Sunday, May 25, 2008

Homemade Baby Wipes

I'm starting to experiment with making my own baby wipes. Why? you might ask. Well, because it's fun. And maybe it is cheaper. And because you can use natural products so your wipes smell all herby instead of chemically/fake. I used the recipe in my Chinaberry cookbook, but if you Google "homemade baby wipes" all sorts of useful resources come up. Angry Chicken also did a post, here.
I made two batches on Saturday, just to get started. When we go through these, I'll experiment some more. This is the second batch. The first batch, I tore the paper towels in half and tried to lay them flat in the wipe container. I poured over a full batch of the wipe solution. The combination of flat towels and lots of liquid made them almost too wet and they're hard to get out. The second batch (above--I took them out of their container to photograph them) is better, I think. I folded the paper towels in eights and stacked them, then poured over a half batch of the solution. They're easier to handle and a bit dryer. Still wetter than a commercial wipe, which I like, because I think they clean better that way. Rainer seems neutral on the homemade wipe vs. commercial wipe issue.

I have questions. Should I be concerned about them going "bad"? Also, most of the recipes mention keeping the towels in their roll and just cutting the roll in half and pulling the wipes from the center. But I don't think a half roll standing on end would fit in my wipes container. Anyone out there with experience with this? The next big test is if Ken likes them, because he's on wipe duty more often than I am these days (alas!). He's not a big paper towel/disposable person, though. A third alternative would be to put the wipe solution into a spray bottle and then just wipe the baby with washcloths. But where to store the dirty cloths, since we don't use a diaper pail (since we don't cloth diaper)? So many questions. Of course the easiest thing is to stick with the Huggies wipes, but I am enjoying making this more complicated than it needs to be. Here's the recipe:

Baby Wipes

2 1/2 c. water
2 T. baby oil
2 T. baby bath
1/2 roll Bounty paper towels

Cut a roll of paper towels in half with a saw or serrated knife. Remove center cardboard tube. Combine the liquid ingredients in a measuring cup and pour over 1/2 roll of paper towels. Pull wipes out from the center of roll.

15 comments:

Heids said...

I just used old terry cloth nappies torn into washer size squares, folded and layered in my huggies box and then threw them in the machine to wash with my nappies...even if you don't use cloth nappies I think this is a viable option and an old towel torn into squares would also work.

Sarah said...

I keep my wipes solution in a spray bottle and then just spray it on my wipes as needed - I use a combination of baby washcloths and squares cut from flannel. If you do want to go the non-disposable route, maybe you could find a small plastic trash can and put it by wherever you change Rainer's diapers. Just throw the wipes in there and wash them whenever you do a load of towels. Even if you use paper towels, you might want to try the spray bottle because it seems like it would save you time at the beginning and you could control the amount of wetness for each wipe. To my knowledge, my solution has never gone bad before I had a chance to use it up.

Lisa said...

I did it just like your recipe for my first child. I found a rubbermaid or tupperware type container at my Target that fit a half roll perfectly. In the end, I didn't even measure- hot water to an eyeball depth in the container, a quirt of oil, a squirt of baby soap. Put the lid on the container, shake it up, drop in the roll. It would soak up all the liquid and be ready in a couple of hours.

This time around I really like Safeway's new Mom to Mom (www.momtomom.com) wipes. They are super soft.

kirsten said...

see, i did cloth diapers, but never made my own wipes. i don't think it's cheaper - plus paper towels are more 'paper-y' than the wipes i bought (costco - made from cloth and smell okay, not too strong - they actually accidentally made it through the wash cycle a couple of times!)

To do it over, I'd use cloth wipes, washcloths or something. My SIL had the ideal set up. She had a double vanity in her bathroom but with only one sink. Room for a changing pad next to it - she used washcloths that she just got wet in the sink really quick. perfect.

I like the spray bottle idea, though - good luck perfecting your system.

Erin said...

When my daughter was little, we had a diaper warmer on her changing table. I kept wetted wash clothes in there and would throw them into the diaper pail to get laundered with her cloth diapers. It was a good system and the wash clothes were always warm and moist. But then she moved onto real foods and the cleanup didn't sound very fun. So, I'm in the same boat as you now, although we do buy the Natural Baby or Seventh Generation brand wipes.

Christina.Kimberly said...

wow these are great! Just like 10 minutes ago I was reading all the box of wipes... there is so much artificial junk in them.

Deanna said...

LOVE this idea! My sister is having twins in a few months. I am going to make her a batch of this to try.

mushroomvillagers said...

I've been doing something similar for a little over 6 years with my 3 kids and have a very simple method. I found some plain cotton wipes at Babies-r-us years ago that are about a 6" square. (In total, I have about 40 wipes.) Folded once in half, these fit perfectly in a wipes warmer. My "solution" is I fill my bathroom sink halfway with water and squirt about a tablespoon or so of baby wash (I use Rainbow organic brand) and the same amount of jojoba oil into the sink. I then dunk my folded wipes into the solution, wring out most of the water and put the dripping wipes straight into my wipes warmer. I store about 20 wet wipes at a time which usually lasts about 3 days. ( I use cloth diapers as well so dirty wipes go straight into my diaper container to be washed with the diapers.) In the summer when the weather is hotter, I don't wet as many because sometimes the wipes get a little stale in the warmer. I don't have to mess with much and I have soft, warm wipes for my baby with every diaper change.

crunchy peas said...

Yes, I use the wipe warmer method too with baby washcloths. I use Dr. Bronner's unscented liquid soap, some lavender essential oil (just a drop or two) and some almond oil. I guess I don't worry about them going bad because we seem to go through them so quickly. I use cloth diapers and so the dirty wipes just go in the diaper pail to be washed with everything else. Sorry I couldn't be more help!

Emilie said...

It sounds like you've already received many helpful comments, but I'll give my two cents just in case! I'd say if you want to stay with the more disposable route since you don't cloth diaper, just keep your wipes solution in a spray bottle and spray a paper towel when you need one. If you'd like to use washable wipes, you could get a small garbadge can or a wet bag to store the dirty wipes in.

I use cut up squares of flannel and baby washcloths for wipes. I used to keep a spray bottle filled with water and a bit of Burt's Bees Apricot baby oil, but I've since gotten lazy and just run the wipes under the faucet when I need them!

zolzer said...

I make my own wipes using a variation of the recipe that you had. I too found a tupperware type container at Target just shove half a papertowel roll in it and pull from the middle. I never had them "go bad" and I like them because I use the uber biodegradable paper towels and I just flush them down the toilet with little worry. I tried the cloth wipe thing, and although it was great in theory, it just never really worked out in reality.

ChinaberryJanet said...

Hi there, it’s Janet from the Chinaberry cookbook. When we published the cookbook years ago, we didn’t think twice about the use of “baby oil” in the wipes. I was happy to see you using jojoba instead of standard baby oil! Traditional baby oil is sometimes 100% mineral oil, a petrochemical product that you don’t want on your baby’s bottom! I love Crunchy Pea’s post re using Dr. Bronner’s soap with lavender essential oil. That’s a great idea! You don’t really have to worry about the wipes going bad, especially if you use jojoba. Jojoba “oil” isn’t really an oil; it’s a wax, so you when you use it (vs. almond oil or other oils), you don’t have to worry about it going bad. Regarding using lavender essential oil, I know there has been some concern about its use with baby boys, so you could always use chamomile if you’re concerned about that. I’m so happy to see the Chinaberry cookbook is still alive and well out there!

Irina said...

I loved the idea and have tried it myself. I found that the soap was too much, especially if it was going to stay on the skin all day long. I used apple cider vinegar as a disinfectant. They are working great so far!

jet said...

I'm late to the party (just found your blog). I'm wondering why Bounty? When I had my babies, staff at the hospital recommended using Viva with warm water for wipes, and they worked great. They are much more cloth like. Maybe Viva wouldn't hold up to the solution?

Anyway, great blog!

Mary Beth said...

Hi Jet. I'm guessing that since the "recipe" is very old, maybe Bounty had a more cloth-like product at the time? I've never tried Viva, but thanks for the tip. When I had both babies the hospital used cloth-like squares dipped in water, similar to what you are describing. I really liked that. We've gone back to regular baby wipes since I wrote this post, though. They really are so convenient.