If not...
We had cloth diapered all our babies, but I only figured out this wipe solution with our last. Now that our little guy is potty trained but wearing a disposable diaper for sleeping (and pooping - he's definitely saving all his poops for bedtime!!), I really wanted to find a way to continue using cloth wipes without a diaper pail to toss them into. Here's what we do:
Use the disposable diaper or a wipe to get the main mess off
Use cloth wipes for the thorough wiping
Toss the dirty cloth wipes into a separate bowl by the change table
When it's time for a load of laundry, dump the dirty wipes in with the load and wash normally*
Even if you don't have these solution ingredients on hand, it's worth picking them up for this. If you've just had your baby, you're looking at wiping that little bum daily for the next 2-4 years, so you'll get good use out of them! Also, every one of them is generally good things to have on hand - check out the links on each ingredient above to learn more about how to use them!
One last note: to save even more time, feel free to estimate the amounts while making the concentrated solution and filling up your bowl (this isn't an exact science, the amounts are flexible). Or, if you have one, make it in a glass measuring cup so you can see how much you've added as you pour each ingredient in. SO simple!
Are you interested in other good-for-your-baby and good-for-the-planet options? Check out these Oatmeal Honey Goat's Milk Soaps for bath time. You'll be hard pressed to find a baby soap that's more simple, natural or nourishing for your little one!
*We haven't had an issue at all combining the wipes with our regular laundry. We actually began doing this with the cloth diapers, giving them a short cold wash before adding the rest of the clothes, and our cloth diapers were more clean and better smelling by far than trying to wash them any other way over the years because they were being washed way more frequently. When adding the cloth wipes to your laundry, no short cold wash is needed, just toss them in and go!
(As always, other than links to my own products, the links included in this post will bring you to more information, not where to buy a product.)