Wednesday, 7 October 2015


There are a lot of expenses to take into account when having a baby. One of them is how to clean their little bums. 

I decided to make my own reusable baby wipes. There are two reasons why I chose to make my own reusable baby wipes:-

1) to control what ingredients go on my baby's skin; and
2) because I am on a frugal trial.

To put this into perspective I bought 9 packs of Water Wipes before the baby was born. 3 months in I still have 2 packs left. I used them for the first 2 weeks whilst we were getting to grips with having a baby. Since then I have only been using them when out and about and when I have fallen behind with the washing.

There are many recipes online for reusable baby wipes but this is the Frugal Trial method of making reusable baby wipes. 

You will need:- 
  • 2 x tubs with lids.
  • Cloth (as many as you can make/buy. I have approximately 70)
  • Lavender or tea tree oil 
  • Carrier oil 
  • Boiled water
  • Sandwich bags 

Step 1 - the material

Firstly you will need to obtain some material and cut it to a suitable size (mine are about the dimension of my hands). 

As I wanted to limit what I spent on making reusable baby wipes I cut up some old flannel cotton pyjamas that I had which no longer fitted me.  You could use old towels/sheets/fleece or purchase some microcloths. 

If you use cotton you may want to hem them (fleece is unlikely to require hemming). As you can see from my cloths they are frayed. This is mostly to do with the fact that I do not have a sewing machine and I could not be bothered to hem them all by hand. 

Step 2 - the solution 

The amount of water you will need for reusable baby wipes will depend on the size of the tub you keep the reusable baby wipes in. I keep mine in an old ice cream tub. I place approximately 3 mugs worth of boiling water into a bowl.

Next I add two tablespoons of oil. Since I began making reusable baby wipes I have used almond oil (which I used during my pregnancy in an attempt to avoid stretchmarks), olive oil (which we use for cooking) and coconut oil (which I use as a moisturiser). Personally I find that olive oil works best but I alternate it with coconut oil otherwise I would get through the olive oil too quickly. However, note that coconut oil solidifies at room temperature so leaves a residue over the wipes once it cools down. I find that almond oil just doesn't glide very well. 

Next, I add a few drops of lavender oil. I use lavender oil because I already had some as it was recommended to me to put into my bath water in order to assist with post-birth healing. Lavender oil is also antibacterial and one of the few essential oils which can be applied directly to the skin. My understanding is that tea tree oil is also antibacterial so that could also be used. 

If you wish you could add another essential oil for fragrance. 

I then place the cloth into the bowl and push it down with a spoon to ensure that it is all soaked. I then leave it for an hour to cool.

Lastly I wring out the excess water. The result is damp reusable baby wipes and I place them in the ice cream tub ready for use. 

To date it has cost me zilch to make reusable baby wipes as I have just used what I already had.

You may have noticed that I have not used any soap. Many other recipes include soap of some kind but I don't as I didn't want to buy anything specific for the wipes - I just used what I already had. In any event I haven't found that soap is required - water is sufficient for cleaning even the smelliest nappies. 

Step 3 - Washing

When I have used a wipe I place it in a separate tub which has a lid. When they are all used I put them in the wash with my normal washing (therefore I am not incurring any extra expense). As they are covered in faeces I recommend washing with a temperature of at least 40 degrees (i.e. hotter than body temperature). Every now and again I put them in a really hot wash.

I also wash out both tubs with hot water and disinfectant. 

Step 4 - Going out 

Sandwich bags are useful if you want to take reusable baby wipes when out and about as the wipes should remain moist and the bags don't take up too much space. Just remember a second bag for the dirty ones!


The downsides of reusable wipes are:- 

  1. The time you need to set aside to make them.
  2. That you may run out if you don't have time to wash them.
  3. They can go mouldy if not used within a week.

Do you use reusable baby wipes? What's your recipe?