Baby wipes are seen as one of life’s essentials when you have small children. And indeed, they are very useful — I certainly don’t allow myself to run out of them! However, recently I learned about washable wet wipes and I have to say I’m a convert! We still use disposable ones but we are moving towards the goal of full-time reusable wipe use, and it feels good to be doing something so significant for the planet, the health of my toddlers’ skin and my bank balance!
If you are cloth diapering anyway, it makes sense to use reusable wipes. It takes practically no extra effort, as they can be soaked (if necessary) along with your nappies and washed in the same wash. The only thing that takes a little more effort is preparing the solution for them but this is something that, once factored into your daily routine, is a total breeze. My son thoroughly enjoys helping me make up our washable wipe solution every few days!
In this article I will go over what you will need for full-time washable-wiping, and give you some ideas on how to make using them as easy and convenient as using disposables.
What should I use?
A quick search online will yield plenty of sites selling reusable wipes — some reasonably priced, some ridiculously expensive. We have a collection of a few different kinds. My favourite ones to use are the ones that cost absolutely nothing — all I did was cut up a few old facecloths and towels into the right size. That’s it. They are absorbent, hard wearing and cost practically nothing. I haven’t bothered hemming mine (I am a woman of many talents but sewing isn’t one of them), but you can if you wish. I also own a few double-sided wipes — velour on one side, fleece on the other — which I mainly use to clean sticky hands and faces as I don’t find them all that great on bottoms. I also have a couple of ridiculously soft and gentle fluffy ones which are lovely, but not so great for cleaning up ‘number two’s’! It’s often a case of trial and error; what works for some people may not work so well for you. Don’t spend too much on one kind of wipe — sample a few different types until you find some that you love.
How many do I need?
This, of course, is fully dependant on how often your little treasure goes to the bathroom (and how often you do your laundry!). You will probably find yourself acquiring way more than you need (much like cloth diapers!). For full-time washable wipe use, you will probably want to end up with somewhere around 30-40.
How do I use them?
All you need to do is find a Tupperware pot, fill it with water (or your chosen solution) and then squash as many wipes as you can into it until all of the water is soaked up. Then, you can throw it in your changing bag and use just as you would use disposables. Another idea is using a pump spray bottle (the kind you can buy for a few pence from the chemist) to transport your water or wipe solution, and just spray onto the wipes as needed.
There are a multitude of different solutions you can use; the joy of reusable wipes is that you can experiment with your own mixtures! It of course goes without saying to pre-test ANY new solution on your baby’s skin before using it — just drop a little of the solution onto an arm or leg, rub it on and watch it over a period of 24 hours to make sure there’s no reaction.
My favourite solution is a really easy one to make, using chamomile tea and lavender oil. Here’s the recipe, should you wish to give it a try!
- Chamomile Wipe Solution
- 1 cup chamomile tea
- Almond or sunflower oil (organic if you can)
- Lavender oil
Make a cup of the chamomile tea. You can do this straight into the Tupperware pot if that’s what you’re using, if not just make in a clean mug. Add to this a splash of the oil — this will help the wipes glide over the skin. Then just add a couple of drops of the lavender oil. This smells amazing, is an effective cleanser and has antifungal properties too!