Do you use cloth wipes for your little one? I’m going to make a big call here, and say that changing to cloth baby wipes is one of the easiest zero-waste swaps you can make as a parent.
Cloth wipe materials
There are heaps of suitable materials to use for cloth wipes. If you are handy with a sewing machine or overlocker, you might like to upcycle some flannelette sheets or pyjamas or an old bath towel into cloth wipes. This option gets bonus environmental points for reusing something that already exists in the world, rather than buying new. If you lack the skills or time to make them yourself, you can buy ready-made wipes, such as our bamboo terry cloth wipes. Another popular option is to buy face washers from a department or homewares store like Target (or even keep an eye out at your local op shop for face washers) and use these for wipes. The main drawback here is that face washers can be bulky, which is not ideal when you are out and about using cloth.
Storing cloth wipes
How you store your cloth wipes is a matter of personal preference. You can choose to store them dry, and wet them as-you-go. Ideally, you want a water source that you can access single-handed whilst keeping a hand on baby. Tupperware water bottles with a flip top lid, or pop-top style water bottles are good for this. The main draw-back to this option is that wetting the wipes adds a step into your nappy change routine. Another option is to wet enough wipes to last the day and store them in a container to access as-needed. The main drawback to pre-wetting the wipes is that they can start to smell musty if left wet for longer periods of time (e.g. more than a day or two).
If you are already using cloth nappies, adding cloth wipes into your routine will take roughly 5-10 minutes per week. You don’t need to change your wash routine at all, they just get thrown in with the nappies for the pre-wash and main wash (Check out our wash guidelines here if you haven’t already). Dry with your nappy inserts. If you air dry (the most eco-friendly option), you might like to invest in a stainless steel sock hanger for hanging your wipes.
How cloth wipes will save you money
The number of disposable wipes used per week changes depending on your baby’s age and needs. Newborns poo ALL THE TIME and you will generally go through a few packs per week. Later on, during toddlerhood, they may only need a couple of packs per month. The cost of a pack of disposable wipes also ranges from about $2 to about $9 per pack. So, for an average of one pack of Huggies disposable wipes per week (or similar, priced at approx. $4), you will be forking out around $200 per year.
So, there you have it. If you haven’t already made the switch to cloth wipes, now is the time to invest in a starter stash of wipes. Have a think about what material and storage method suit you best and just dive in! If you end up deciding it’s not for you, you can always repurpose them as face washers or general cleaning wipes.