Yes, this is a recipe for DIY baby wipes, but it starts with a hilarious story excerpt from All You Need is Less: The Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living by Madeleine Somerville
Hypothetical question: Have you ever gone to the bathroom at a friend’s house and found yourself staring at an empty toilet paper roll?
Maybe you look under the sink and above the toilet. But there’s no spare roll in sight.
You start to panic a bit, thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to be stuck on the toilet forever. They’ll wonder what happened to me and eventually they’ll forget my name. I’ll be known only as Toilet Lady, and they’ll have to bring me my meals. I’m going to be eating macaroni and cheese with my pants around my ankles forever and ever, and normally that would sound kind of awesome but not under these conditions—not now!”
Then, maybe, did you start to freak out and even cry a little bit because you don’t want to be Toilet Lady?
And then did you suddenly find a solution that would prevent you from becoming Toilet Lady? And did that solution just so happen to be a package of baby wipes?
No? That’s never happened to you?
I mean, of course not—right? Me neither!
You know though… if I ever HAD found myself in that rather awkward situation, I would probably tell you that conventional baby wipes are NOT pleasant on your tender lady bits. Not at all.
And this hypothetical experience makes me wonder why we are using these wipes on the tender bits and pieces of our little ones. So to replace these (allegedly) irritating store-bought baby wipes, there are two options. Make disposable baby wipes ourselves, or use DIY baby wipes with a homemade wipe solution.
DIY Cloth Baby Wipes
If you’d prefer to use cloth wipes, you need only look around you to find the materials to get started. Organic cotton baby wash cloths, old jersey knit sheets, old t-shirts, or any sort of soft absorbent cloth that’s not being used anymore. (Jersey-knit sheets or T-shirts are ideal for this type of thing because they don’t require any sewing and won’t unravel.)
How to make your own cloth baby wipes
- Run the material through the wash on a hot cycle to make sure the cloth is clean and pre-shrunk.
- Measure and cut into a uniform size.
- Squares measuring 8 inches x 8 inches will fold neatly into a wipe container, but you can make them any size you like.
- For finished edges, use the overlock stitch setting on a sewing machine and stitch around the perimeter of the fabric.
- Pile finished wipes in a basket or in an old wipe container and place on the changing table and they’re ready to go.
- Wash in hot water, and dry in the sun to remove any stains or odor.
If you are a compulsive closet-purger (ahem) and you don’t have any material hanging around that would be suitable for wipes, you can easily find cloth wipes on Etsy. I’m lucky enough that my crafty sister Claire kindly whipped some up for me.
The benefits of reusable wipes are endless. If they are washed on a hot cycle, they can do double duty as baby washcloths or burp cloths, and can be kept and reused for the next baby in the family.
DIY Baby Wipes Solution
If you’ve decided to use cloth wipes, you can make this solution to take the edge off those messy diaper cleanups. The Castile soap is a gentle cleanser with a natural scent, aloe helps soothe baby’s bum, and olive oil allows the mixture to glide easily and moisturize that tender tush.
- 4 cups water, boiled and cooled
- 3 tablespoons organic olive oil or almond oil
- 2 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap
- 3 teaspoons pure aloe vera
Pour all the ingredients into a large jar and measure out into a squeeze bottle as needed (a well-rinsed shampoo or dish detergent bottle works great for this).
The olive oil will rise to the top of the bottle between uses but don’t panic, that’s normal. Just give it a shake before you use it and you’re good to go.
With this method we’re still generating waste, but by making the wipes ourselves we can reduce a lot of the packaging involved, as well as limiting the amount of weird and (not so) wonderful mystery ingredients we’re putting on our babes.
To Make Disposable Baby Wipes, You Will Need:
- 1 sealable container large enough to fit a paper-towel roll cut in half
- 1 roll of recycled paper towels
- 2 cups of water, boiled and cooled
- 2 tablespoons organic olive oil or almond oil
- 1 tablespoon Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap
- 1 tablespoon pure Witch Hazel extract
Start by using a serrated knife to cut the paper towel roll in half. Place one half inside your container.
In a medium-sized bowl mix the water, the Castile soap, Witch Hazel extract, and the olive oil. The reason that we boil and cool the water is to ensure that it’s sterile.
When the mixture is combined well, pour it over the paper towels, close the container, and then shake, rattle, and roll it around until the liquid is fully absorbed.
Wait a half-hour or so, and then open the container, remove the inner cardboard tube, and pull your first wipe from the inside of the roll.
These DIY baby wipes are quick, inexpensive, and totally simple to make. Your baby’s bottom will be clean, sweet-smelling, and smooth to the touch. And, best of all, you know exactly what ingredients went into getting it that way.