Saturday, September 8, 2012

DIY—Cloth Wipes on the Cheap

Okay, so you’ve made the leap to cloth diapers and you are loving it, or at least you are delighting in the cost savings. But are you still hanging on to those disposable wipes? They add up too you know, and it’s SOOO easy to kick the habit! So many things can be turned into cloth wipes with very little effort.
Simple Zig-Zagged edge...
Two layers of flannel...
Do you (or your parents) have any of those transparently thin bath towels still lurking in the linen closet? They are old, but soft, and could still be put to great use. Simply decide what size you want your wipes and cut the towels into squares. Cut off any thick edges or decorative stitching that may be scratchy on baby’s bottom. The edges will fray because of the fabric, so you will need to run a zig-zag stitch around them or serge the edges. Wah-Lah, a set of cloth wipes!
Do you have any holey cotton velour leisure suits lying around? Cotton velour makes a lovely cloth wipe. Simply cut the cloth into squares or rectangles the size you want and layer them together or with another material to keep the edges from rolling. Finish them the same as described above.
Check out these velour wipes from Etsy Cloth Diaper Team members: Northern Mom and Bundles of Joy and Sweet Bobbins!

What about old flannel sheets or pillowcases? Simply cut into squares and use two layers per wipe and finish as suggested. 
 Here are some flannel wipes from Etsy Cloth Diaper Team members: Rumpeez and CheekyBunz and Just2CuteAccessories and Lil Stuff and TheCraftEGalDiapers !
Flannel and t-shirt wipes.

Everyone has some soft, old, stained, cotton t-shirts lying around. Simply cut into squares and use. These don’t even need to be finished off in most cases! Just don’t use stiff crusty t-shirts with painted or vinyl decorations on them because they won’t be soft for baby.

Basically, anything soft and cotton can be turned into cloth wipes. Because wipes are small you can cut around holes or other issues and still repurpose your item for good! Just don’t get carried away and cut up something your loved ones will miss!!
If you really just want cute wipes, wait until the fabric store runs their flannel on sale and buy a few yards of flannel that coordinates with your baby’s décor.

“What if I don’t even know how to turn on a sewing machine?” Well, cut some out and take them to someone who does (maybe you can do something for them while they stitch your wipes up), or at least buy mama-made wipes!

“Great, you say, now how do I use them?”

However you want! Some people like to create a wipes solution and keep the wipes soaking in the solution. While this is handy for immediate use, if the wipes aren’t used in a timely manner, the solution can go bad and the wipes turn moldy. Others keep a container of solution and dunk the wipes individually as needed. Many like to keep solution in a squirt or spray bottle and dampen the wipes that way. You may need to experiment and see what works for your family. I prefer a stack of dry wipes next to a container of solution. When I know I’m changing a dirty, I dunk and squeeze a couple before getting started so I don’t have to stick my hands back in the solution and contaminate it.
See some ECDT member wipes solution bits: Rumpeez or WeeEssentials. Some recipes to make your own solutions from Zany Zebra.

“Should I use them for going out as well?” Why not? They go right in the wet bag (Check these out from ECDT) with the dirties, so there’s nothing to throw away. There are many ways to store pre-moistened wipes in your diaper bag. A common Ziplock will do, a travel wipes bag (from ECDT), or (as my friend does) a mason jar.

“What about the poopy? Do the wipes need to be rinsed?” As I said before, everyone has their own methods. I like to get most of it with the diaper since it will likely be rinsed anyway, and then I don’t worry about the little bit that gets on the wipes, they just go in the dry pail with the dirty diapers.

The point is, you do what works for you, but cloth wipes are a win-win for everyone—especially considering you can likely make them for free with stuff you have around the house. Maybe you’re not a pack-rat, and maybe you really don’t have any of these unused items lying about. Just hit a few yard sales or thrift stores, or better yet, plunder the closets or your friends and relatives. They’ll probably be happy for you to relieve them of some of your clutter!

FYI—This same method can be used for repurposing  soft cotton cast-offs into handkerchiefs (a big money saver during cold/flu season).

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