Homemade cloth wipes are one of the things I learned to make after we decided to slowly transition to a low-waste home, along with homemade table napkins.
Today, I want to share with you a super-easy way of making homemade cloth wipes. This is how I made our homemade cloth wipes that we have been using for more than 2 years now.
Super Easy Way Of Making Homemade Cloth Wipes
Homemade cloth wipes can be made 2 ways: by sewing or no-sewing (the easiest way!).
I tried sewing 4 pieces and decided to just use them without sewing because it took me forever to sew 4 pieces with small kids running around and trying to touch the wire of the sewing machine every now and then.
The non-sewed cloth wipes still make the job done, so why bother?
Here are the easy steps in making the super easy homemade cloth wipes:
1. Gather your materials: old clothing, a pattern for size uniformity, a pair of scissors.
- Old clothing – This can be old t-shirts or any old clothing that you have, preferably 100% cotton. You are also welcome to use new fabric, but our aim here is to upcycle our old stuff for lesser waste. If you have a pile of old clothing from your decluttering, this is a good way to use them again in a new way. We had plenty of old t-shirts, mostly my husband’s very old working t-shirts and my t-shirts when I was still single.
- A pattern for size uniformity – You can use a piece of paper hankie to use as a pattern in cutting the cloth wipes. Or if you have some store-bought cloth wipes, you can use one as a pattern. This was my case because I bought a pack of cheeky wipes cloth wipes (15x15cm) previously to go along with the cloth diapers we are using for baby #1 (#2 is using them now). So, I decided to make the homemade cloth wipes in the same size, 15x15cm, for uniformity. But you can decide on any size that you prefer.
2. Cut your old clothing to size. Just put the pattern on top of the clothing and cut it according to the pattern’s shape. To make the cutting faster, I fold the clothing into 2 folds to cut 2 pieces at the same time. More than 2 folds are difficult to cut especially with regular size scissors.
A tip though, cut the fabric a bit bigger than the pattern because they’re going to shrink once washed, normal for non-sewed cloth wipes.
3. Enjoy your new homemade cloth wipes. Congratulations, you are done making your homemade cloth wipes! All you have to do is start using them.
Extra Step: You can put them in a box or preferred container for organization. The ones for the bum I put on a plastic container near the changing table, while my cloth wipes and the hankies for adults I put on individual boxes (old phone boxes) on top of the bathroom heater.
Different Uses Of Cloth Wipes?
We use our homemade cloth wipes in many ways, but here are 2 of their major uses at home:
1. For cleaning baby’s bum when in cloth diapers. This is a money saver for us because we use cloth wipes instead of disposable wet wipes in cleaning the baby’s bum.
Baby #1 started using cloth diapers when he was 3 weeks old, so we also started using cloth wipes.
It just makes sense since we will be washing the cloth diapers, so it’s better to throw some cloth wipes, as well.
And cleaning is easier and faster with cloth wipes. Oftentimes, I can clean the baby’s bum with just 1 cloth wipe or a maximum of 2 with normal poops, while the explosive ones are about 3-5 cloth wipes.
This is a way lesser amount when compared to using disposable wipes (I usually use 2-3 for normal poops and 7-10 wipes for explosive ones!).
I bought 2 sets of cheeky wipes terry cloth wipes exclusively for cleaning the baby’s bum.
When #2 was born, I made a batch of homemade terry cloth wipes out of a hand-me-down baby bathrobe that we were not using to add to the “bum wipes”. I need more wipes since I’ll be cleaning 2 bums.
Plus cloth wipes have the advantage of being confident that it’s “poop proof”, which means that there’s no chance of the cloth wipes breaking due to its thinness (like disposables) resulting to poop sticking into your hand while changing your baby.
We still buy disposable wet wipes, but we only use them when going out. When home, we always use cloth wipes, except on days when Mammi feels lazy!
It is shameful to accept, but yes, Mammi gets lazy several times a year!
2. As Mommy wipes. Cloth wipes are not only for babies but for mommies, too. I started using cloth wipes after I came across an article about family cloth. Have you heard about it?
Lifehacker.com defines Family cloth as a reusable alternative to toilet paper, made of rags, old t-shirts, sewn fabric, or purchased cloth wipes.
They are mostly used for wiping pee, but some families use them for poop and periods.
So, it gave me the idea to cut up some cloth wipes exclusively for me for wiping pee.
I told the husband about other families using them for poop and the husband was very quick to say NOOOO.
I was glad because I don’t think I’m for it, as well.
Mommies, if you are not yet using cloth wipes for wiping pee, I encourage you to do so. I promise it’s not gross at all!
It’s the contrary because it doesn’t leave tiny pieces of toilet paper sticking into your private part. Now, that’s gross!
And it will save you a lot of toilet paper especially if you are like me who pee a hundred times a day!
Exaggeration aside, I pee 10x or more a day! Even the husband has observed it. And this is so because I drink water like crazy (it will be for another story)!
What Type Of Fabric Should Be Used In Making Homemade Cloth Wipes?
The type of fabric in making your homemade cloth wipes will depend on your personal preference.
But the most common fabrics are cotton, flannel, bamboo velour, bamboo fleece, fleece, and terry cloth. I am not familiar with all these fabrics though.
But the aim here is to choose a fabric that is soft for the skin, especially for the baby’s skin, and organic if possible for less harmful chemicals touching the skin.
I personally use terry cloth (the fabric type for towels) for baby’s cloth wipes because it’s really good at grabbing the mess.
There was a hand-me-down baby robe made of terry cloth that we don’t use at all, so I cut it up to add to our cloth wipes for poop collection.
I tried once making cloth wipes for baby using a 100% cotton old t-shirt, but they’re very flimsy and don’t hold the poop well.
Terry cloth tends to be hard, but they get soft once wet, so it doesn’t feel hard on the baby’s bum.
I use 100% cotton for my own cloth wipes. They are flimsy compared to the terry cloth, but it’s the perfect fabric for wiping pee because the terry cloth is hard especially when used dry in wiping the private part.
How To Use Cloth Wipes? Wet Or Dry?
Cloth wipes can be used wet or dry, depending on the situation. Most mothers using cloth wipes for their babies are using wipe solutions, usually made by mixing coconut oil and essential oil into the water that will be used in wetting the wipes before using them to clean the bum.
I am not among those who use wipe solutions though. I was overwhelmed with all the cloth wipes solution recipes I found online, so I decided to simplify things by just plain water!
And it’s been perfect for my kids’ bums, no skin irritation so far since I started doing it in 2018.
Others also use wipes warmer to keep the wipes warm, so the baby won’t feel cold when using the wipes on his/her skin. While others put enough wipes for the day in a wipe solution, so they’re ready to use.
I personally keep the baby’s wipes dry and I have a square container with water on the side of the changing table.
And every time I need to change the diaper, I just dip a piece of cloth wipe one at a time into the container, and squeeze the water out before using it to clean the mess.
This way, I don’t worry that the cloth wipes get moldy if they’re submerged into the solution for a long time without being used immediately.
Simpler route is always better, in my opinion.
Other Uses For Cloth Wipes
Cloth wipes are not only limited for cleaning baby’s bum and as wipes for mommies. They can also be used as wash cloths, make-up remover, and many more.
Here are some other uses of cloth wipes in our home:
1. As washcloth – Cloth wipe is perfect to use as a washcloth for babies because it’s so soft and won’t damage baby’s sensitive skin. I use the ones that are 100% cotton flannel. I find terry cloth hard for baby’s skin.
After reading that loofah is actually harsh to our skin, I stopped using it and started using a cloth wipe as a washcloth, as well.
2. As a hankie – I have a set of store-bought cloth wipes that I designate as hankie for kids and as washcloth. The hankie for kids I put in a drawer that my 3-year old can reach, so he can just help himself when he needs one.
Then I made a batch of homemade cloth wipes that are exclusive as hankies for my husband and me. I chose 2 colors of old t-shirts to distinguish them from my multi-colored mommy wipes.
In the beginning, I was the only one using them. But one day, I found the right moment to convince the husband to use them, as well.
He was in the bathroom blowing his nose and complaining that small pieces of toilet paper are sticking into his nose, so I said that he can also use the cloth wipes I made exclusively for blowing the nose and assured him that no more small pieces sticking into his nose. And he was sold!
3. As a mouth and hand wipes for kids – I have another set of store-bought cloth wipes (I bought too many when I was expecting our first baby) that are designated for cleaning the mouth and hands of the kids after eating.
They’re made of soft bamboo fabric that can easily be wet in water before cleaning and they’re stored together with the kids’ tableware for easy access.
4. As kids’ hankie/burp cloths for going out – I have a set of cloth wipes that are exclusively for wiping the kids’ nose or mouth when going out.
They have beautiful prints and very presentable, a nice way of making cloth wipes fashion. 🙂
How To Wash Cloth Wipes
The cloth wipes that I use for the baby’s bum, I wash with the cloth diapers. That’s why mamas who are into cloth diapers are also encouraged to use cloth wipes because they go hand in hand.
While the rest of the cloth wipes use for other purposes are just being washed together with the normal laundry. And so far, so good. We didn’t have an issue of skin irritation or related issues.
Some Of The Top Ready-Made Cloth Wipes Available Online
If you don’t want to go the homemade route or you want more presentable looking cloth wipes, you can definitely buy ready-made ones online.
Here are some best cloth wipes you can choose from:
This comes in a pack of 25 cloth wipes made of cotton terry cloth in a 15x15cm square, the perfect size for a cloth wipe (not small, not big).
This is the same size I use as a pattern for my homemade cloth wipes. These cloth wipes are very strong and durable and can be washed up to 60°C.
This brand is famous and available in Europe.
I have 2 packs of this and they’re used exclusively to wipe bums, a complimentary to our cloth diapers.
They’re very good at cleaning poo and you use way less compared to disposable wet wipes.
This comes in a pack of 25 cloth wipes as well. But the cloth wipes are made of cotton flannel, a more delicate cotton fabric and they’re bigger at 21x21cm.
Despite them being thinner, they can still be washed up to 60°C.
I agree with Cheeky Wipes’ suggestion that these best suited for cleaning hands and faces, or as an adult intimate wipes rather than for baby poo.
I have a set of these cotton flannel wipes and I use them as a washcloth for both kids and adults, and also as hankies for kids. They’re really very soft, so they won’t irritate the skin.
3. Unbleached OsoCozy Flannel Baby Wipes
This comes in a pack of 15 cloth wipes that are 8×8 inches (20x20cm) and made of 100% cotton flannel.
This are similar to the cheeky wipes ones, but only that they’re widely famous and available in the US.
4. Thirsties Cloth Wipes
This is another famous US brand. The pack comes with 6 pieces (2 blue, 2 orange and 2 green) of 8×8.5 inches cloth wipes made of 2 layers of certified organic cotton.
5. LifeTree Baby Washcloths
This comes in a pack of six 27x27cm washcloths that are made of 70% bamboo and 30% cotton. They’re extra soft for your baby’s delicate skin.
There are 3 sets to choose from and each washcloth has an individual fun design suitable for babies and kids.
LifeTree is available in the US and in Europe.
These washcloths are very versatile because they can also be used as face towels, bibs, burp cloths, spit-up cloths, sweat cloths, teething cloths, and even as makeup removers.
I have a set similar to this but of lesser quality, and I exclusively use them as kids’ hankie/burp cloths for going out for more presentable cloth wipes.
I am really convinced of the advantages of using cloth wipes at home whether homemade or store-bought. This is a small, easy step that we can all make in slowly reducing our waste at home.
This is a great way to reuse old clothing at home. You don’t have to go the store-bought route, just like what I did.
I bought all the cloth wipes we have now when I was still pregnant with #1 and wasn’t aware of the homemade way of doing it.
Cloth wipes are good for the entire family’s skin, the environment, and the budget. Using cloth wipes at home will surely help in making your tissue paper lasts longer. A total win-win!
Would you give cloth wipes a try? Would you go the homemade route? Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts in the comment section below.