Switching to Cloth Baby Wipes

I wanted to use cloth wipes with our first child. But somehow our hectic careers and the rigors of household work kept us at the brink of exhaustion, too tired to even attempt taking on any new challenges. My husband, who isn’t one to embrace anything that produces more laundry, was especially resistant to the idea of cloth wipes even though he really enjoyed diapering our baby in cloth.

With our second, I bought a few packs of super cheap baby washcloths and was determined that make the difficult transition to cloth wipes. After all, my husband is home now with the kids and I have the summer off. We have no excuse!

Imagine our surprise when we realized that using cloth wipes is actually no transition at all! They get tossed into the wash along with her diapers and are so small that they don’t add to the amount of laundry we do.

We filled a plastic container with water and a bit of baby oil we had gotten years ago at a baby shower, and then put the clean wipes in there after they come out of the wash. (There are many recipes for “wipe water” online and several use olive oil instead of baby oil, which is a petroleum product.) We don’t even have to throw our laundered wipes in the dryer. It takes us about two minutes of time each week and we find that they’re more effective than disposable wipes. Now our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner!

Have you used cloth wipes? Rebecca made hers out of old t-shirts and sprays each with water before using. What is your favorite strategy? Are you worried about switching to cloth wipes? Let’s hear some words of encouragement!


  1. I would love to hear this answer, I recently started CD and haven’t used cloth wipes yet. I’m worried the BM will make even more of a mess. How do you guys handle this?

    Also, my husband pretty much refuses to use the cloth diapers. Any suggestions on how to get him on board?

  2. Hi! We loved your post and decided to feature it as part of KiwiLog’s weekly mom blog round-up. Thanks for the great ideas!

  3. Heather,
    My husband actually now prefers cloth wipes over disposable ones for poopy diapers. Usually just one cloth wipe usually does the job on any diaper.

    As for the cloth diapering dilemma, have you talked to your husband about the cost savings? If you plan on using them for two or three children you could save over 5,000 over the years. That’s pretty convincing! My husband wasn’t sure about cloth either but once we started he realized that it’s really incredibly easy. Does anyone else have any husband tips?

  4. VeggieMomma says

    My hubby is the type that is all for anything that I choose to do. He’s just compatable and easy going like that. Besides, the cost savings helped to get him excited. The thing that made him the most willing to cloth diaper and wipe is that with cloth diapers, babies are usually potty trained sooner. So that should help your hubby who doesn’t like to change diapers!

    I use cut up tee shirts, cut up receiving blankets, which work great and are very soft, and I also have boughten cotten/hemp wipes and bamboo wipes. I mostly use the boughten wipes for bums and the cut up wipes for face/hands/high chair tray and as backup. I also bought a wipe solution to use in a wipe warmer, but your own solution can easily be made at home.

  5. When we originally started Cd’ing, I stuck with disposable wipes. It was a huge pain. Fishing the sposie wipes out of the diaper was gross, plus we had to find something to do with the wipes until garbage day since I didn’t want them smelling up our house.

    A friend passed on her cloth wipes to us, and I love them! Call me simple, but I only use water. (Kept in the peri-bottle they gave me at the hospital.)

  6. we use cloth wipes with a spray bottle of water and olive oil bar soap or kissaluvs spray for a final clean or dry, but we’re still using disposable wipes for poopy changes. what’s put me off full-time use is not wanting the extra step of rinsing dirty wipes in the toilet and feeling reluctant about tossing them in the wash “as is.”

    do you rinse them first? do they get clean if you don’t?

  7. We started with cloth wipes before cloth diapers (we didn’t CD until my son was about 4 weeks). I serged two-ply squares of old flannel sheets. I also made some out of jersey knit sheets for a friend. To keep the water warm, we use an “airpot” like they serve coffee out of. Hot water and lately, a squirt of California Baby soap.

    Like others have said, it’s really no big deal. I actually find disposable wipes more inconvenient now. Our cloth wipes are stacked and totally accessible and I don’t worry about sealing them up and them drying out.

    Oh, and we wash “as is” — I use flushable liners and wipe off any extra with the liner *first* before wiping with the cloth.

  8. Brittany–we used the peri bottle and just plain water, too! I never tried using anything else; one of the advantages of cloth wipes is that you can avoid chemicals and scents.

    Suzannah–We always just tossed the wipes in with the diapers “as is,” but they never got that messy in the first place. (We very rarely needed to even dunk diapers. Not to get too graphic, but we were able to simply shake the “deposits” off the diaper into the toilet. Everything just fell off the diaper. If you have a messier time of it, it may be worth getting flushable diaper liners.)

  9. i wish i had done that–it makes so much sense!

  10. we LOVE our cloth wipes!

    we keep a stash of them, dry, in our little guy’s dresser with his diapers. when it’s time for a change, i’ll quickly wet it in under the faucet, and that’s that! no oils, scents, nothing…just water. we use a diaper service, so if it’s a messy change, we’ll wipe with a cloth diaper first, and then finish off with the wipe. although, we’ve sometimes skipped that first step, and just wiped the mess with the cloth wipes, and it all comes out in the wash.

    i have to say, if i use a disposable wipe now, i feel like it leaves a film on baby’s bottom that the cloth wipes don’t.

    suzannah…we don’t rinse them after using them…we just put them in a wetbag, and throw the whole thing in the wash (wetbag and all) on hot, and it all comes out.

  11. Great post.

    I haven’t used them but plan to for baby #2. I’m wondering how people manage with poopy diapers and wipes when you are away from home (ie where do you store them and how do you manage the message when you are out and about or at someone else’s home. – or is this the time for disposables?)
    Thanks for any input.

    I’ve recently decided that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing next time around. If I choose cloth part time and if more moms did, it would still be a great reduction of waste. Ciao.

  12. I have to confess that we do use disposable wipes when we’re on the go. We try to use cloth diapers though and tote along a dry bag. Our seven-week-old isn’t all that sensitive about getting her diaper changed immediately and our errands are usually pretty short so we haven’t had to change diapers in public restrooms that often yet—but that could change!

  13. We use the cloth wipes with just water. They work great! I use the peri bottle when we are out and about. I do keep a pack of travel disposable wipes if we are leaving baby with a sitter or family that refuses to use the cloth wipes or diapers. My husband hated the idea of cloth diapers in the beginning. But I splurged and bought the OS pocket diapers (they look and work like disposables- you just throw them in the bag instead of the trash) and my husband was less freaked out by it. Now it’s not a big deal to him. Since most people buy diapers and wipes for baby showers, I asked for one cloth diaper and/or set of cloth wipes instead.

  14. We use our cloth all the time – at home, out and about or for weekend visits with friends and family. We brings wipes, diapers and doublers in one wet bag and bring another wet bag for the dirty diapers, etc.
    We find it just as easy to travel with cloth as disposables. The only yucky part is rinsing poopy diapers in the toilet (as we have a sprayer at home!).

    We just rinse our wipes under the faucet before each change. It seems to work well! We have tried spray bottles, wet wipe containers (filled with oils and water) and reverted back to the faucet. We find it easiest and we have a bathroom on each floor so it makes it easier.

    I find cloth wipes much easier to use and it usually only takes one wipe!

  15. I LOVE using cloth baby wipes. I have an EASY recipe for homemade baby wipes. Just make the solution, put it in a spray bottle, and spray your cloths before using. Simple! I’ve got the recipe on my blog… check it out!! I’ve used this recipe for each of my three babies, it’s the only thing I’ve found that doesn’t irritate their skin.


  16. My husband was hesitant to use cloth wipes too, but I just never bought disposibles and so it made it pretty easy for him to convert. He had no choice!

  17. Totally love cloth wipes. When we are on the go, I use Bum Boosa wipes.

  18. I LOVE cloth wipes. We started cloth diapering when we had our second child (we attempted with the first, but couldn’t hack it at the time) and first started with disposable wipes. It was annoying and didn’t make sense to throw something in the garbage when we were reusing the diapers. Picked up a pack of cloth wipes and haven’t turned back. They are no more extra work and actually better at cleaning up messes.

  19. michelle says

    we use both cloth wipes/dipes, and disposable wipes/dipes. i used old receiving blankets, cut up. i keep them in a small basket on the changing table next to a recycled pumping shampoo bottle of my solution (water, aloe juice, dr bronners babymild soap, and tea tree oil). i wipe off most off poo with the actual diaper as i’m taking it off… then follow with a cloth wipe wetted with a pump of the solution. i use a dry diaper bag, so i hung a lingerie laundry net bag next to the diaper bag for wipes. this keeps them together in the washer – and easy to hang the whole bag on the line to dry.

  20. I gotta say that my hubby prefers cloth diapers whenever we arent on a trip nor at night (only cause those times we use sposies to ward of dpr rashes). What got him to make the switch? The cost. As per wipes the cost is the big reason we use em. Sides, I get the pooey messes. 🙂 Now I’m workin to switch me to cloth too! Imagine the savings! 🙂

    Our wipe regimen is to wash em (with our dpr service), toss em in an open container, and add enough water to dampen but not have standing water. We usually only need one wipe per poo!!

  21. I did not use cloth diapers with my daughter who is 4 now but I am pregnant again and I plan to use cloth diapers with this one I also want to use cloth wipes but I was wondering with the cloth wipes if you wet them and put them in a container do they start to smell like wet clothes do in the wash machine if they sit to long? is it better to just keep the wipes dry until you get ready to use them?? I plan to wash all my cloth diapers and wipes by hand in the sink and hang them to dry I have read that it is the best way to be sure that all the soap is out of the diapers

    I would love to get some suggestions so that I will be completely prepared thank you!!

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