Eco-Friendly Reusable Wipes
We had our run with disposable wipes. I felt like I was making a wise choice to stock up on wipes from Burt's Bees, Seventh Generation, etc. for Onyx's arrival. Even the ones that had the simplest and best ingredients left a texture on her that didn't really go away until we bathed her. Then she had a reaction to something she ate that irritated her skin ALL OVER inside her diaper, and during the healing process she was in so much pain every time we changed her that I ordered organic cotton wipes ASAP.
There was a major difference the first time in her comfort level, and I found that even though I had to wash the wipes now, they picked up more so I was using fewer wipes than before. Here is a breakdown of the wipes we've used that gave us great success in this eco-friendly change.
Before you cringe at the cost of ordering reusable wipes, consider the cost of disposable wipes, both financially and environmentally. Wet wipes have now been banned in the UK as they are typically made with plastics, and they take over 100 years to break down.
If one baby uses 10 wipes per day (could be fewer or much more), that's 3,650 wipes in one year.
3.8 million babies were born in the US last year.
The quick math on that is that in the last year, 1.4 billion wipes were added to landfills just in this country in just one year that will take over a century to degrade, if ever.
If you want to think bigger, that's about 14 billion dirty baby wipes from the last decade sitting on our planet. And that's just one country!
There is so much we can do to limit this problem, and absolutely within our control. It's usually, if not always, better for our health and our wallet too to make choices that are better for the planet also.
If we want to look at cost, we'll use Seventh Generation wipes for our math. It's $2.89 for a 64-count pack of wipes from Target. During that course of a year, you'd go through about 57 of these, adding up to $165.
If you got the bulk boxes, you'd only go through probably 5 of these a year and spend the least amount of money at $150.
Even seventh generation wipes are not flushable or biodegradable. Achieving that texture in a disposable wipe iIf you are choosing to continue using disposable wipes and diapers, here is a guide to how to properly compost them at home or with a service.
In comparison, my favorite reusable wipes are $12.50 for 6 organic cotton reusable wipes. There are many kinds to choose from, but for financial reference we'll use these. It is recommended to have about 24 reusable wipes on hand (more if you're prone to run out or your little one poos a lot), which means you'd be looking at about $50 to stock up.
Even if you lose/replace some along the way, during the first year you would save at least $100 on wipes, many trips to the store or shipping costs, and never contribute a single wipe to landfills.
If you're little one is in diapers until 3 years, that's an estimated $400 of savings and over 10,000 wipes you're contributing to your financial health and on cutting down waste for the planet.
If you're looking for something middle-ground without going all the way to reusable wipes, this recipe for homemade baby wipes uses paper towels which are not eco-friendly, but still moreso than disposable baby wipes.
How to Use Reusable Wipes
1. Have them ready
As soon as towels are dry, I fold it and put it up. I keep a folded stack in her bedroom by her changing table, 3-4 in her travel bag, and a few in the bathroom for quick use.
2. Have them wet
You can either dampen them with warm water and keep them in the wipe warmer, or warm up water and dampen right before use. I have found that I feel more comfortable with the bacterial risk by warming water and getting them wet just before I change her.
3. Have a holding container for after use and pre-wash
I have a ceramic container I lined with a small compostable bag I keep next to her changing table where I can drop the wipes in as I use them. After she's changed, I transfer the wipes into the bathroom sick, run water til its hot, and carefully rinse as much residue as possible.
How I Wash my Reusable Wipes
I felt it was important to include a section on this as sanitation is KEY. You don't want to contaminate yourself or your babe with fecal matter, and have to remember not only are these poopy afterwards but they're also WET which means they are perfect to harvest bacteria.
1. Disinfect immediately
I put a tiny bit of DoTerra OnGuard Cleaner Concentrate in the sink and fill just the bottom with hot water so the wipes can soak for a bit, ensuring even more that after washing they'll be sparkling clean again.
2. Let them air out while waiting to be washed
Next time I go in the bathroom later, I rinse in hot water and hang them, either on a rack or I hang them on the side of the tub - because it gets cleaned often and I want the wipes to stay flat until they are dried or I do my next load.
This is just my routine, but basically you just need to rinse them after and let them air out somewhere so they don't sit in a pile growing mildew. Some people make a cleaning solution and let the dirty wipes sit in there. I've just taken so much microbiology, I like to be thorough.
If you're using these exclusively, you'l probably be able to do a small load every 1-2 days to keep everything available, so the wipes really don't sit out for that long and I toss them into my dirty towel basket as soon as they're close to dry.
My favorite reusable wipes/cloths + links!
1. Thirsties Organic Cotton Wipes
I'm looking to save you guys some time trying products and poring over Amazon reviews, so I'll be brief with why these and not another brand. These are 2-ply which means they have 2 layers, so messes don't soak through and you can use one side, then fold or flip to the other. They can be used for wiping, bathing, cleaning messes, or baby's bum! I try to use each type of wipe for a specific purpose such as using these just for poopy diaper changes, and using wipes #3 for bathing and cleaning up after dinner!
I was totally thrilled the first time I anxiously tried these and it was a quick, very clean, and thorough clean up. Since I got these, I've never used more than two even for the biggest messes! The stitching is gender neutral and they don't shrink or crinkle up after washing.
2. Babygoal Reusable Organic Bamboo Baby Wipes
I ordered these to try because the price was lower and they came with more in a pack than other brands. A few critiques about this item:
-The cloths are small, so they have GREAT coverage but you can really only wipe 1-2 times with a clean surface before having to use another.
-They wrinkle a bit after washing which just makes it a little harder to use.
- They can come unfolded because they are small which means it's not as sanitary when transferring them to be cleaned.
Aside from that, I love that these have a great texture from the bamboo to pick up messes, and if you don't need a big surface I love having these as an option instead of always using one of the larger ones if the mess isn't big.
3. Bubu Baby Organic Bamboo Washcloths
I put these on my registry and have been thrilled with them since day one. Spit up and drool? Always had one of these on hand to wipe up, and they did great. These are used several times a day for clean-up after meals and also for baths as they are soft and cozy, hold temperature and moisture well, and have pure ingredients which is important to me for something that will be regularly touching my baby's skin.
We ordered about 20 washcloths to start and have even ordered more since then!