Do you make DIY cloth wipes or have lots of extra scrap fabric? Or maybe you use cloth diapers and are almost done with the diapering stage and wondering what you will do with the wipes? Here are some ideas!
But first, let me suggest you spend your hard earned money elsewhere… since DIY cloth wipes are easy to find or make! I’ve actually never spent any money on cloth wipes. I’ve been given them all or made them myself.
Mombie Disclaimer: I don’t actually consider myself all that “crunchy.” But dang-it, I like eating kale and I like saving money. So here’s how I managed to ditch my use of pricey disposable wipes (along with reducing my use of a few other toiletries that end up adding up over time).
My super easy DIY cloth wipes stash includes:
- Organic cotton wipes that I was given by a friend who was done with diapering – join a local cloth diapering Facebook group to see if you can score some free ones too!
- Old receiving blankets I’ve cut up and very roughly hemmed (or don’t hem and just let them fray, if you don’t mind if they don’t last you as long).
- My husband’s old t-shirts I’ve torn up (no hemming required).
- An old pair of velour sweatpants I’ve cut up. These are my favourite; they are so soft and no hemming is needed!
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1. Diaper time
Despite this being obvious, I am adding it here since DIY cloth wipes are great to have even if you don’t cloth diaper! If your child gets a bad bum rash (and it happens, thanks to viruses, teething, etc.) your doctor may tell you to just use warm water and soft cotton wipes. I just keep a thermos of warm water next to the change station, and wet the wipes as needed.
Want to use cloth wipes on the go? Just use a wet bag (or even a zip lock baggie) to hold the dirty ones, and bring a little container of water with you for changes. I use a reusable, travel-size, squeezable shampoo container I got from the drug store.
I think when I’m done with diapering (it’s still a distant dream), I’m going to make a cute napkin holder for the kitchen table and use the nicer looking wipes as cloth napkins. They will hold up better, you can get them wet for a better clean, and if they get super dirty with say, spaghetti sauce, who cares because you aren’t using your “company time” formal napkins!
Speaking of napkins, have you heard of “un-paper towels?” Read all about them here!
3. Tough areas to clean
I find the old t-shirt rags are especially great for tough areas like faucets, around window locks, etc. I also use the t-shirt rags for things like bacon grease or other really dirt kitchen messes instead of paper towels, and then just throw them out afterwards. Read my blog post on how I’ve managed to go completely paper towel free.
4. Make-up removal
I used to guilt trip myself into buying the triple-the-price, organic, sustainably resourced cotton pads from the drugstore. Not anymore! Now I use a cloth wipe, and it works like a charm! (Also, I’ve stopped buying special makeup removal solution and just use coconut oil – works great and is a nice moisturizer for your sensitive eye skin!)
Cloth wipes work for the occasional nose-wipe, and if your child is sensitive about getting their nose or face wiped, I find wetting the cloth with warm water helps. I do use regular tissue paper when they are sick though (I still feel better about flushing cold-germy wipes down the toilet).
There are lots of great options now for cloth menstrual pads. I’m still researching which brand I want to buy (which brands do you like?), and eventually I’m going to get some “real” cloth pads for heavier flow days. In the meantime, my cut up receiving blankets and velour sweatpants are making soft, absorbent liners that do a decent job of staying in place (even though there is no snap or Velcro to stick them in place). I use them daily and also paired with my Diva Cup for heavy flow days. There are a number of menstrual cups to choose from online in North America…
Yes, toilet paper! I’m wiping my kids’ bums with them, why not my own? While I still haven’t convinced my husband of my brilliance, even just cutting down on my own use of TP I have seen a substantial decrease in how frequently we are buying toilet paper. (I guess I pee a lot; thanks babies!) I like how I can get them wet too if needed, and I appreciate the environmental and personal benefits of not using toilet paper as frequently. As for logistics, I keep a wet bag in my bathroom for the dirty wipes, and store the clean ones in a decorative box next to the toilet.
For more information on this, the blog Mama Banana’s Adventures has a good article. She includes a review on reusable TP from HumBird. Maybe someday I will get this as the “decorative” option for the guest bathroom (don’t worry guests, I will still offer you the regular stuff too!)
A note on laundering your cloth wipes
I clean all my wipes used for various purposes every few days along with my cloth diaper laundry. You could clean them with any hot heavy wash too though, just do a small pre-rinse in cold water with a smaller amount of detergent before adding your other hot wash items to the laundry. If you want to disinfect them, do a COLD bleach soak of already washed wipes with Disinfecting Bleach (regular bleach only deodorizes), and then wash on HOT with detergent to get all the bleach out.
Do you use DIY cloth wipes, and what do you find them most useful for beyond diaper changes?