Monday, 29 July 2013

Washable Wet Wipes

This post was first published on Serendipity Child on 27/07/2012

If there is one thing that most parents seem to not be able to live without then it has to be wet wipes.  I often hear other mothers lamenting the cost of nappies, formula and wet wipes and I sigh thankfully to myself and think how glad I am that I am not having to spend money on two out of those three essentials.

Don't get me wrong, I am no saint, I was using cotton wool and water for this first five months of my son's life, and still use disposable nappies but I realised that I needn't be filling up our dustbins with yet more detritus, that, although admittedly will eventually bio-degrade, will take a long time under all that plastic.  So in order to eliminate that little bit extra waste I decided I could make my own wet wipes.  This idea struck me after reading the chapter about babies in The Self-sufficientish Bible, they suggest cutting up polyester fleece to use as wipes, but seeing as I had a lot of cotton flannelette left from the neckerchief/bandanna bibs I thought this would be a better material.  Not only is cotton more natural that synthetic fleece, but I figured it might also be more absorbent.  Also small particles that end up in our waterways during laundering would not cause harm to aquatic life like a synthetic fabric would.

To begin with I tore up my flannelette into long strips which were the width of a sheet of toilet tissue.  I then cut these strips into smaller toilet tissue sized rectangles.  Initially I thought to make them wet-wipe sized, but decided that toilet paper size was sufficient, and should I decide they ought to be bigger in future I could just make more.

Next I stitched round each edge with a wide zig-zag on the sewing machine.  I don't think that this step is essential, but I thought it might make them last a bit longer as it will stop them fraying in the wash. 

Then just keep going until you have as many as you need.  I must have made about 50 initially, but may  make more depending on how many I get through in a day.

To store them I put mine into a plastic tupperware type box with a slosh of water to keep them moist.  You could also add a few drops of something like grape seed oil which is the only other ingredient in waterwipes, or soak the water in chamomile tea before putting the wipes in. 

Better for your pocket and better for baby's bottom too because they don't contain any of the nasty chemicals found in commercial wet-wipes.

Once used place them into another plastic container with a tight lid which will not only keep in any smell but will keep them moist making them easier to wash.  (much harder to get out dried on poo than the soft wet stuff) You can wash them as you would washable nappies.  I will be washing them at 30 degrees with Bio D Laundry Liquid.


  1. I was given some used prefolds which we used as wet wipes. Now that the children are a little older, they have become cleaning cloths although I think that they are really getting to the recycling stage!

    1. That's a great idea. Mine are starting to dis-colour so have given them a bleach treatment this evening. not the most environmentally friendly I know, but it does get them white again!