I will admit I didn’t use cloth wipes right away. I had assumed I would be overwhelmed in those first couple weeks with a newborn and I thought using cloth wipes would be over the top and a pain.
My feelings on the matter lasted about four days until I looked at the ingredients listed on the back of the wipes box one afternoon after changing yet another explosive newborn diaper. Two things jumped out at me: the main ingredient was alcohol, and several parabens were listed. Alcohol is not soothing to sensitive skin for sure. At least not until you add plenty of other strange ingredients. And debating the merits of additives that have been banned in several countries for being cancerous seems silly in the context of smearing them all over a baby’s skin. I began in earnest to look for wipes that did not contain these ingredients and found the availability to be lacking. There certainly was nothing conveniently found in any of my local stores.
Cloth wipes were suddenly looking much better to me.
Cloth wipes are probably the easiest and cheapest diapering accessory to add to your routine. While there are plenty of brands and styles of wipes and wipe solutions available for purchase, You probably don’t need to purchase any supplies at all (although it sure can be fun). No matter how adorable the colored prints and soft Sherpa appeals to you, sometimes a cheaper route works just as well or better. After all, many cloth diaper users entered the world of cloth for frugality reasons.
Any baby washcloth, or any washcloth really, can be used as a cloth wipe. Or, if you have any leftover fleece, flannel, terrycloth, etc, from a sewing project, you can make your own! My stack of wipes consists of baby washcloths I received as a gift and some simple flannel squares with serged edges.
Wipe solution doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive either. There are plenty of recipes to be found with a simple internet search. Some people just use plain water in a spray bottle. Some recipes contain witch hazel, essential oils, liquid soap, olive oil, etc. If you make a solution using baby oil or baby wash, I suggest reading the ingredients first, since some of these items contain the additives and chemicals you may be trying to avoid in disposable wipes, defeating part of your cloth purpose. Basically, any gentle cleanser diluted in plenty of water will work. Since it will be so diluted, you can toss your wipes right into the diaper pail and wash them with your cloth diapers.
You can lay your wipes in a wipes warmer and pour your solution over them. Make sure to change them out every few days if you don’t go through them all each day, so as to avoid mildew. I use an old disposable wipes container. I fold my cloth wipes in half and stack then inside, then pour my solution over the top.
You can also keep your solution in a squirt bottle or spray bottle and wet the wipes as you need them.
My wipe solution is currently just a shaving of some natural glycerin soap diluted in four cups of water with a couple drops of lavender oil. It resides in an old margarita mix bottle that was no longer fulfilling its limey-sugary purpose.
Aside from giving you far more control over the ingredients in your wipes, using cloth wipes eliminates a trip to the trash to toss your soiled wipes on your way to the diaper pail. Less trash, bigger money savings, fewer chemicals. Its all around a big win. So if you are on the fence about cloth wipes, give it a try with whatever you have on hand for a few days. you will likely be surprised at how easy it can be!