Reusable baby wipes are a fantastic option for your baby’s skin, your wallet and the planet. The different types of reusable baby wipes are gaining popularity as more families look to minimize their impact on the earth. Cloth baby wipes make it easy to switch to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Becoming a parent doesn’t have to mean your eco-conscious days are over.
Disposable diaper wipes were invented in the 1950s and have clogged up landfill sites ever since. Reusable cloth wipes are a much more earth-friendly way of cleaning your baby’s bottom. Of course, you won’t be martyring yourself just for the planet; reusable wet wipes are better than single-use wipes for many other reasons as well.
You can banish throwaway wipes for good or keep a pack in your diaper bag for when you’re out and about. Even if you only use cloth baby wipes at home, you’ll still be preventing a load of landfill by the time your baby is potty trained.
The benefits of washable wipes
Reusable wipes are brilliant; once you try them, you won’t want to return to disposable wipes. Here are some of the benefits of washable cloth wipes:
Using washable wipes will save you money. Although the initial outlay is higher, they will last until your baby is potty trained. You won’t need to budget for baby wipes as part of your weekly shop. You will save a small fortune on baby wipes by choosing reusable wipes.
Generally, if something is disposable, it’s probably not great for the planet. Washable cloth wipes are better for the planet because you can use them repeatedly. In addition, if you choose the right type, cloth wipes are free from plastic and harmful chemicals.
A baby will get through thousands of disposable baby wipes from birth to potty training. Those wipes then sit in landfill for over 100 years. By choosing cloth wipes, you are reducing your household waste.
If you’ve never used them, you might imagine washable baby wipes as a bit of faff, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Reusable cloth wipes are convenient and easy to use. If you’re cloth diapering, you can simply throw them in the washing machine with your cloth diapers. If you’re not, the soiled wipes can go in the washing machine with your regular laundry.
Cloth baby wipes are nice and thick, so they protect your hands from poop much better than disposable wipes. Have you ever had a disposable wipe tear mid-diaper change? Then you know how gross that is. Luckily, you won’t have the same problem with cloth wipes because the wipes are much thicker than disposable wipes. In addition, reusable baby wipes are strong and durable, so you can trust they’ll keep your hands free from poop.
What types of reusable baby wipes are available on the market?
Cloth baby wipes are available in various fabrics, so you can choose the one you think is best for your baby. Unlike disposable wipes, which usually contain plastics, cloth baby wipes are made from fabric.
Here are some of the most popular options when it comes to cloth wipes:
Cotton is a sustainable fabric, so it’s a great option for washable baby wipes. Terry is a fabric made from lots of little loops of cotton. The manufacturing process means terry cloth wipes have plenty of ‘body’ to provide a thorough clean. The fabric is absorbant yet soft, so they’re gentle on your baby’s skin.
2. Organic cotton
Organic cotton has been grown without pesticides and other harmful chemicals. If the cloth wipes are certified organic, they will have been manufactured without chemical nasties. This is not only better for the planet but it also means the cloth wipes will be free from potentially harmful chemicals.
Bamboo is often hailed as one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics, so it’s an excellent choice for your baby’s wipes. In addition, bamboo is quick and easy to grow and doesn’t require as much energy as cotton and other plants.
Bamboo has the bonus of being naturally antibacterial, so you can trust it to keep your baby’s skin safe. Bamboo baby wipes are also some of the softest, thanks to the lovely feel of bamboo. Bamboo is a wonderful option if your baby has sensitive skin. For sensitive skin, skip the essential oils and simply use water to wet the wipes.
You can purchase fleece cloth wipes, although they are not the most sustainable option. Fleece contains plastic fibers, and these microplastics will leak into the water supply when wipes are washed, so they are best avoided if you’re looking for a more planet-friendly baby wipe. It’s always worth researching fabric wipes to ensure the fabric is plastic-free and environmentally sound.
How many cloth baby wipes will I need?
You will probably use a couple of wipes for each diaper change. You might get away with just one for a wet diaper but could get through a handful during a particularly messy change. You’ll need time to wash the wipes between uses, so you should aim to have around 30 cloth baby wipes.
Thirty cloth wipes should be enough to get you from birth to potty training, so you won’t need to purchase any more wipes in the future. However, to be sure you don’t run out, get in the habit of chucking your cloth wipe wet bag in the washing machine every other day.
If you’d like to try before you buy, you could contact a local cloth diaper library to see if they have wipes you could look at. You can compare the softness, thickness and strength of different fabrics to see which would be best for your family.
How to wash reusable wipes
Cloth baby wipes are particularly popular among cloth diapering families. If you’re cloth diapering, you can simply stick the dirty wipes in the washing machine with your cloth diapers. However, if you’re using cloth nappies, it makes perfect sense to use wipes you can wash simultaneously. It’s so easy – and you won’t notice the extra laundry because you’re already doing diaper washes.
If you’re using disposable diapers, don’t worry, the cloth wipes can go in with your regular laundry. You should wash white terry cotton wipes on a hot wash setting; colored wipes are fine in a cooler wash. Your regular laundry detergent is fine for cloth wipes.
It would be best to soak soiled wipes in cold water straight after use, to prevent staining and to ensure a thorough clean when they go in the wash. If you notice your white wipes are stained, pop them on the line to dry in the sun; the sun should turn them white again. This trick will also work to freshen up any stained cloth diapers.