When my babies were in diapers — 10 years ago — cloth diapering hadn’t made its comeback yet. Four years ago, however, I first met a cloth-diapered baby; and I was intrigued. Even though I didn’t have a baby in diapers, and had no plans to have one any time ever again, I still found myself wanting to know more about these diapers that went into the washing machine instead of the garbage.
“Did they really get clean?”
“Could you see the, ahem, leftovers??”
“Were there stains???”
We used just about every brand of disposable diaper and wipes in the over five years we were diapering the peeps. Even after my peeps were long out of diapers, we were still buying wipes. We all found that we felt cleaner and fresher if we used a baby wipe after #2. (And this momma hasn’t had to wash very many pairs of undies with racing stripes either! Yay!) Even my husband loves “wiping with the cloud (very soft, overpriced t.p.) and cleansing with the rain (the wet wipe)”.
I finally took the plunge from our very soft, overpriced brand of t.p. to a more natural brand: Seventh Generation. It has taken some adjusting because it’s just not as soft as what our pampered hineys are accustomed to. First world problems … sigh. But I like that this toilet paper isn’t bleached, doesn’t leave behind “fuzz”, is safe for septic systems, and is hypoallergenic.
And when I switched to a more natural t.p., I knew it was time to consider baby wipe alternatives.
If I make something homemade, it has to be worth it for me time- and money-wise. If making something myself is going to cost more than buying it, I’m probably not going to make it. And if making something myself is going to take a ton of time, I might as well buy it. The “natural” wipe brands are ex.pen.sive, so that definitely was not an option for me. I found a few recipes for homemade wipes on Pinterest, but most of them either used store-bought baby soap and/or rolls of paper towels that you cut in half.
Not all-natural ingredients and still very wasteful.
Then I discovered machine-washable bamboo towels! Replaces 6 months’ worth of paper towels? Only $8.99?? Done.
The rest was a matter of trial-and-error until I finally came up with the most hiney-pampering wipes that are washable and reusable. We’ve been using our homemade cleansing wipes for a couple of months, and they have been amazing.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 roll of bamboo paper towels
- 2/3 cup pure witch hazel (it is much more economical to buy witch hazel by the gallon)
- 1/2 cup distilled water (Do not use tap water!)
- 1 Tablespoon organic, raw apple cider vinegar (inhibits mold growth)
- 5-20 drops lavender essential oil (also inhibits mold growth and adds a nice, faint scent)
- gallon-size plastic zip-top bag to store
Here’s how to do it:
- First, you’ll need to create the size of wipes you want. I tore the bamboo towels on the perforations, then used scissors to cut them into quarters. This yielded 80 small, square wipes. (Do this while watching your favorite show on Netflix. It’s a great way to pass the time. 😉 )
- Second, lay the stack of dry, cut wipes in a flat, glass dish, such as an 8×8 baking dish.
- Third, mix witch hazel, water, vinegar, and lavender oil in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Use a whisk to get everything mixed well. If using these wipes for a baby, please use the smallest amount of lavender oil — no more than 5 drops. I use 20 because everyone in our house is 9 and older.
- Fourth, pour the mixture over the wipes. I like to pour a bit over the top, then take a section off and pour over that section, and then do another section. This distributes the mixture evenly throughout your stack.
- Fifth, re-stack your wet wipes and press down on them with your hands to squeeze the mixture through the stack. I find that flipping the stack over, re-stacking sections, and turning them over (like a deck of cards) most evenly distributes the wet mixture.
- Last, store them in a gallon-size zip-top bag in the bathroom.
Your wipes will NOT be soaked. You don’t want that. They will just be damp, and all the wipes may not be totally damp. As the wipes sit in the bathroom, the moisture will evenly distribute over all the wipes.
Instructions for use:
- Use toilet paper first. I have written this on the wipe bag so my children remember.
- Do not flush. We use our bathroom trashcans for these wipes only. When it’s time to wash, I just dump the wipes into the washing machine and get a clean trash bag.
- Wash in cold or warm water. Do NOT bleach. I like to add a bit of lemon essential oil to my washing machine for extra stain-fighting power. After eight washes, we still don’t have any stains!
- Do NOT dry. Remove wet wipes from the washer, smooth them out, re-stack, and pour another batch of the wet mixture over them as before. You don’t even have to wait until they air dry!
- Keep your baggie of wipes sealed when not in use to avoid drying out.
I PROMISE these wipes get clean after each wash as long as you USE T.P. FIRST. I cannot speak to the cleanliness level of these wipes if you don’t use t.p. first…
We have saved so much money now that we aren’t buying wipes. I even use these wipes to remove my make-up, and they don’t dry my face out. Bonus: witch hazel is a great facial astringent, and lavender oil is wonderful for the skin!
The bamboo paper towels claim to replace six months of paper towels, so I’m assuming I’ll be replacing them in April 2015. With this mixture, our wipes have stayed sealed in their bags and have not molded at all. They never even smell musty toward the bottom of the bag.