After giving up using cotton wool and water on my growing baby daughter’s bottom, by default I ended up using commercial baby wipes – and I went through a few different brands as most would make her skin react.
These days, many babies have eczema or allergies, which isn’t helped with the harsh and questionable chemicals used in baby wipes. The pin finally dropped one day when I asked mums for advice on how to get creative pen ‘artwork’ off the sofa – the overwhelming response? Baby wipes! ’It’ll get anything out!’ But what was it getting out of my baby’s skin? I started to do some research and found that some of the ingredients used in baby products are quite toxic. Its no wonder so many babies have problems with their skin.
Years ago in the BellyBelly Forums, a member posted a recipe for her own home made cloth wipes, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and never looked back – irritated bottoms became a thing of the past. I was also happy to cut down on waste, helping to care for the environment, as well as saving money to boot.
Cloth Wipes / Squares
You can purchase cloth baby wipes from many sources now, especially cloth nappy retailers. Modern cloth nappies are growing in popularity, which has made available many new cloth products, like breast pads, pads for menstruation and cloth wipes.
You don’t even need to buy specialised cloth wipes – our members have used a range of materials and been happy with the result, from flannels/face washers, old towels/blankets cut into squares, chux wipes in squares or paper towels. If you choose paper towels, don’t buy cheap brands which usually fall apart – go for the strong, thick sort. Then all you need to do is cut the roll in half and take out the cardboard tube for smaller squares.
The next thing to consider is how you want to use the wipes; you can use a recipe in a spray bottle for dry wipes, or in a wipes container or a bowl of water by the change table for wet wipes. If you’re happy using water on its own, this is the best option on sensitive baby skin. Even just for wet nappies this might be enough, then for the more challenging or messy nappies, a wipes recipe might be ideal!
The wipes recipe can be your own unique creation – you can add cleansing, healing and cooling ingredients into the recipe, like calendula and chamomile.
Baby Wipes Recipe
Start with 2 cups of hot water, which will help disperse ingredients (cool before use).
To this you can add any of the following, making sure any oils are pure, essential oils, not fragranced or synthetic oils:
- 2 tablespoons of olive/almond/apricot oil
- 1-2 tablespoons of baby wash (try to use a natural soap, something gentle or organic)
- 2 teaspoons of calendula oil
- 2 drops of chamomile oil or alternately chamomile tea (pop a bag in the water)
- 1 vitamin E capsule (pierce it to get out the vitamin E)
- 2 drops of tea tree oil (helps prevent nappy rash)
- 2 drops of lavender oil
Some tips to bear in mind
1. Don’t use baby oil. Its a petrochemical product, which is derived from crude oil, so as you can imagine, it isn’t great for skin, let alone on a baby.
2. Unused wipes can start to smell or even get mould if you don’t use them soon after you make them. If you get into a regular routine of washing every two days you should be fine, depending on the climate in your area. Wash the wipes container out regularly.
3. Start with around 24-36 cloth squares/wipes and see how you go.
4. If you’re heading out, a re-sealable plastic bag is nice and easy for storing wipes while traveling and is compact to store.
5. When you’re done with the wipes, just throw them in your nappy bucket to wash them with other cloth nappies or soak them in a bucket and wash separately.
Miessence make an Australian Certified Organic Baby Bottom Cleansing Gel which is pricey but you only need one or two pumps and the ingredients are very gentle and safe. They have a points system for discounts too.