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.
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.
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!
- 1 tablespoon almond, grapeseed, or olive oil (where to buy quality oils)
- 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap (where to buy castile soap)
- 1 cup distilled or filtered water (find water purification systems here)
- 2 drops chamomile (Roman) essential oil (where to find pure chamomile essential oil)
- 3 drops lavender essential oil (where to find pure lavender essential oil)
- 1/4 teaspoon Vitamin E oil as a natural preservative (where to find Vitamin E oil)
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
- Lawless, J. (1995). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism. London, England: Element.
- “Essential Oil Care for Children and Babies” on AbundantHealth4U.com