Why cloth wipes?
I admit, when we first switched to cloth diapering, I thought there was no way I was going to ever use cloth wipes. “I’m willing to make a lot of sacrifices to save money,” I told my husband, “but I am NOT going to save THAT much money!” We looked at our budget and decided that with all the money we would be saving with not buying disposable diapers, we could afford to “splurge” on disposable wipes. “A Mommy luxury”, I thought of them.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, to when my new baby had a huge poo-splosion in his diaper. It was epic. I mean it took 5 or 6 wipes to finally get him cleaned off. After this messy job was done, I tossed the cloth diaper in the diaper pail right next to the changing table, and started looking around to find where I could put the wipes. This was my first realization: you can’t put disposable wipes in with your cloth diapers.
I knew you weren’t supposed to leave a baby on the changing table, but I had no room to put a clean diaper on him (since there was a mountain of poopy wipes on the changing table!) so I carried my half-naked baby to the bathroom where I put the wipes in the bathroom trash can. This was when I had my second realization: Around here, we take out the trash when the trash can is full. But with only wipes, no diapers, going in that trash can, it was going to be a LONG time before it got full. And 3 month old poopy wipes were not something I wanted in my bathroom.
At the next diaper change, I grabbed some baby washcloths (we had a million of those hanging around) and got them wet in the sink. They worked GREAT, got my baby’s bottom super clean, and best of all, I could toss them right in the diaper pail!
But there was still a part of me that just thought cloth wipes were gross. Cloth diapers made sense to me, but cloth wipes were just… weird. But then I started thinking about cloth napkins. Like wipes, napkins come in cloth or disposable. Like wipes, the cloth ones just work so much better. And like wipes, we put them against our skin and get them very dirty, then we wash them, and use them again.
I realized it had never occurred to me when sitting down to eat at a fancy restaurant with crisp white cloth napkins, to ask the waiter whether or not this napkin had been used before. Of course it has! And not only that, but used by a perfect stranger, and washed by an anonymous laundry service somewhere – yet I trust that it’s clean. How much more then could I trust that the wipes which had only been used before by MY baby, and had been personally washed by ME, were clean?
You’ll need about 10 wipes to get started, but ideally you’ll want to have 1 wipe per diaper in your stash. You won’t always use a wipe with each diaper change, but with some really messy ones you will use more than one wipe. Pretty much anything can be a wipe – baby washcloths or squares of flannel work just fine in a pinch. My favorites are the thicker ones made specifically to be baby wipes. I make my own (and sell them in the store) that are sherpa on one side and printed flannel on the other. My philosophy is, you’re going to be looking at these every day for the next two years, so make sure they’re pretty and you like looking at them!
You can just get the wipes wet in the sink before each use, but most people like to use some kind of wipes solution. We carry two different kinds of wipe solution soap bits, Sheepish Grins Washy Wafers and SweetSydneyBean’s Organic Soap Bits. Just put one soap bit or wafer into a cup of warm water and shake it up. It will dissolve to form a mild wipe solution (and will smell SO GOOD!). Most people like to keep their cloth wipes in an empty disposable wipes container and pour the solution over the wipes to premoisten them. I did this and my then-4 year old used them to clean the bathroom with, so now I keep my wipes solution in a squirt bottle and wet each one as I need it. (A peri bottle from the hospital works GREAT for wipes solution.)