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How to Make Homemade Reusable Baby Wipes

Guest post by Candice from Rattles and Redheads

Baby wipes can be expensive and can easily become one of those, “On no! I forgot to pick up wipes, today!” types of catastrophes that often plague so many of us in the wee hours of the night. I have been there too often!

Reusable wipes are perfect for easy spills, diaper changes at home, or to bring with you while you’re out. You can use them to even wipe down your toys, and to clean up your children after each meal. I know that I might not use them for the “messy” diapers, but I enjoy reusing these wipes for all other kid-related multi-purpose uses.

Here’s how I make mine:

You could create a more natural solution for the baby wipes by mixing essential oils, lanolin, or aloe with the water. I would have done this but chose to instead just use the items that I already had on hand.

Candice is a full time stay at home mom, student, entrepreneur, life living, goal aspiring, teacher of two beautiful children. She enjoys spending her time exploring the world around, learning, reading, attempting to be artists and seeking many days of wholesome fun and adventure. You can learn more about her learning journey at Rattles and Redheads.

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  • Heather says:

    Is it just me or does a half cup of baby wash and baby oil seem like a lot? With the disposable wipes it’s only 2 tablespoons.

    • kara says:

      I use olive oil & baby shampoo, 1T each to 2 c of water (I usually double it and store the excess in the fridge and pour it over the wipes as needed).

    • Melodie says:

      It is a little too much. 2 T. is quite sufficient. Also, be sure to stitch the edges of the wipes to prevent really aggravating fraying. You may be able to get away with using pinking shears, but with regular scissors, definitely stitch flannel. It frays badly!!!

  • Just a quick question…do you have to rinse baby’s rear after using these since they have soap, or is it diluted enough that it wouldn’t cause any irritation? We have sensitive skin 🙂

    I like the idea of using these for toy wipedowns too!

    • Kelly says:

      I wouldn’t use this solution, especially for sensitive skin, as sulfates and other harsh irritants in the body wash would be staying on the skin. Maybe seek a natural recipe online?

      • Jen says:

        California Baby has a nice shampoo/body wash that is very safe. You could use it with a natural oil, like olive oil or jojoba oil.

    • Beulah says:

      We also have a baby with sensitive skin. I have a batch of this in a spray jar for messy diapers. We just use our natural baby products for the soap and oil. There is such a nominal amount of soap if you use the 2 T oil/soap to water ratio it isn’t like sudsing the baby’s little bottom. I hope you find something you like!

      • Beulah says:

        And as a side note, I’d be careful using something like Dr. Bonner’s for this. I think even the baby castile might be a little too strong for really sensitive skin.

  • jennyandcompany says:

    it does seem like too much. This is a also great cheap way to make cloth wipes for cloth diapers, although you wouldn’t want to use baby oil on them for that.

  • Joyce says:

    I love this idea. I never thought to use those baby blinkets!How great to use on car trips etc too. Thanks for the idea…I know what I will be making in the near future.

  • Kristi says:

    I made my own with old t-shirts that I surged and some other ones out of terry cloth material that was on sale. Instead of oil, I use 2 tablespoons of white vinegar….

  • I did this for my kids (except used paper towels so they were disposable.) I mixed 1 teaspoon baby wash and 1 teaspoon baby oil with 1 cup warm water.
    I only liked Bounty paper towels for these and used the select-a-size paper towels, folded them accordion style into a tupperware container. Let it soak over night before using.
    Took a little time (5 minutes) to make up each container, but so worth it. They were super soft and gentle…my kids never had diaper rash!

    • Jane says:

      I did this for awhile – I cut the paper towels in 1/2 and made two. Then froze one while using the other. I microwaved to dethaw when I needed the other one.

      I had trouble with mold buildup on the towels, so only made them when we had severe diaper rash.

  • williamsmommyof5 says:

    The baby oil is a skin conditioner and shouldn’t be problematic when used in this baby wipe solution. I asked my Grandmother what she used before there were baby wipes and she said baby oil and cotton balls were routinely used and in her experience caused no rashing of the skin.

  • jennifer w. says:

    I just keep the flannel squares folded in a drawer and use a squirt of water from a bottle I keep at the changing table. Doesn’t get much easier or cheaper than that!

  • Becky says:

    I read once that its better to keep your liquid in a spray bottle and spray the wipes as needed instead of leaving them wet.
    The wet ones can develop a musty odor..

    • Sarah says:

      My recipe uses a few drops of tea tree oil which is antimicrobial/antifungal/antiseptic in nature. That keeps mine from getting funky.

      And to address some above posts regarding how much baby wash and oil, my recipe is:

      1 c. water
      2 T. baby oil
      2 T. baby wash
      2-3 drops tea tree oil

      • I use this exact same recipe and put mine into the large round plastic ice-cream buckets that are the 5 quart size…

        We go through them frequent enough that I can just store the one in the laundry room until needed.

        Also, we do not pull out the cardboard until ready for the first use, the water will help soften it up so it comes out very easily.

        I really recommend the Tea Tree oil, as it helps with fungal rashes..I’ve never had an issue with the wipes getting musty or moldy but the tea tree helps prevent rashes.

      • Kate says:

        I do the same thing, except double the water and use olive oil or sweet almond oil in place of the baby oil. I put it in a spray bottle and spray it on each wipe before use. Works great and is super cheap since I already use all of the ingredients for other purposes.

  • Dustie says:

    I love these tips! Good job ladies!

  • Fay says:

    Our pediatrician advised us against using wipes from day one so we always used a new wash cloth to wipe each time after i had run them under water and squeezed most of it out and then just washed them every couple of days and sanitized the bucket. Our baby(except for once and only because we used wipes while traveling) did not get a diaper rash. Babiesrus sells soft washcloth sets and we bought a few when the baby was about to arrive. We still have them and will be using them for baby number two.

  • Angela says:

    Baby oil is mineral oil which is just refined motor oil. Mineral oil is in A LOT of beauty products and is CARCINOGENIC. I would not put it on my baby. Just use a soft cloth and water.

  • Cat says:

    For those of you who use a spray bottle – is it a mixture or just water?

    Thanks for the great tips!

    • Melodie says:

      I’ve done both. I realized really quickly that plain water works great though. I am a bit lazy, so all these recipes look like too much work to me. Nothing but water on my babies bums. They have no rashes, and they clean up as easily with plain water as with any of these formulas and mixtures.

      If/when we are dealing with a rash (which is very rare . . . maybe once a year when I got carried away and didn’t change a diaper in time or when my LO is teething), I will put a few drops of tea tree oil in to protect them from yeast infections. This is especially important in the summer when jock itch becomes a challenge for my outdoor loving boys and hard working farmer husband. A little tea tree oil goes a long way in preventing really aggravating and hard to beat rashes. I put it in the laundry too, to protect against trouble. Tea tree oil can usually be bought in the drugstore in the jock itch section. It comes in a really small bottle. Be sure to dilute it since straight tea tree oil can cause dry rashes and flaking.

  • Lisa K says:

    We’ve been using homemade wipes for a long time now. With four kids they can get expensive to buy store wipes for faces, bottoms, etc. So, here’s what we did.

    We saved our old oxyclean round bucket container with a snap lid and cut a slit in the top.

    Bounty paper towels work the best because they don’t rip. Cut the roll in half and pull out the cardboard roll.

    Mix the solution together…2 cups of hot water, 2 T baby oil, and 2 T baby bath.

    When you pour it over the paper towels it will absorb into them. All you have to do is pull the first wipe through the slit from the center of the roll. Then you have pop up wipes!

  • Mattea says:

    Having used quite a few different cloth wipes (in conjunction w/ our cloth diapers), I can say that hands down the best wipes are a thing terry cloth material. You can purchase these from cloth diaper websites, but it’s a cinch to make your own. We have some from cutting up receiving blankets and they are too thin, they don’t have the wiping power of the terry cloth, they fall apart easily, and produce a lot of lint. You can look at yard sales or thrift stores for baby washcloths (done!) or baby bath towels (the hooded kind) and cut up the towel and just serge the edges, or put a quick cotton binding on the edges. The terry cloth is wonderful! I routinely only need to use one or two wipes where before I would using more like 5 to get the baby clean. My diaper wipe solution (and I do this about every other day to avoid musty odors, but I’ve heard tea tree oil drops in the solution can help avoid this too) is about 1/2 tsp. a natural oil, sunflower, olive, jojoba, safflower, sweet almond—anything totally natural. And a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s “Baby” Castile soap. Mix w/ about a cup of hot water. Then I dip the wipes and squeeze them out and lat flat in a plastic container. Works like a charm!

  • Kristi says:

    I’ve used these types of wipes before and they are excellent. I had TONS of receiving blankets after my first so I cut them up and even folded them within one another so they would “pop up”. One thing I would recommend is sweing the edges if you’re going to wash and re-use them. Mine freyed like crazy and little strings here and there would get all over the other laundry. I usually threw out the ones I used for poop but if it wasn’t too messy I’d just rinse them like you would a cloth diaper. The receiving blanket squares are also good to keep on hand for wiping faces, hands and noses because the are so soft.

    • Sarah says:

      BTDT! What a mess! I was told there is also a kind of shears that will prevent this from happening to keep you from having to sew the edges.

      • Rosie says:

        pinking shears… they are the ones that make the zig zag edge. You’ll still get some fraying with them, however. The simplest edge finish would be to use pinking shears on the edges, then do just a straight stitch all the way around the edge… some fraying, but not tons. You’ll definantly want to edge finish these somehow if you intend to wash and reuse.

  • jennifer says:

    I do this (water, baby soap, baby oil ) with viva paper towels. cut the roll in half, soak, remove brown inner layer. Viola!

  • Ashlee says:

    We use cloth wipes a lot at home (still use disposable wipes on the go). I will say I was really nervous using them, but I love them! We cloth diaper so washing them isn’t any extra effort. But they actually clean A LOT better than disposable. For really messy messy diaper changes its nothing to go through 8 disposable wipes. I rarely if ever use more than 2 cloth wipes.

    We have an active toddler and don’t really have a diaper changing area, we just change him wherever he happens to be. So we just grab wipes and run them under hot water and then use them. I tried the spray bottle but couldn’t keep track of it! I’m planning on using a spray bottle though when the new baby arrives later this summer.

  • Chanda says:

    We use cloth wipes with our son. I called my mom the day I decided to cloth diaper and told her to search her quilting closet for scraps of flannel and she sewed edges on about 30 squares of flannel. They work PERFECTLY! We just squirt them with plain water from a water bottle and we’re good to go!

  • Rhonda says:

    I use the recipe with 2 cups water, and 2 TBS each of baby soap and baby oil. Definitely cheaper than 1/2 cup of each, and gets them just as clean. I cut down on the oil even more because my wipes are getting all oily and it no longer washes out.

  • I’ve heard of putting the liquid in a spray bottle so that they don’t dry out as easily.

  • Kelly says:

    We use baby wash cloths – we got way too many at our baby shower. I started out making up a solution with:
    -about 2 cups of water
    -1 drop tea tree oil
    -1 tbsp baby wash
    -1 tbsp baby oil.

    Tea tree oil is antifungal and keeps everything fresh.

    After a while, we started folding the wipes right out of the washing machine, and putting them (while still moist) right into the wipe warmer. SO much easier, no chemicals and it’s just as effective! We don’t make up any solution – just moist wipes out of the washing machine and go. I love it!

  • Max says:

    My son was allergic to the baby oil and it caused horrid red rashes all over him. It took awhile for me to figure out what caused this, we switched soaps, lotions, laundry detergents only to find out months later that it was the baby oil. Plugged up his little poors. So after all that is said I would say to switch to something natural for the oil.

  • Conni says:

    Wet wash cloths work great! No need to add anything but water. And they are very easy to wash and reuse. I even put a damp washcloth in a ziplock baggie and put it in the diaper bag for travel. Worked fine.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I was a hard core CDer, but I never could deal with cloth wipes. I have a boy so I only use wipes for dirty diapers, and I would rather not deal with that much poop in the wash! 🙂 Kudos to you all who do!

  • amanda says:

    You can get wipes for so cheap/ free that it doesn’t hardly seem worth it.

  • Jenny says:

    We are planning on using cloth diapers and if we wash the diapers in the same load as fabric wipes soaked in some sort of oil…will the oil affect our (expensive) cloth diapers?

    • Jennifer says:

      I worried about this too, so I just use water or water and a little baby wash. Seems to work fine. I do use disposable wipes for the worst part of the mess a lot of the time too.

    • Megan says:

      We use cloth wipes and a wipes solution – 1tbs olive oil, 1tbs baby wash or castile soap and 1 cup water (although now I just use a little of each). I keep the solution in a water bottle and squirt a little on before using a wipe. I wash the wipes with the diapers and we have never had any problems. I have never had to strip my diapers. If you are concerned, use less oil – you don’t really need that much of either the oil or the soap.

  • Heather says:

    I don’t normally comment, but since I do this for a living, Ihad to leave a note on this: Please, please, please be very careful when you are making homemade recipes that add oils and water together…. even when the water is coming in with a bodywash or dishsoap or shampoo or any other variation on this recipe that I have seen.

    Bacteria love to “hang out” at the intersection of mixed oils and water. Most commercially available products calculate the risk of growing bacteria, and will adjust their formulations accordingly … sometimes naturally by adjusting the pH of the product (this is why Italian Salad Dressing works… the Vinegar fights against bacteria), and sometimes by putting in more preservatives to help make sure that bacteria that is harmful to you or your children does not grow in the product. When you mix your own products (or dilute down your existing products and let them sit for more than a day or two), you are risking bacteria growing in the product.

    In this particular recipe, I guarantee you that you are growing really nasty bacteria as the wipes are sitting around… You wouldn’t wipe your baby’s bottom with raw meat that had been sitting out, and these are likely just as bacterially gross after a day or so.

    Net, if you wish to make homemade wipes or to dilute down your shampoo or bodywash, by all means, go ahead, but you will want to do this in very limited quantities and not keep them around for any more than a day or two.

  • Faith Still says:

    I make homemade wipes out of paper towels on a regular basis. They are great! Here is my link to my recipe.

  • k REASER says:

    I make wipes similiar to this but use a roll of bounty paper towels. I take a good bread knife and cut the roll into two shorter rolls. This way you have 2 rolls of wipes when done. Buy a round container with lid that will fit 1 roll. put 2 cups warm water, 2 TBSP baby oil and 2 TBSP baby wash together in container. Mix well. immerse 1 roll into the liquid and put on lid. After 5 minutes tip whole container upside down with lid on. Let sit for about 10 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Romove lid and pull out cardboard tube from center. Starting with the inner most papertowel, pull up and tear off. Now you have a roll of baby wipes. I had 5 kids under the age of 8 at one time and these came in handy. Now they are 21, 18, 16, and 13 year old twins. I still put this gift set together for showers.

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