DIY Cloth Wipes

We changed cloth diapers for just over 4 years 11 months, or approximately 1810 days (give or take). We also used cloth wipes because, well, why not add to the fun? But, in reality, we got spoiled with the DIY cloth wipes–they were made from fleece so they were thick–which means you don’t use as many. Until you use a cloth wipe, you can’t really appreciate what a luxury it is. Yes, I said luxury–because not having to feel warm babystuffofnightmares through a paper thin wipe is pretty freaking awesome.

oxo wipe container

During our diaper festival years, I did not see a reusable wipe dispenser on the market, or didn’t look hard enough. I used an admittedly unsafe method of cutting a larger hole in the top of a disposable container, using a paring knife. Heh. It worked pretty well, but those containers are not the most efficient to clean because there are a lot of nooks and crannies in the lid, and they are not air tight. Today, that problem is solved because I see this silicone sealed container from OXO available at Target. Wow, that would have been nice.

I used a sandwich size plastic container for day/short trips and that worked pretty smoothly. I also kept a small stash of disposables for emergencies, because sh!t happens. I’m not going to sugar coat this. :)

Cloth wipesI bought some no-pile fleece (just don’t get the super fuzzy stuff) from the fabric store and cut it into 8″x8″ squares. I have a rotary cutter and a board (could not find my clear cutting guide/ruler so I used a level LOL), which made cutting them pretty easy, but a standard issue pair of fabric scissors will create the same end result. With fleece, you don’t have to worry about sewing the edges since it won’t unravel like other fabric types. I bought white at the time, but upon reflection, anything would have worked. And if it faded from the washing or small amounts of bleach, it really wouldn’t matter. These are not display items*. LOL

Cloth wipesFor this post, I cut some out of remnants to get the measurements. A 24″ cut of standard width fleece (60″) will yield 21 wipes. That’s about the quantity I would use per container refill. Remnants run $3 or less per yard, so that’s definitely the way to go. Fold them like disposables, making a cute little stack.

To make life easier, I made a wipe liquid base “concentrate” that I could just mix with water as needed. Whatever size container you want, mix 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 castile soap. Shake it up, it will eventually stay mixed, but not the first few times. Then, put about 20 wipes at a time in your container. Mix 1/4 oil soap mix and 1.5 cups water, and pour that over the wipes, turning and pressing them until they are all wet. For mixing the base with water, I would recommend a jar with a lid and the 1/4 and 1.5 cup measurements marked with a sharpie–that way you can quickly combine and shake it together.

Cloth wipesCloth wipesWe always used toilet paper to handle the biggest part of any messes, then brought in the wipes for final cleanup. The wipes can be washed with the diapers:

First wash: cold, with detergent and 1-2 drops Dawn dish soap. The soap helps keep the diapers and wipes from accumulating oils and becoming waterproof–which is not cool. In the beginning, I didn’t believe that could or would really happen, but trust me, it does. A small and steady dose of Dawn every cold wash keeps it at bay (learned after a couple debacles with Woo #1).

Second wash: hot, with detergent and 1/8 cup bleach. I used this small amount of bleach with every hot wash with Woo #2. It just keeps everything smelling fresher, and he had even less diaper rash than #1 (and he had very little). The diapers held up just fine through all of the abuse.

THE RECIPE: Cloth Wipes
Makes 1 refill box, 20 wipes

1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap
1.5 cups water
20 fleece wipes

1. Mix ingredients well. Pour into storage container over folded stack of wipes.

2. Push down and flip stack a time or two, until the liquid is absorbed. Use within 3-5 days. Launder unused wipes after 5 days.


THE RECIPE: Cloth Wipe Liquid Base Concentrate
Makes 2 cups base, 8 refills

1 cup olive oil
1 cup Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap

1. Combine oil and soap together in a pint jar with a lid. Shake before use.

2. Use 1/4 cup of base with 1.5 cups water for each 20 wipe refill.

3. Push down and flip stack a time or two, until the liquid is absorbed. Use within 3-5 days. Launder unused wipes after 5 days. Base will last much longer than it will take you to use it. :)

*I made the first batch of wipes with flannel. I did not like them as well, even though I sewed an adorable vine hem around the edges (before Woo #1 was born, obviously). Hahaha, I was nuts.


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