We were recently able to return home to Michigan to participate in a whirlwind marathon of visits with family and friends. Top on my list was catching up with my younger sister and seeing her beautiful seven month old baby.

All of my nieces and nephews have been the most precious babies ever! And little Gabe is no exception. I could have stayed forever and pinched his fat little cheeks.

Homemade Baby Wipes 2


It’s always fun seeing my younger sister in action, especially now that she is raising a child. She’s resourceful, creative, and realistic. While changing a diaper during our visit, she showed me a stack of homemade wipes made from old socks. She squirted a sudsy solution on one of the cloth wipes and laughed about all the money they had spent on commercially prepared baby wipes during the first few months.

Her cloth wipe solution made so much sense. She can control the ingredients, save loads of money, and customize the solution for baby Gabe’s sensitive skin.

Think about the precious small people in your life. You want to put the gentlest things on their delicate skin, right? And let’s face it, spending lots of money to wipe bottoms is a little silly.

Homemade Baby Wipes

Making your own cloth wipes

Now, I’m not saying that DIY baby wipes are a new idea. They’re all over the Internet. However, many of these DIY baby wipes are made with rolls of paper towel, and are thrown in the trash. What delighted me most about my sister’s homemade solution and cloth diaper wipes was that she wasn’t wasting paper products, and was instead repurposing things they already had. Plus, there’s no extra laundry involved for cloth wipes if you already use cloth diapers.

There are several different ways you can make your own soft, cloth wipes:

  • Use baby washcloths.
  • Follow a simple tutorial for making flannel one-layer or two-layer cloth wipes that require a little sewing. Save money on fabric by using a pair of old flannel pajamas or receiving blankets.
  • For a no-sew option, choose a soft material that won’t fray (like fleece) and cut squares with pinking shears.

Once you have your homemade cloth wipes, you’ll need a diaper wipe solution to moisten them with. My simple recipe below includes a little soap for cleansing, an oil for nourishing, essential oils to lend specific beneficial properties, and a natural preservative so your wipes won’t get musty. (Because who wants to deal with musty wipes when you’re already dealing with poo?) Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about some essential oils that will work well in your homemade wipe solution.

Essential oils for baby

There is lots of conflicting information about essential oils that are safe for use with babies and children. However, two of the oils most sources agree are safe for babies (diluted, of course) are lavender and chamomile. The bonus here is that they are BOTH very effective in relieving skin problems related to diaper rash.

Chamomile: Chamomile is perfect for baby’s sensitive skin. It promotes regeneration of skin, and has anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve rashes.

Lavender: Generally regarded as the most versatile therapeutic essence, lavender is gentle and soothing for babies. Not only is lavender beneficial for rashes and irritated/inflamed skin, but it also has antiseptic properties.

Diaper Wipe Solution

My sister generously shared her recipe, and I made a few changes to create an even more nourishing/cleansing formula for baby’s skin!


Ingredients:

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients, adding water first to avoid creating lots of bubbles. There are many different ways to use and store homemade baby wipes and solution. Choose the method that works best for you:

  • Place cloth wipes in a repurposed baby wipe container and pour solution over wipes until moist, but not drenched. (You may have solution left over.)
  • Add solution to a spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray solution onto cloth wipes before using. You can also spray directly onto child’s diaper area, then wipe with a dry homemade wipe.
  • Add wipe solution to a squirt bottle. Shake before use, and squirt directly onto cloth wipes.

Remember that homemade solutions spoil faster than commercial preparations. Make the wipes in small batches so you don’t have to worry about spoilage. Use wipes/solution within a week or two.

Don’t have babies in your house?

We don’t have babies to test this out on, but I want to make use of this thrifty idea. After all, this solution will make a great spray for MY sensitive areas too! We used to spend money on expensive commercially prepared bathroom wipes, but did away with this habit a few years ago. Now I can mix up a batch of this homemade wipe solution to keep on the back of the toilet.

I also know many of our readers use family cloth. Wouldn’t this make a great solution to moisten your dry cloth?

Time for you to chime in! Maybe you’re already using a cloth diaper wipe solution…what advice/tips do you have for others?

*******


References and Resources

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Comments

  1. Lisa Quenon says

    Awesome Betsy! The little guy who I care for several days a week sometimes gets such an inflamed little bottom…I so appreciate this. It happened a few weeks ago and I would just pick him up and put him in a tub of warm water with some apple cider vinegar (very small amount, only to change the pH a little). Until I am able to make up this solution, I will at least bring the essential oils to work because then I can add a drop or two to the water for more soothing and some antiseptic qualities!

  2. Cliff says

    I find it interesting that people want a mix of all sorts of oils and soaps and other things in a wipe. We have 2 kids, one still in diapers.
    Water and cloths work great. No wondering if baby is allergic, no adding oils or soaps. Water. Wonderful stuff.

    • Charli Beyma says

      We did the same thing with ours as they reacted to every wipe on the market. Stopped using wipes and the rash cleared up permanently.

      • says

        We never had a reaction but we just use water and sometimes soap, depending on how much is on the bottom with our two (23 months and 9 months). Since the 23 month is potty trained the water usually works best but the little one often needs a quick soaping if he pooped during his nap.

        Thanks for the cloth wipe tutorials. I get mine from The Natural Baby Co. but have been thinking of adding a few more and those look great!

  3. says

    I have been using homemade cloth wipes and cloth diapers for about 15 months now with my son, and just love them both! I use cut up old t-shirts for my wipes (and only use 1-2 per diaper change). I make almost the same solution as above, except that I’ve been using 2 drops of tea tree oil instead of the vitamin E oil as my preservative/antiseptic. I may try using the gentle vitamin E oil in my next batch. When we travel, I put a few of my homemade wipes in a ziploc bag, and squirt them down with my homemade solution. Works great!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      She had chopped the bands off socks, so she had feet and bands to choose from. I saw her stick her hand into one sock foot…great so you don’t get your hand soiled. However, hers were fraying where she cut them, so maybe they would work best if left in tact.

  4. becki p says

    I found anything more than filtered water and a few drops of apricot oil caused too much irritation for my sensitive-bottomed baby. Keep it simple and comfy for your wee one’s wee parts:)

  5. Christine says

    I was just looking for a solution to use for my young children when they go #2. We used to use the commercial wipes, but I finally paid attention to the ingredients: the first ingredient for both our baby wipes and (adult) toilet wipes is PROPYLENE GLYCOL. Sound familiar? It’s anti-freeze. Great.

    For the toilet, I won’t be reusing the wipes…so I’ll be cutting a paper towel roll in half, putting it into an appropriately sized plastic container and dowsing it with your solution. I might, also, add some aloe solution…
    Thanks!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yeah, most wipes contain propylene glycol, parabens, and other nasty stuff. Goes to show that big companies don’t necessarily have our best interest in mind when creating products.

      Aloe would be wonderful in this solution! Great thinking!

  6. Suzanne says

    I used homemade baby wipes exclusively for my son when he used cloth diapers at home (day care wouldn’t use cloth so used regular there). I used this recipe (2 cups water, 2T baby shampoo, 2T baby oil) mixed in a mason jar and poured over the wipes as needed. Got shampoo and baby oil from the dollar store. I cut regular wash cloths in half to fit the baby wipes warmer. We could serged around the edges so might have also got a large bath towel and cut into wash cloth sizes. Washed with the cloth diapers. He had very few diaper rashes because of it. The wash cloth material worked MUCH better than purchased wipes to actually clean too.

  7. sage_brush says

    Home made wipes are great! For me it was decades ago, but I always used Dr. Bronner’s lavender baby soap (although I think the addition of vitamin E oil would be an improvement)

    During cold winter months, I actually put all my wipes into a crock pot with water and a squirt of the soap, then turned it on low, which I set on top of a chest of drawers right next to the changing table. That way – I had nice, soft, warm wipes to clean off the little bottoms. As an added bonus – I was able to change a sleepy baby at night without waking them up with a cold wipe! The wipes go right into the diaper wash loads.

  8. Karen Reilly says

    I used blue facecloths that I bought at Walmart and we still have them.
    My son is 16 and my daughter is 13 now.
    The only problem was that I neglected to tell my company once, and they suffered no adverse complications.

  9. Barbara K. says

    Love your book! I notice in several recipes you use liquid Castile soap. Do you have an actual recipe for homemade liquid Castile soap, or do you always use Dr. Bronner’s? I plan to use this recipe for keeping in the car when traveling.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      We haven’t experimented with making our own castile soap yet, so we just use Dr. Bronner’s or other brands we can buy in bulk at the health food store. These would make great travel wipes…good thinking!

  10. says

    Concerning essential oils, although Lavender is soothing and relaxing for babies, it is a hormone disrupter and can interfere with lactation. I am a soap maker and use various EO’s in my product formulation and always caution nursing or pregnant women should avoid most essential oils, Lavender EO is also deadly to cats as it will attack their kidneys.

    • Cher Lynn says

      I would love to know more about what EO’s are safe to use on pets. My vet recommended using regular baby wipes on her, as she was neglecting to clean under her tail properly for a time. I was unwilling to use store-bought wipes on her, afraid of what the chemicals in it might do to my kitty.

      Lavender EO gives me the WORST headaches, so it was never on my “to use” list. Tea Tree Oil is one I use mixed with Lemon Oil in 70% alcohol to ward off fleas and drown bed bugs whenever I catch them out. Seems to be slowly depopulating my supply of bed bugs (oh, DARN!), and other than some diatamatious earth in my carpet, is all I’ve been using to kill off the bed bugs. I can’t handle traditional pesticides, even the ones they say you don’t need to leave the room when they use them, so while my complex knows I have them, I’ve not let them treat me for bugs.

  11. melissa says

    I was wondering with the homemade baby wipes do I rise them wipes off and rewash them or throw them out?

    If I do rewash how exactly?

    • sage_brush says

      I always threw them right into the diaper pail with the diapers. I washed the diapers three times weekly ( including the wipes ) starting with a warm water pre-soak with borax for about one hour, then long hot water wash with home made detergent and chlorine bleach, then a double rinse with vinegar.

      I know that bleach isn’t natural, but I would have needed to wash the load even more times (2-3) to get them clean. I never had any problems with odor or rashes – even on my towheaded kids. Just putting them in a disposable diaper for a of couple hours would provoke a horrible reaction that was hard to get rid of. (I’m talking open weals, just awful) For years I lugged a ginormous diaper bad around everywhere we went – because of the cloth diapers. I would bring plastic grocery bags (doubled) to stow dirty diapers in till we got home. Otherwise, the suffering (theirs and mine) was too heavy a price to pay for the temporary convenience of throw away diapers.

  12. Chandra says

    You guys are awesome!!! Right when my husband started complaining about the cost of daipers and wipes i saw this come up on my FB newsfeed!
    I cut up an old pair of maternity jeans that only ever fit me for a week (my stomach gets really big really fast) and sewed 2 peices together and had wipes! Never even thought of it before! Put in a little bit of castile soap, olive oil and water and it works great!

  13. Cher Lynn says

    I like a lot of your ideas here, and the additional ones that come up in the comments reward me for reading =everything= related to the post. Thank you so much for putting this site together and sharing with us!

  14. says

    Thank you – again – for another earth friendly idea that we embrace here at Prairie Godmothers. We love the baby wet wipes.

    Jackie Riffice
    Founder, Prairie Godmothers

  15. Deb says

    I have 2 questions about the vitamin E oil…First, could you use natural Vite E squeezed out of a few capsules to equal 1/4 t? And also, is the Vite E absorbed through the skin and can be toxic over time? Would appreciate your input.Thanks!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes! You can squeeze Vitamin E oil out of capsules…sorry I didn’t mention this in the article. I have never read anything negative small topical applications of Vitamin E oil…only about orally consuming large amounts of Vitamin E supplements over an extended period of time. However, always find the purest Vitamin E possible if applying topically…Vitamin E capsules may contain some things that a digestive system can filter out, but your skin can not.

      • Deb says

        Thanks very much…I guess I have one other question also: Is this correct that presently breastfeeding moms are DISCOURAGED from putting vite e oil on their nipples when they are cracked and sore, because it is not felt to be safe for the baby to consume? Again, because of possible overdose. Just discovered your site and am very blessed! (my daughter’s having her first baby in April and some things are a little different that 25 years ago with me as the mom!:-)
        Thanks!

          • Deb says

            Again, thanks so much! Wow! The amounts allowable for newborns are very low, so I will be sure to tell my daughter IF there is any need! Coconut oil is SO fantastic! Never thought of the cocoa butter! Will look into that.

  16. Mel says

    Homemade wipes are the way to go! When my youngest son was a baby, I used to cut up his old onesies and uses these for the wipes. I would occasionally make up a weak batch of chamomille tea and put this in a squirt bottle to wet the wipes.

    Ive heard mums say “oh I can use cloth nappies as the give my baby a rash”. For my eldest 2 I only bought disposable nappies and wipes and the constantly had nappy rash. with the youngest I gave cloth nappies and wipes a try and never looked back. He never had a rash!

  17. DaynawithaY says

    How essential is chamomile to this recipe? I’m pretty stunned by the cost of chamomile EO. Could I make chamomile tea with the distilled water and use that instead?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      You can certainly get by without the chamomile EO. Substituting a strong brew of chamomile tea would be an excellent option! Have fun with this project. :)

  18. Emily says

    Hi Betsy, Are the e.o’s ok to use with the cloth nappies? I am also interested in using your diy detergent but I am a bit concerned the oils will affect the absorption of the cloth nappies. Thanks for your help!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Emily,

      Yes, EOs are great for use with the cloth nappies. Pure essential oils won’t coat fabric with oil, so they won’t affect absorption. In fact, when you want to test the quality of your EOs you can put a few drops on a tissue or small scrap of fabric. Once it dries, a high quality EO won’t leave a spot.

      Hope this helps!