I am a stereotype. I live in the Pacific Northwest, I use natural deodorant, I wear Birkenstock sandals (cute ones, I swear) all summer, and I compost my food waste. When people look at me, maybe they think I live this way because I am incredibly eco-conscious. I’m sure that is part of it, but the main reason for all this is that I am cheap thrifty.
Some people think that anything good for the environment is either too expensive or too hard. I’m here to show you that isn’t always the case in two words: Reusable wipes. I swear using reusable wipes is not hard. Like anything new, once you get a few starter items and figure out a system it is as easy as pie.
There are tons of items specifically marketed as reusable wipes. Precut little squares of organic fabric. And those are great, but they are expensive. At around $1 each the price tag climbs quickly when you think about how many wipes you actually need to have on hand.
Just prior to the birth of our first, my husband and I were at Costco when we had a moment that can be defined as nothing less than sheer genius. Well, genius for us anyway. We were in the automotive section when we spied a pack of microfiber detailing rags and thought “baby wipes!” They were yellow, fluffy, soft, and cheap. There were 30 in the pack for under $15, but they were too big – about 12 inches square. We thought maybe we could cut them up, but assumed there would be constant fraying which would render them worthless. We decided to risk it and just try cutting one up and washing it.
Lucky us!! There was a yellow fluff mess created when we initially cut the rags into quarters, but after that there was zero fraying at all. For under $15 we got 120 wipes that we used from the first day our daughter came home until the day she potty trained. That isn’t just cheap…that is CRAZY cheap! For child two we did the same thing. We even splurged and got him a new set of his very own wipes. Don’t let him tell you we never gave him anything.
- Microfiber detailing rags. If you are not a member of a bulk food store like Costco or Sam’s Club, they sell the same type of rags on Amazon for $23 for a 36 pack.
- A cloth diaper pail liner. These are waterproof on the inside to prevent leakage. They cost around $15. Here is a link to one example: Kissa’s Pail Liner
- A lidded container to store used wipes. This can be a simple plastic trash can with a lid.
- Zip top bags for on the go use. This can be a reusable wet sack or a plastic zip top bag.
- Storage space for dry, clean wipes. This can be as simple as some empty space on a shelf. Collapsible toy storage boxes work well.
- (Optional) A small container to store a stack of wet wipes at your main changing station. We use a hand me down wipe warmer. This is optional because you can just wet a wipe whenever you need it. This container just allows you to wet a whole stack of them to have on hand at all times.
There are as many recipes for wipe solution online as there are stars in the sky. You can add almond oil, tea tree oil, baby soap, lavender oil, baby oil, etc. You can also go as simple as plain water (that is what we do.) This is kind of a fun area where you can customize what is going on your baby’s bum. If you child has skin issues/sensitivities you can customize your mixture just for them.
How to start
- Cut your rags into equal quarters. This part is really messy and you will be covered in fluff. It quickly vacuums up, but be prepared.
- Wash and dry all your wipes. Place them in a storage bin or dedicated shelf space.
- If you are using a storage container at your changing station, take a handful of wipes and soak them in your wipe solution. Don’t wet more than you will use in two days because you don’t want them to mildew. Wring them out and place them in the storage container. You are ready!
- If you are not using a storage container, keep a bottle of wipe solution at your main changing station. When the time comes, wet a wipe and go from there!
In home use
- You know how to wipe a bum so I’ll skip those details. You will need somewhere to store the used between washings. Place the cloth diaper pail liner in the lidded storage container and place your dirty wipes inside. When it is time to clean them, just turn the bag inside out in your washer and wash the bag along with the wipes. There is no need to touch a single dirty wipe once it enters the bag.
- Launder them as you would anything else. I suggest hot water for obvious reason, but there is nothing fancy you need to do.
- To store the dry wipes, it is tempting to just throw them willy nilly in a basket, but it really does save time to stack them in a nice pile. You don’t want to be trying to pile them up while dealing with poop between your baby’s shoulder blades. So make a nice little stack and set them aside
On the go use
- Keep a bottle of wipe solution in your diaper bag along with a handful of dry wipes. When you need a wipe, wet the wipe with the solution and proceed as normal. When you are done, throw the used wipes in a sealable bag. You can use a formal wet sack or a plain old plastic zip top bag. When you get home, dump the empty wipes in your dirty wipe container.