Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cloth Wipes: Frugally Cleaning Baby Bottoms

I think I've made it quite clear how much I love cloth diapering. It's cheap(er) than using a ton of disposables (remember the $3000 estimate?) and it's SO much better for the environment. Plus, who could resist this cloth diapered tush??:
Junk in the trunk

Recently, we've started using cloth wipes as well. It all started when I read this post on my favorite natural parenting blog about homemade wipe spray. It sounded interesting but I wasn't ready to commit to it just yet. Then a faithful blog reader and I were emailing about cloth diapering (Hi Amy!) and she sent me an estimate of the amount of money one spends on disposable wipes when you have a diaper-wearing child. Assuming you use only two wipes each diaper change, the article estimated that you spend roughly $450. Then I thought about the fact that I have never seen my husband use only two wipes. He's usually in the 5-7 range; so we're talking about nearly $1,000 in just wipes!

That sealed the deal. We ordered a stock of cloth wipes that day and haven't looked back since. At first, I was kind of grossed out by the idea- probably like you are right now. But, then I got to thinking... it's not all that different from using cloth diapers right? Plus, I was already washing diapers every other day, so what could a few small pieces of cloth wipe add to that laundry task?

How it all works ...

Like I mentioned, we first had to decide on and order our supply of cloth wipes. After a lot of hemming and hawing user reviews, I Amazoned the GroVia Cloth Wipes:
via Amazon
Most everyone raved about how soft they were and how great they were at cleaning; which they are. They're also not the most expensive kind out there. At only $10.95 for 12 wipes, the price was right for us. But, I will say- after using these for a while, we probably could have just cut up a few flannel receiving blankets and been just fine. The GroVia wipes, so far, have held up well to all the washing; but occasionally, I'll find a random piece of string unraveling.

Once the wipes came in, I needed to make spray solution. If you Google "Homemade Baby Wipe Solution" you'll find 4,000 entries on different kinds you can make. I chose to go with the Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby recipe and it's worked great for us; except I didn't add tea tree oil because we don't have any.

Then, we just got a small basket to keep the dry wipes in and keep the wipe solution right next to it on Bea's changing table (which she is outgrowing):

Whenever we change a diaper, I just spritz the wipe down to get it wet and wipe Tiny's tush until it's clean. You could also spritz your baby's bottom directly, but I've found that it usually makes her pee everywhere and then it's just more clean-up than I patience for.

Then the old diaper and the used cloth wipe(s) go into our "wet bag" to await washing:
Looks like it was washing day huh?
Speaking of washing, here's how we get our diapers and wipes clean:

The most important step to all of this is the flushable liner (We use Bummi's version) that goes into each one of Bea's diapers nowadays:
Diaper Savers
When she was smaller and exclusively breastfed, I never had to worry about dumping poop out of her diapers before they got washed. That's because breastfed baby poop is water soluble (bet you didn't know that did you?) Now that she's eating exclusively buttered noodles and Puffs more solid foods... well, things get more solid. That's where a diaper liner comes into play. When she poops, the liner gets picked up and put in the toilet to be flushed. When it's just wet, it goes into the trash can. Then, you can wash diapers that are (mostly) poop free and you don't gross out your husband.

Every two to three days, I cart everything to the trusty old (and I mean old) washing machine. First, I cold rinse everything. Then, I hot wash it with a few scoops of Rockin' Green Detergent and/or Funk Rock if it's especially smelly. Then we do another cold rinse. Finally, they get dried!

I'm tell you-- it's SO EASY to cloth diaper and cloth wipe. The best part is really the savings. For all the diapers (30), covers (8) and wipes (36) that we own, I would say that we've spent less than $250 for everything. That's a lot cheaper than $3,000! And, even when your kid figures out how to operate Velcro, it's still really cute. Right?:
Looks like it's time for the non-Velcro version of those covers ...

1 comment:

  1. Hi right back Ashley and Bea! Seriously, I still can't use two wipes when I really really think about it. Your posts are always so helpful and informative. I can't only muster the energy to post pictures.