The Case for Cloth Wipes
Posted by Guest Writer on January 05, 2014.
When you first decide to use cloth diapers, it can be a little overwhelming to decide how much you want to cloth diaper. You may start with a few pocket diapers. Then as you gain confidence, you try out flats or prefolds. You may get really brave and even start cloth diapering overnight. For some reason, though, you just can’t kick the disposable wipes.
The truth is, cloth wipes are incredibly simple and easy when you’re cloth diapering, much easier than using their disposable counterparts.
When you change a cloth diaper using disposable wipes, you have to separate out the cloth diaper and the disposable wipes. You have to dispose of the wipes separately, which may mean having to keep two diaper pails or stinking up a regular trash can in your home. If you wash the disposable wipes with your cloth diapers, disposable wipes may break up in the wash, and if you use velcro closures, the wipes invariably end up stuck in the closures and ruin the velcro. Either way, you’re having to buy disposable wipes on a regular basis.
On the other hand, when you use cloth wipes, you just roll the dirty wipes up in the cloth diapers after a change, toss everything in your diaper pail, and wash the cloth wipes with your regular diapers. Cloth wipes will stand up to hundreds of washings, just like your diapers, and won’t break up in the wash and get snarled in your velcro closures.
If you’re wondering what to use for cloth wipes, there are a ton of ready-made options out there you can purchase, including GroVia cloth wipes sold here at Over the Moon. You can also use old wash cloths or baby wash cloths. Terry is absorbent and great at wiping up poop. It’s perfect for big, blowout diapers. Flannel is another option. For DIY flannel wipes, you can purchase lengths of flannel or repurpose old flannel clothing or receiving blankets, cut the fabric into squares, and then surge the edges with a sewing machine. Flannel is not as absorbent as terry, but it’s less bulky and you can store more of them in a container, which makes them great in particular to send to daycare or to use in your travel bag.
I recommend having at least 30 wipes on hand. Newborns go through a lot of diapers, so 30 wipes will usually get you through a day or two of diaper changes. With older babies and toddlers, 30 wipes will typically see you through a full three days.
In terms of storage, when my cloth wipes come out of the laundry, I fold them in half, stack them, and run the whole stack under a faucet until they are soaked through. Then I wring them out and put them in either my wipes warmer or travel wipes case, which were both made for disposables but which also work for cloth wipes. The warmer and travel case keep the wipes damp for several days, and the plastic and sealing on both prevent leaks.
Some people skip folding their wipes or getting them wet before storing them. You can ball up dry wipes and put them in a warmer, a small wet bag, or any sort of box or container, which will save you some time folding laundry. Then, when you’re ready to use them, you can run them under water as needed or keep a spray bottle with water or wipes solution on hand to spritz them. Either method works. It just depends on where the time savings will make the most difference to you, doing laundry or during a diaper change.
While you can use a variety of commercial or home-made diaper solutions to soak your wipes in or spritz on them, I use plain water. It does everything I need to keep my baby’s nethers clean, it doesn’t irritate my baby’s skin, and it’s the cheapest and lowest maintenance option. If you want something with more cleaning power, you can purchase wipes solutions, and there are several cloth-diaper friendly options available including Kissaluvs Diaper Potion Spray and Thirsties Booty Luster Wipes Spray. There are also a ton of easy DIY recipes out there. It’s up to you how much time and money you want to spend on a wipes solution.
All in all, using cloth wipes is one of the easier choices I made when it came to cloth diapering my baby and required minimal effort on my part. I think a lot of people are concerned about using cloth wipes with other relatives, babysitters or daycare. They think cloth diapers are one thing, but when you start using cloth wipes, you’re crossing the line! Using cloth wipes is just like using disposable wipes, though. There are no extra steps. There are no tricks. If anything, cloth wipes are far more absorbent and better at getting up messes than disposable wipes, and they honestly work better with your overall cloth diapering routine, which makes them much easier to use.
Cloth wipes are cheap, easy, and the perfect companion to cloth diapers. If you’re already committed to cloth diapering, I highly recommend using cloth wipes. They’ll make your cloth diapering experience so much more simple and will save you time and money in the long run.