Have you ever wondered about all those unpronounceable ingredients in your baby's bath and diaper products? One way to take back control over which ingredients come in contact with baby is to make your own baby wipes. Wipes are the single most widely used bath product in any mom's arsenal. 6-8 wet or dirty diapers a day means an awful lot of instances of wipes in contact with tiny tushies.
The idea first came to me while I had my stay in the hospital after having my daughter. The nurses brought piles and piles of diapers, but never any wipes. They brought everything imaginable for me to use while taking care of my baby, just short of a Boppy pillow. But no wipes. My husband was the first to change her diaper and the nurses instructed him that all we really need to use is warm water and paper towels. Hmmm... That got my wheels turning.
I started researching baby wipe recipes. I had compiled some of my favorite and the best, most natural recipes to make your own baby wipes I could find. And well, I tried them all out over time. Now I'll share with you what worked, what didn't, and what I liked the best.
You then mix up the wipes solution and dump it into the container over the paper towels. You are supposed to let it all soak into the towels and simply use them as you would a regular disposable baby wipe...
In theory this kind of makes a lot of sense, right? But there are definite pit falls. Like mushy paper towels and poking holes wile your wiping. Ewww! The key is to use a really good paper towel. One that can withstand sitting in a pool of liquid for as long as it takes you to use them all up.
I tried a few different kinds of towels. The one that held up the best for me was, to my surprise, Bounty. I had absolutely no problem with them falling apart or anything. Many other paper towel brands failed the test.
The next step is a great wipes solution recipe. A sub par recipe can make or break you DIY baby wipes. Too much soap makes the project kind of a mess and each wipe is just too soapy. Too much oil leaves a yucky residue and I never felt like the baby was getting really clean. Too much water and the wipes have to be wrung out before you use them.
The Cons - Yes this method of homemade baby wipes does work, but cutting the roll of paper towels in half is a serious pain in the butt. Not to mention left me with a mess to clean up. I didn't love the size of the wipe. It would make more sense to tear them up individually and then fold them into the container, but then again, a whole lot of work. I gave up on this method pretty quickly, after experimenting with a few different recipes and towel brands.
The trick is to simply whip up a baby wipes recipe solution and keep it in it's own container such as a spray bottle. You do not need to soak the towels for any period of time, just apply the solution to the wipe when you need it. By the way, Viva is great for this method, but did not work well at all for the method I described earlier. If you soak them in the solution for too long they break apart as you are using them.
Cloth baby wipes are my ultimate pick! Cloth baby wipes are great for those of you who are eco aware. They save money too, since you will be able to use them over and over again. No more buying endless packages of baby wipes or paper towels.
You can choose to sew them yourself, but I also have a easy DIY way to do it too.
The DIY way? Easy! You can use either a a couple of receiving blankets or go buy some flannel on sale at a local fabric store. All you have to do is cut the fabric into large squares. These kind of fabrics are not going to unravel easily. You can use it over and over no problem, as is. I would suggest using the receiving blankets they give you in the hospital. I know I ended up with about 3-4 of these by the time I left the hospital, and I never used them again after. I had too many nice blankets at home to really need them.
To sew them yourself? Not too hard either. Pick a fabric you want to use. All you have to do is cut it into large squares, all of equal size. Pair two squares together and sew them together. There are two ways to do it. If you are using a flannel fabric I would suggest just zig-zag stitching all around the outside edges of the fabric.
Otherwise sew the squares shut with a standard sewing stitch leaving just a 1-2" opening. Turn the fabric inside out, and then hand stitch the opening shut, folding in the edges as you go. Iron the seams flat and you're done!
And yes, it is more laundry and you may even be thinking "gross!", that is unless your cloth diapering and it's just par for the course. But I have a trick for this too! I keep a special container near the diaper station for deodorizing and disinfecting baby wipes. I like to use an old plastic kitty little container. You know the kind with the wide mouth screw on lid and a handle. Inside I keep it half full with a mixture of water with about 1/3 cup white vinegar and a squirt of Doctor Bronner's baby soap. You could use any soap though.
Each time I use a wipe I drop it in the container. When it's time to put them in the laundry I just pour the whole thing into the laundry and do a small load on it's own. I do one rinse before washing, and then reset the cycle to start over and add my soap and a little more vinegar.
This is a very basic recipe. There are many variations you could use to swap out different ingredients. For example instead of almond or apricot oil you could sub avocado oil or grapeseed oil. Use lavendar oil for soothing baby's skin, or a drop of tea tree or orange oil for a healing wipes recipe. One word of caution though - essential oils can be very powerful. Always do a bit of research on the oil you intend to use and always, always dilute the oil in a carrier oil or water before applying to the skin.
Super Gentle Wipes Recipe
This is the recipe I would use after a bad diaper rash. It is super gentle and soothing.