I have had a few people ask me about baby wipes and what I use for Baby Green, so I thought I would do a post explaining my thoughts on wipes in terms of ingredients and their environmental effects. I want to start by saying that like most parents, for me wipes are a bit of a lifesaver. You never know when your bundle of joy will need to be cleaned up, whether it’s sticky hands and faces, baby sick or pooey bums, parenthood is just a glorified word for cleaner of bodily fluids in my opinion.
I think most people would expect me to say that looking for wipes with natural ingredients is the most important thing, and whilst there are more natural disposable wipes available that are a valid option for emergencies I am not a fan of disposable wipes for their heavy environmental impact. Wipes are often washing up on beaches because people flush them down the loo and even if you aren’t flushing the thought of all the those wipes tied up in plastic bags going to landfill didn’t sit well with me. I have only used a total of four packets of disposable wipes since baby was born, mostly for emergencies in the car, when I don’t have access to a sink or when we have been on holiday. I have tested a few different brands and I think organic wipes are just extortionate in price, I tried some from Organyc and whilst I did find them to be brilliant in terms of ingredients and how sturdy they were, shelling out almost a fiver on every packet of wipes just isn’t an option for most people. My wipe of choice tends to be Waterwipes*, although they don’t use organic cotton they do use minimal ingredients, just water and grapefruit seed extract and aren’t quite as eye wateringly expensive as the Organyc wipes. Waterwipes still aren’t ideal in my book and they aren’t quite as natural as the short ingredients list would have you believe, but they I don’t find they irritate her skin like other brands.
As I am already using cloth nappies, I knew cloth wipes wouldn’t be any extra work and in fact I had a feeling they would be more effective. If you have ever wrestled with a pack of wet wipes at 3 am, you will know how frustrating they can be, pushing the poo around babies bum and coming out the packet in multiples when you really one need one of two. Now if you invest in cloth wipes you should know you will save a fortune long term and you can skip the cotton wool for the newborn stage so reusable wipes are really all you need. I have two sets of cloth wipes from different brands, the reason for this is that I use them for different things. I purchased my wipes when pregnant and am really happy with them, the get used daily and in my opinion are a must have.
Close parent reusable wipes* (£12.50 for 10 wipes) – The Close parent wipes are a generously sized wipe and they come in a very nice bamboo fabric. You get ten wipes in a drawstring bag, my one big problem with the bag is that it is very hard to close completely, so it’s not particularly good for carrying the wipes when wet; but for storing clean wipes it does the job well (Edit: They now come with zip bag which is much better, thumbs up close parent!). Baby Green sits at the table with us in her Tripp Trapp highchair and we keep the bag of wipes hanging off the high chair for meal times. I have tried the Close parent wipes on bottoms and they do work brilliantly, but I prefer to use them for hands and faces at the table because the larger size makes the clean up process that bit easier. The wipes wash well and come up perfect every time, I just toss mine in the nappy bucket to be done with the rest of the nappy laundry. If you are wiping up lumps of food best to rinse or shake them off before washing, but otherwise it is as easy as wipe and go!
Cheeky wipes Mini Kit for cloth nappy users* (£27.98) – I had initially bought some cheeky wipes without the kit, but as time went on I found the idea of kit more and more appealing so went back to get it. When Baby Green was smaller, I liked to wet some wipes in warm water before using and never used any essential oils on her skin. Now she is older (from four months) we have been using the full kit for cloth nappy users and it is perfect because it has everything you need. The kit contains; A fresh wipes box for storing your wet wipes, 25 wipes, a bottle of lavender and chamomile essential oil for scenting your wipes and a waterproof bag for out and about.
At first I thought the box was a bit unnecessary, it’s a plastic Tupperware and I was concerned it would end up unused, but actually the box makes using cloth wipes so easy for nappy changes and that’s why I love it. It can be opened and closed one handed, which is also a bonus. To prepare your wipes you need to fill the box with a certain amount of water, this is marked on the box, so it is very simple. Then take a few drops of the essential oil for scent and add to the water, this step can be skipped for smaller babies or those with hyper-sensitive skin. You could also add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the water for extra moisture, it makes them smell delicious. Give the water a mix to ensure whatever you have added has dispersed well and then pop your wipes in to the box. I find that the bottom wipes will be much wetter than those at the top, so rather than shaking the box I simply turn them over, which then distributes the liquid. The box can be opened and closed with one hand; perfect for when you are trying to hold on to a small child as well.
I find a box of pre-prepared wipes will last a few days, so they are not very labour intensive at all. You only need one or two per change compared to the many disposable wipes you would use, this is because they are simply much more effective at cleaning up any mess. I toss the dirty wipes in with my nappies to wash, there is a kit for those people not using reusable nappies which comes with another box for the mucky wipes, but I think a wet bag would work just as well. You can use the wipes straight from the washing machine without drying them in between uses, so even when you get behind with your washing you are unlikely to run out. I bought some extra wipes to make extra sure we had enough, so I have the white terry wipes and the rainbow bamboo and minky mix. I can’t say I find much difference in the way the fabrics work, but Cheekywipes have plenty of advice on the site if you are having a hard time choosing.
When using reusable wipes out and about I pop them in with the clean nappies in my wet bag. I pop them in dry, because we can then wet them on the go, I do occasionally wet some before going out and pop them within the Cheeky wipes out and about bag within the wet bag to avoid leaking. I have recommended reusable wipes to a few people, especially if they are already using cloth nappies, and everyone much prefers them to disposables. There are times when disposables are more convenient, for example holidays, but for day to day I am very happy with my washable alternatives. After months of use my wipes are all still in very good condition, I must have saved a fortune in disposables, not to mention all the trips to the shops. You don’t need to buy reusable wipes kits, although I highly recommend them if you want to, you could make your own or use old flannels. Would you consider using washable wipes?