Why Do I Hate Cloth Wipes?

November 7, 2011

Cloth Diaper Extras, Cloth Wipes


Disposable wipes are the thorn in my side.

Everything else created solely for convenience is easy for me to ignore (doesn’t mean I don’t still use them from time to time, like paper plates).

Yet, I can’t escape the grip of the disposable wipe.  They are easy, they are ready to go, they are portable, they are disposable.

And on the other hand, they are very very bad for my septic system, they leave lint on the cloth diapers if you wash them, they are gross to throw away when the have poop on them, they are a continuing cost.

It’s pretty clear that the negatives outweigh the positives, right?

I won’t even get into the healthiness or lack thereof with disposable wipes.  The ones I use are Huggies. Wow, I sorta shamefully cringed when I wrote that.

You know what’s worse?

I have at least 100 cloth wipes of various brands dispersed throughout the 4 bathrooms in my house.  My kids don’t bathe that often yet I have enough “wash cloths” for them to bathe a couple of times a day.

And even worse, I have plenty of Blissful Booty wipes solution to last me months.

If you’ve been a reader long you know I’ve used cloth wipes off and on throughout the years. (Thought About Using Cloth Wipes? 2008)

The biggest thing holding me up is the lack of a system.

What is your system? Do you use a disposable wipes container and lay them in?

Do you wet each one when needed or are the all moistened and ready to go?

Based on my past limited experience, I prefer them moistened in a box.  However, I know that they can get nasty if I prepare to big a batch.

I ran across a blog tonight that contains a 2 part series called Cloth With Solution 101.  I’ve learned to not be surprised at the irony of “stumbling” across information at just the right time since it happens so often.

Here is an excerpt from Julie of Little Monkey Store‘s blog:

Over the last couple of years I have had the opportunity to try out a variety of different cloth wipe solutions – homemade, cubes, just add water, and ready to use.  Some of the brands have worked great, some not so great and some work fine. In Part One we’re going to cover the basic types of wipe solution and the pros and cons of each one.

Homemade Wipe Solution

Making your own cloth wipe solution is relatively quick, easy and inexpensive. There are quite a few recipes available online and on our blog to get you started. You can make them as simple as you want or you can use extras such as pure aloe vera gel or some nice smelling essential oils. You control exactly what you add – a huge plus if your little one has allergies or skin sensitivities. In the beginning we made our own in a huge batch every few days since the number of diaper changes for a newborn is huge and we went through a lot of wipes.

The positive of making your own is that you know exactly what is in it and you typically have all the ingredients you need right at home. The con of making your own is using oil. If you use oil in your solution, you will need to wash your cloth wipes separate from your diapers. Oil is nice in wipe solution as it helps the wipe glide better and gives a bit of moisturizing at the same time, but the oil can transfer to your diapers if you wash your wipes and diapers together.

Wipe Cubes

Wipe cubes are handy, all you need to do is add one or two cubes to two cups of hot water, let the water cool down and the solution is ready to use. Cubes are available in all sorts of different scents and formulas. It’s always best to pick up a sample or two to try out first – to make sure that you don’t encounter any sensitivity to a particular scent.

The positive for using wipe cubes is that the cubes travel well as there is no liquid to transport and with wipe cube solution, you can wash your wipes with your diapers. Definitely cuts down on a load of laundry. The downside of wipe cubes is that boiling water melts the cubes the best, but it takes time for the solution to cool down enough to use.

To read Part II about “just add water solutions” and “ready to use solutions” click here.

I think I’m a just add water type of gal.

So, should I do it? Should I re-commit myself before thousands to start using cloth wipes again?  I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe.

*Deep breath* I’m taking the plunge.  At least part of the way.  I will keep the disposable wipes in the car for trips not for running out there and grabbing when needed ;)

Anyone else want to join me?

Oh, and my title?  Nah, I don’t hate cloth wipes, my actions however do did imply that.


About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck


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153 Responses to “Why Do I Hate Cloth Wipes?”

  1. Shera Says:

    I’m trying to convert to all cloth wipes… right now we have both + spray bottle of Thirsties Booty Spray. I’m using GroVia wipes and they are just like baby washcloths, so I just ordered a pack of washcloths too. I don’t love it because I’m already used to disposable wipes (my ODD was all sposies ’til potty training) But I also don’t know how to set myself up for an on-the-go solution.
    I also hate having a trash near the changing pad (in the middle of my bedroom) just for disposable wipes.


  2. jodi Says:

    I use cloth wipes I made out of old flannel recieving blankets. I fold them in half and keep them in an old disposable wipe container. I have a big spray bottle that I wet them with right before I use them. I use water, olive oil, baby wash, baby lotion, and tea tree oil as a wipe solution, but you could use almost anything including plain water. I wash the wipes with the diapers. It’s a really easy system that I am very happy with.


  3. Carla Says:

    We’ve been using Cheeky Wipes for a couple of months now.
    I found this an easy solution, better than working it all out for myself :)


  4. Amber Says:

    I use Lisa organically baby wipes juice. No boiling. I take an empty water bottle, pour some solution, add water, shake, and pour into a container filled with wipes. The smell is quite strong so I use much less than the recommended amount. I go through prepared wipes every 1-2 days and have no mold problems even with how humid it is here.

    The only thing I haven’t been able to find now is portable cloth wipes + container that can easily fit in my purse and last all day.


  5. Jackie Says:

    A great tip that (I read at Green Mountain Diapers I think, down a ways in the “how to” section) makes using cloth wipes really convenient at home, is having a coffee carafe “Thermos Pump” to keep warm water in, available all of the time to wet the wipe. I was given one at my baby shower that puts out a stream of water as you push down on the top, it needs refilling about every other day, I love it. I only keep water in it and if a wipe solution is needed, I have a small spray bottle with solution to spray on the warm wet wipe. I keep the wipes in a folded stack with the diapers, quick and simple.

    I will admit a carafe sounded expensive at first but, it is a one time cost, really in the price range of one cloth diaper (excluding flats and prefolds and some exceptions). When you are done with it for diapering it is still very useful for hot beverages. :)


  6. Anna Says:

    Hey ! I’ve never tried cloth diapers, let alone cloth wipes yet. I actually have a three-month-old son, my first, and I have become highly obsessed with my research on cloth diapers and cloth wipes !!! I just recently purchased some cloth diapers/wipes online and I am too excited to try it out. But as for the cloth wipes, I would love to make my own solution. Tea Tree Oil sounds wonderful to add to my solution, but a new thought popped up in my head: What about Peppermint Oil? Has anyone ever thought of that? Because I would love to wash the cloths with the diapers, but I’m not sure if the Peppermint Oil would affect my diapers … ?


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Yes, I used peppermint oil. Yuuuum. Adding essential oil to your wipes solution isn’t going to cause a problem in the wash.


  7. Carly Says:

    I LOVE CLOTH WIPES! I made all of mine out of an old flannel sheet (just cut out squares and sewed a border around them; made about 70 with my friend’s sewing machine — mind you, I didn’t even know how to use a sewing machine before this and it worked out great!). I make my own solution and put them in a wipes container and soak them all at once. It usually works out well to just make a batch of wipes everytime I wash the diapers (e.g., usually make 20-30 wipes every few days). I only have issues if I let them go more than 2-3 days (then they smell musty). I add lavendar oil to the solution and they smell amazing (I hate the smell of disposable wipes and diapers…gross). One thing that might help — I leave the wipes container partly open — they dry out a bit more this way but I think it helps counteract the must/mildew. You won’t regret the switch — they are easy and work so much better than disposable wipes! :)

    P.S. LOVE your blog and have referred tons of friends! :)


  8. Jessica Says:

    I use baby wash cloths as wipes (people kept giving them to me at showers and I hardly EVER use them for baths!). I use the peri bottle that the hospital gave me, fill it with clean water, add a couple drops of baby soap (or whatever kind of soap you usually use in the shower/tub). When diaper changes come around I just spray the water onto the cloth and wipe the bum. For extra nasty poos we use toilet paper to wipe at first so that it can just be flushed, then finish off with a cloth wipe. They can go straight in the pail with the diapers and make it so easy to get the bums clean!


  9. Amanda Says:

    I made all my own cloth wipes and just keep them folded in half, dry in an old wipe container. I keep a spray bottle beside the table of just plain water, and wet each one as I need it. My toddler rarely has dirty diapers that are “that” messy now. He even likes me to spray the wipe so the mist falls on him, he laughs so hard at this that we’ve made it a game.


  10. Rachella Says:

    I use cloth wipes and spray them with water. For poopy diapers I use toilet paper to get most of the mess before using the cloth wipe and just flush it afterward. It seems to work well for use but as a newbie still (my babygirl is 2 months) I am still learning my system too. I find the fleece wipes better as they are a little softer on her butt.


  11. Maggie L Says:

    Dumb newbie question (baby due in April): how many cloth wipes should we start out with? I’m trying to figure out how many to make/buy and want to get started soon. If we go through 10-15 a day, and we do laundry every other day (is that realistic with cloth diapers, or should we be planning on every day laundry? I know, so much to learn!!), that’s…45 or so (with extras)? Anyone have good suggestions for dimensions?


  12. kerin Says:

    I love our cloth wipes, though I have to pester my husband to use them instead of the disposables. I bought a yard of fleece at the fabric store and cut them into rectangles about the same size as a typical disposable wipe.

    I buy the California Baby Diaper spray and dilute it to half concentration. I could probably dilute it further, but I’m happy with that. The bottles normally cost about $10, so I’m cutting it down to $5 per bottle. A bottle typically lasts about a 4-6 weeks and so the expense is really rather minimal.

    Some people spray the wipes and then use on baby. I prefer just to spray the butt directly and then wipe – I think it cleans up better.

    I like cloth wipes better than disposables when using cloth diapers because then I don’t have to throw the poopy wipes in the trash…it’s an extra step avoided (and my trash doesn’t smell of poo!)


  13. Jessica Menon Says:

    I’ve been cloth diapering my nearly one year old from the beginning, and also have been using cloth wipes from the beginning. I guess I just figured if I am bothering to wash the diapers, why not just wash cloth wipes along with them?

    At first I tried a few different booty lusters, potions, etc., but after a bout of bad diaper rash, I just started plain water, and that has worked best for me. I just keep a stack of clean cloth wipes in a little basket by all my changing stuff, and a bowl of fresh water, and wet one when I need and wipe, and throw it in my dirty diaper bag. I think it’s worked great.

    I also travel a lot, so if I am in a place where I am traveling with cloth diapers but may not have water readily available, I bring along a travel size of some diaper spray potion and just use a lot of that with a dry cloth (and once in a while just use the disposable wipes, but I hate using disposable wipes, and hate buying them). If interested in information on traveling with cloth diapers, check out my blog: http://gypsymomma.com/recommended-gear/travel-gear-i-cant-live-without/diapering/


  14. Tracy Says:

    I make my wipes ahead of time. I put a small bit, maybe 1/4-1/2 of a tsp, of California Baby bath soap and olive oil in a reusable water bottle we keep just for mixing up the wipe solution and fill it with water. I think it holds 3-4 cups of water. I have my clean wipes folded in a tupperware container (I use 3 so I can rotate) and just pour the solution on them and squish it in so they are just damp. For the diaper bag I just use a much smaller tupperware container, about the size for a sandwich. Works great and is easy. The olive oil washes right out so you can throw it in with your diapers.


  15. Mandy Says:

    There is an option C. Make your own disposable wipes. It works in this house. the peanutbutter poo for 10 months turned me off cloth – this mamma did NOT like rinsing wipes. There are a TON of variations but…heres ours. I Love these.
    its always easier to watch a video than type while nursing. FYI I do add a little more water, equal ammts of oil and wash, and a couple of drops of tea tree.
    and i do not wait 20 minutes. more like shake for 60 seconds / let sit for a minute then remove.


  16. heather p Says:

    For some reason my husband hates cloth wipes too. I don’t get it. There are so many steps at my house for using them. After changing a poopy diaper, they need to be taken out of the diaper and then put in the diaper Genie, which is gross in my opinion, I almost always get something on me unless I waste more toilet paper to push it down. And he often leaves them in the diaper to be washed, they certainly help make a nice diaper rope if you use hook and loop! Grrrrr. So… How I like to do it is just mix wipe solution in a peri bottle, there’s one upstairs and one downstairs. We use honey chunks. I boil water with my keurig lol, to dissolve it, and then divide it between the two bottles, and finish filling with cold water. These two bottles last me all week. They never stink. But every time I prewet wipes they stink the next day. If I’m going out, I just prewet a few and put them in a sandwich bag, or sometimes I use a little spray bottle.


  17. Corinne Says:

    I have over a dozen brands of cloths and have come to love the fuzzibunz cloths because one side is fleece and the other cotton , both which stay softer when washing with your diapers. Old school wash cloths just get too scratchy when washing with your diapers cuz U cant use dryer sheets or softeners.
    I actually premake solution – favorite wipe cube by monkey doodles so far , and put it in an electric wipe Warmer . You can fit 1o-18cloths in a time , cover them with wipe solution till they’re saturated and turn on warmer. This will last me 3-4 days, clean warmer thoroughly and begin again
    Because the warmer keeps things hot enough to keep bacteria at bay I found it much cleaner smelling and just plain nicer to use than a cold tub of pre-moistened cloths. My little Hayden is so spoiled with her warm soft cloths a cold Huggies wipe makes her nose curl up. YOu also dont need to keep the water running at the sink waiting for it to get warm
    One Cloth vs 6 wipes for a poopy, CLoth all the way!


  18. Veronique Says:

    I am thinking about using cloth wipes on my soon to be born baby. My only concern is the wipe solution. I would like to mix my own but would also like to be able to wash the wipes with the diaper. If I put some tea tree oil in the solution will I still be able to wash everything together without creating problems with the diaper?


  19. Kari Says:

    Just jump in and do it again. I use cloth wipes only, and won’t go back! I use a solution of water with a squirt of baby soap and a squirt of baby oil. It smells so good and works great! I rarely have a poopy that I’ve had to use more than one wipe. I use an old Huggies container and stack them all in there and pour the solution on top. I have thought about changing to a spray bottle, but I haven’t gotten to that yet. Why mess with a system that works, right?


  20. Tomi burgess Says:

    I use California Babies diaper area spray and moisten as needed. I keep that and stack of dry cloths on the table ready to go. I also have a spray bottle and stack of cloths in the diaper bag. It is really convenient. :)


  21. Kelley Says:

    I prefer cloth wipes too. I usually make a batch on the weekend, generally lasts us the whole week. Granted–when she’s at daycare they use their own disposable wipes there, so I think that’s why I only have to make one batch for a week. I pre-moisten them with Baby Wipe solution. Disposable wipes don’t get her bottom as clean, and they are SO flimsy! I’m way more likely to get poop on my hands with a disposable wipe. I make wipes while watching TV, it’s kinda meditative. Fold, spray, fold, spray, fold, spray. :)


  22. Jessica Says:

    I used disposable wipes on my newborn for 2 reasons: I needed the Huggies container for my cloth wipes, & I didn’t have quite enough cloth wipes made to make using them worth while. Fast forward 6 months. I have been using cloth wipes for months now, & I’ll never be able to go back! The disposable wipes are just too darn flimsy… & remembering to gingerly carry one to the trash can so that it doesn’t end up in a zillion pieces in my diaper laundry is just WAY too involved for my frazzled new mommy brain! :) I thought I would like the convenience of having my cloth wipes pre-moistened, but in the end that system required too much work. Now, I have a small spray bottle that I make my own wipe solution in about every 3 days. I do add a small bit of essential oils & have never had any trouble washing the wipes with my diapers. The wipes are folded in my handy Huggies container so that they pop up just like disposable wipes & I can just grab & go. When baby needs to be changed, I grab a wipe, spritz to moisten, & voila! I don’t have to worry about keeping up with the damp environment of pre-moistened wipes. Take the plunge, Autumn. You know you’ll love it once you find the system that works best for your home!


  23. Heather Says:

    I actually prefer cloth wipes. When my son was a newborn I used the wipes warmer, but I switched to a small crock pot with solution in it so I could just wet them as needed. Now I only use wipes if he poops. I will use a dry wipe with a spray solution I have when he pees mainly because it gets the smell off his skin and it will be wasted if I don’t. When he poops I use a washcloth because they’re larger and I wet it with warm water and Dr. Bronners peppermint soap. It takes poop off like nothing else! AND they just go right in the diaper wash! I used disposable diapers and wipes for a week when we lost power for 6 days a couple weeks ago. I was SHOCKED at how fast that tub of wipes went and I found that they didn’t get him nearly as clean as my cloth! I’m a cloth girl all the way!



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