Did you know that the average family household will spend over $500 on disposable wipes before the baby is potty trained? Now that you have chosen to use cloth diapers to save money and reduce your environmental impact, wouldn’t you rather add this savings to baby’s college fund too? Why not turn old, soft cotton T-shirts or well used receiving blankets into handy, useful cloth wipes. Here’s how to start:
First, how many cloth wipes will you need?
If you are doing laundry every 2 to 3 days, you should start out with about 3 dozen cloth wipes. These can be washed right along with all of your other cloth diaper laundry.
You can use materials you have on hand as mentioned, or you can purchase something in a fabric store. Your fabric choices can range from cotton flannel to bamboo velour. If you are making a 2 layered wipe, you can use a light weight micro fleece on one side with the cotton or bamboo on the other. This gives you a grabby side for bigger messes and a smooth side for gentle cleanups.
For a one layer cloth wipe, cut your fabric to measure 8” x 8” or if you plan to store them in an empty wipes container, cut to fit the inside measurement of the container.
Next, finish by stitching around the outer cut edges using a tight zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine (or you can use a serger if you have one).
No sewing machine? No problem! The best way to finish the edge is to use pinking shears to cut out the wipes. This will help prevent raveled edges.
For a two layer cloth wipe, stitch (1/8″ in from the edge should work) the cotton or bamboo velour to the microfleece, right sides (pretty patterned side if it has one) together, leaving an opening on one side to turn. Turn, topstitch closed.
Before using your wipes you may want to pre-wash several times to increase the absorbency. (While this is not necessary, but it can help.)
To store and use your wipes, there are 2 ways, either the dry or wet method.
With the dry method, you will need to moisten the wipe with water from the faucet or water bottle before each use. Click here to see Jenn’s three favorite homemade wipes solution recipes.
With the wet method, fold and store your wipes in an empty wipes container and pour water or a wipes solution, you can use the same recipes from above, over them. Be sure to only store enough to use in a 2 to 3 day period. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to the solution to help prevent mildew. Some moms also like to store their cloth wipes in a wipes warmer.
After you have made a stack of wipes, you may want to make a few to carry along when on the go. You’ll need a place to put them and your used cloth diapers. Why not save even more money and make one (or a few) yourself?
Stayed tuned for our next DIY post…WETBAGS! :)
Do you have a favorite fabric or method for making your own cloth wipes? I’d love to hear it!
Babyville Boutique (you may know them from their website or from Joann Fabric and Craft Stores everywhere). I hope you LOVE the projects as much as I do. We plan to cover all expertise levels from no skills (me!) to expert. There will be something for everyone.
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Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.
Sandra Caballero says
I like cloth wipes. I love DIY stuff. Thanks for sharing this great blog post.
When my first baby was born, we received way more baby washcloths than we needed for bathtime, so I used a bunch of them as cloth wipes. I have also made cloth wipes from old socks. I cut off the heel and toe and stich up what’s left. I like to sew it so there’s an ankle piece on one side of the wipe, and a foot piece on the other side. The texture of the ankle ribbing is good for messes. I have also used old kitchen washcloths (my alternative to paper towels). I fold the washcloths in half and then sew them.
Jennifer Reinhardt says
That’s so resourceful Ashley! Thank you for sharing :)
Brandi S. says
Your recent posts have been perfect timing! Our littlest guy is 5 months old, we’ve been CDing & I was just debating making some cloth wipes. Thanks for the great articles!
Jennifer Reinhardt says
Awesome! I’m so glad you find them helpful :-)