Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to make (and use!) your own Cloth Wipes

When I first thought of using cloth wipes, I had never heard of it before.  Turns out, at least a gagillion other people thought of it first.  Which doesn't hurt my feelings, but, in fact, makes me feel a lot better about the whole thing.  :)  A little validation can be a good thing sometimes, right?  Right.

And the more I talked to people about using cloth diapers and the more I read all of your comments about using cloth diapers and read up on things a little myself, the more I kept hearing from everyone that it's just a lot simpler to use cloth wipes if you're already using cloth diapers anyway.  Otherwise you have to have a trash can for used wipes (eew) as well as someplace to store the soiled cloth diapers.  Everyone kept telling me that it's just easier and more convenient to just use cloth wipes too and throw the wipes and diapers all in the same container and then all into the wash together.  And you know what?  They're right.  It's way easier.  It just makes more sense.  And the good news is, it's just as easy to make your own as it is to use them.

Making your own cloth wipes:

I've made cloth wipes two different ways.

1. The first way was to cut up an old well-loved flannel receiving blanket (I got mine for free when someone was getting rid of it).

2. The second way is to cut up an old t-shirt.

I'll cover both ways at the same time.

Step 1: Cut your fabric into 7" x 7" squares.  (If you're using an old t-shirt, you are now done*.  Ta-da!)
Step 2: If you're using flannel, serge or sew a tight zigzag stitch around the raw edges.

That's it!

*The reason the wipes cut from old t-shirts don't need to be edge finished is because knits (the fabric t-shirts are made from) don't fray.  Hooray!

Now to make your cloth wipes just as convenient as disposable wipes...

I think we can all agree on the fact that it's nice when you pull one wipe out of the container and it automatically brings the next wipe up, right?  Isn't that a nice feature?  I think so.  And since cloth wipes tend to stick together quite a bit (as in, the friction of the fabric makes them stick together, there's nothing actually sticky on them), I think it would be a big pain to just put them in a bag or a basket or something and have them all come out stuck to each other, five at a time.  So, to keep things easy and orderly, I thought I'd put our old wipes container back to work.

So now I'll teach you how to fold those wipes so they'll be easy-peasy to use.  This process works well for both flannel and knit wipes.  :)

Step 1: Start with one wipe laying flat.

Step 2: Lay a second wipe on top of the first, overlapping halfway.

Step 3: Pick up the edge of your first wipe.

Step 4: Fold the far edge of your first wipe over to meet the opposite edge of the first wipe.  Your first wipe should now be folded in half, with your second wipe sandwiched in between.

Step 5: Lay a third wipe flat on top of your first wipe.  (The first wipe is folded underneath your third wipe.)

Step 6: Pick up the far edge of your second wipe.

Step 7: Fold your second wipe in half, just as you did with your first wipe.  Your third wipe will now be sandwiched in between your second wipe.

Step 8: Continue this process until you have as many wipes as you'd like folded together.  Then fold over the last wipe so all wipes are folded in half.

I made about 50 wipes (I think it's actually 52 or something like that) from the one flannel blanket and two t-shirts I cut up.  I think this is a good amount.  In fact, it's plenty.  Far more than enough.  And?

What's more, that amount of wipes just happens to fit perfectly inside this old Huggies wipes case we have.

So now when I need a cloth wipe, getting one out is just as easy as getting out a disposable wipe.

I just pull out the top one...

...and the next one comes up, ready to use!

And if you're wondering about how to keep the wipes moist, well, I don't know.  Because I don't keep the wipes moist.  Several people mentioned/suggested just using a spray bottle with water to spray the wipes needed for a diaper change (or to spray the baby's bum!).  This, in my opinion, is a totally great way to go.  And way cheaper than buying extra supplies like oils or soaps.  It's just water!  :)

I got this little spray bottle at Walmart in the travel toiletries section for about $1.00.  Anything fancier would be totally unnecessary.

So when I need to change Olivia's diaper I just spray a couple of wipes before I get started and then they're ready to be used right away.  No hassle.  Totally easy.

Well, that's it!  If you have questions or other great suggestions for using cloth wipes, feel free to leave them in the comments!  

See you all again tomorrow for more cloth diapering fun! 

Edited to add: For those of you coming in from One Pretty Thing, you can see a list of all the Cloth Diaper Week posts (and some of my more recent thoughts on cloth diapering) HERE.


Kathy Haynie said...

You are genius! Old t-shirts...who woulda thunk? Sounds like Miss O will have one happy bum.

The way you fold them reminds me of the hand-piling game we used to play with you kids to keep you still for a few more minutes in church. You stack hands, one hand at a time, then the bottom hand comes out and goes on top and...oh, never mind. It must made me think of it. :)

Lisa Lou said...

So Mark brought up these question... What if you have someone babysit Olivia? Do you have written-out instrustions for them? And traveling - what do you do with the dirty diapers until you can get to a laundromat? When you wash the wipes, is there a certain temp or heavy duty soap you have to use to get the stains and smell all the way out?

Lisa Lou said...

Ok, well, he just asked the first one...

Katie Lewis said...


Good questions. If I'm just out running errands for the day I put her dirty cloth diaper in a wet bag and I just use regular wipes. When we go out of town we just use disposables (both diapers and wipes). As for babysitting, it would depend on the person. If they didn't mind the cloth diapers and knew how to take care of it all, we'd probably just leave her in cloth. But if the person babysitting thought it was gross or it stressed them out or something, we'd just put her in disposables. Especially right now when we still have so many disposables in her size (diapers and wipes) it's really not a big deal to put her in disposables if something comes up. We're not ultra hard core about it or anything. We're just trying to save money. :) Hope that helps!

Lisa Lou said...

Maybe Mark and I (or just I) will have to come over and learn all the tricks!

Amber said...

Katie! This was awesome! As I mentioned before, we use cloth wipes, but it is sometimes kind of a pain to keep them moist and to have them be accessible. We actually bought bamboo wipes, which were good for a while, but then they started to fall apart. We also bought a wipes warmer, which kept the wipes warm and wet, but died after about 8 months. I like your system way better! More convenient and cheaper, for sure. Thanks for the great tips!

Samina said...

Wow this is awesome, thanks. My niece is expecting and I will pass this tutorial along to her b/c she is going to use cloth diapers. I really enjoy your blog and initially came by to give you this bloggy award. Enjoy!

Emily said...

I am considering switching to cloth diapers and appreciated your thoughts on making wipes too! I want to someday be able to sew my own diapers, but starting on sewing cloth wipes in the meantime is a great idea!

What kind of cloth diapers are in your pictures? Do you like them?

Ludicrous Mama said...

My aunt used cloth diapers on my cousin, and instead of wipes, she'd hose him off in the sink or bath, if she was at home. No rubbing, and she got a spray attachment to make aim easier and water pressure clean-ier too!
I enjoy being able to throw out everything with poo on it, so I'm a disposables fan still. If I could reliably know when she'd poo, I'd switch to cloth, no problem. :) Kudos to the rest of you, willing to play with the poop!

That's MIZZ Gypsy To You! said...

Just a suggestion for your readers who suffered- er - hemerroids while pregnant. The same kind of wipes can be wetted down with witch hazel and use as a comforting wipe for Mama when there is an itchy flare up.

Anonymous said...

You are supposed to dump all human waste into the toilet, even from disposables. It's infectious material and hazordous to the waste pick up people.

It's easy to take my big wet bag for travelling for a few days and my small one in town.