Tuesday, October 15, 2013

All About Cloth Wipes

Using cloth wipes is probably more debated in cloth diaper circles than most diapering situations, so I wanted to provide my thoughts on the topic.  As a previous disposable diaper and disposable wipe user, getting used to the "poop situation" was a hard enough transition with diapers that originally I just used disposable wipes.  For the first few weeks of using cloth I would end up picking dirty wipes out of a diaper so that I could dispose of them or see them come out of the dryer when doing my laundry.  At the time I was only using cloth on my 18 month old and was using disposable diapers/wipes on my newborn.  After my newborn got a horrible diaper rash that required a prescription (read: expensive) medication, my Pediatrician actually recommended that we switch to cloth wipes because she said that the chemicals in wipes are actually harder on baby's skin than the diapers.  So the health benefits paired with the convenience had me sold to at least try cloth wipes.

Making Wipes

Since I have a serger and some sewing knowledge I decided to make my own.  I did a lot of research on the best materials to use for cloth wipes and I decided that I would use flannel on one side and terry cloth on the other side.  The flannel is nice and soft, but the terry cloth is the real workhorse of the wipe when it comes to dirty diapers.  I cut my wipes to be approximately 8x7 (I honestly just cut them to maximize the piece of fabric, since it doesn't really matter, but I try to get close to 8x7), put them wrong sides together and then serge around them.  Easy. As. That!  I estimate that they cost me about $1 for 3 wipes and only take a few minutes to put together.

Storing wipes

The first question people have when using cloth wipes is how to store and wet them.  We already had wipes warmers for our disposable wipes, so I decided to just use them for the cloth wipes.  I was pleasantly surprised that the warmer works even better for the cloth wipes!!!  Disposable wipes cool very quickly and are practically cold by the time they hit baby's bottom but cloth wipes stay nice and warm...mmmm.  I just put my wet wipes in the warmer and they are all ready for when my girls need a new diaper.
Other common solutions are to keep a spray bottle or peri bottle with your solution next to your changing station and wet wipes as you go or keep moistened wipes in an old disposable container.  There are even YouTube videos that can show you how to fold them to pop up. 

Wipe Solutions

There are many different options for what you can use to moisten you wipes, there are a lot of different recipes online and 1000 different combinations, see some popular ones here.  Because we were trying to stay away from any unnecessary chemicals I decided to use just water for our wipes.  I buy gallons of distilled water as it will help keep your wipes fresher.  I did try out just using tab water for a few weeks and even with being changed every other day they still smelled musty, so I went back to distilled.  I also was really interested in trying out soap bits for my wipes and ordered some.  After 2 weeks of use I can definitely say that I am not as excited as I thought I would be.  I honestly don't feel like they get my daughters any cleaner and while the smell is nice I have noticed more instances of diaper rash while using wipe bits than with just plain water. 

Using Wipes

Using your wipes may seem like a simple process, but if you are like me than you probably over think the whole process.  For wet diapers I just use the wipe and throw it in with the diaper and stick it all in my pail.  For dirty diapers I only use the terry cloth side of the wipe and then fold them in half with the terry and mess on the inside.  I lay these on top of my diaper (not inside) and then put the diaper and wipes in a plastic pan to take to the bathroom to be sprayed off.  Because the flannel side is clean, I can easily grab the wipe, open it up and spray it off.  Once every thing has been sprayed, I just dump everything into my pail.

So after all of this I would say that I LOVE my cloth wipes.  My husband, who was very skeptical about cloth diapers in general, loves them even more than I do.  Because I made about 60 wipes, I also keep some in the kitchen to clean faces and hands after meals, wipe up spit up with them, use them as washcloths, etc.  Once you use a cloth wipe you will never want to use a disposable wipe or paper towel again!

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  1. I do not think my husband would be able to handle the thought of using cloth wipes whatsoever! For myself, I don't know about all the laundry! I guess for us it's just easier to use disposable, I would probably end up just throwing a lot of the very dirty ones away anyways! But, you did a great job making them!

  2. I haven't tried cloth wipes yet even though I have been cloth diapering. This has given me the push I needed to try them out. Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad you are inspired to try them!! I love them but my biggest hurdle was figuring out the logistics so hopefully this post helped!