Ditch harsh chemicals and excess packaging for homemade baby wipes using inexpensive and natural ingredients—read our recipe below!
Baby wipes are perfect for cleaning your baby’s sensitive bottom with a gentle touch. Even if you’re not a parent, they soak up messes around the house, in the car, or when you’re out and about. Unfortunately, commercially available baby wipes are often expensive and contain chemicals like malic acid, synthetic fragrance, and something else.
Some ingredients used in baby wipes release formaldehyde—a toxin you don’t want near yourself or your child. Even baby wipes marketed as “sensitive” can contain synthetic ingredients that may irritate your baby’s skin.
So what’s a green parent to do? Learn how to make your own baby wipes, of course. They’re cheap, effortless to whip up, and use only natural ingredients you probably have at home already. This article covers the components you’ll need for making your own baby wipes, walk through a step-by-step recipe, and provide storage tips for long-lasting use.
Ingredients for Making Your Own Baby Wipes
One of the significant benefits of DIY baby wipes is that they allow you complete control over the ingredients list. Your specific ingredients may vary depending on what’s best for you and your bundle of joy, but you’ll need the following general components for making your own baby wipes.
Material for your wipes. You’ll need paper or fabric for the actual wipes. Eco-conscious parents and cleaning connoisseurs can consider a roll of tree-free paper towels. They provide all the convenience of disposable wipes without harming a single tree. Or, use soft, absorbent fabric for a zero-waste option if you’re making reusable wipes or are low on paper towels.
Water. Distilled or boiled is the primary vehicle for the other ingredients in our DIY baby wipes recipe. Any tap water will do just fine as long as it is boiled during preparation.
Baby-friendly oil. You want your baby wipes to glide effortlessly across your little one’s sensitive skin, minimizing irritation and preventing the skin from drying out. Options like coconut oil and olive oil are safe choices for your baby’s skin and are likely already in your pantry.
Gentle cleanser. Castile soap is an excellent option because of its pleasant scent and soft cleaning power. Alternatively, any baby shampoo you’re currently using for your little one should work well here.
Fragrance. Many enjoy the subtle smell of castile soap, while others want more of a fragrant aroma to linger after a job well done. If you’re interested in scenting your baby wipes, organic essential oils are the way to go. However, essential oils are highly concentrated and must be safely diluted before use. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends a dilution of 0.5 to 1 percent essential oil in a carrier oil or cream.
How to Make Homemade Baby Wipes
With a good understanding of the key ingredients in homemade baby wipes, it’s time to gather your choices and make them! We offer two methods below depending on whether you prefer to wipe and toss or reuse your wipes for a more involved yet eco-friendly solution.
The Disposable Method
Disposable DIY baby wipes are the ultimate convenience. They are the quickest to make, and there’s no cleanup or maintenance after use. Just wipe your mess and toss them in the trash. Here’s what you’ll need.
- A roll of paper towels
- Bread knife
- An airtight container
- A saucepan
- A spatula
- A measuring cup or spouted container (optional)
- Essential oil of your choice (optional)
- 2 to 3 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 tablespoon of soap
- Essential oil (optional)
Start by setting up your workspace. Your kitchen is the best place to be as you’ll need easy access to your stove to heat the baby wipes solution. Let’s get into it.
Step One. Using your bread knife or another serrated blade, cut the roll of paper towels in half. This way, the paper towel squares are more manageable during use. Whether you use the other half now to make two batches or save it for later is your choice.
Step Two. Place your halved roll of paper towels in an airtight container. Whether you use an old container from commercial baby wipes, a food storage container, or something you found at your local thrift store, look for a container with a wide opening (roughly the diameter of your paper towel roll) and a good seal.
Step Three. If you’re using tap water, boil it and let it cool, which helps eliminate unwanted bacteria that may be lurking in water taken straight from the sink. Alternatively, you can use distilled water to skip the boiling altogether.
Step Four. Stir in your remaining ingredients—oil and castile soap—to the cooling water and mix until combined using your spatula. Once the solution is milky in color, you’re ready to apply it to your paper towels.
Optional: Add essential oil along with the other ingredients if you’re making scented wipes. Be very sparing because high concentrations could irritate your baby’s skin and don’t use essential oil on infants younger than three months. Depending on the oil, start with around three drops for your first batch and slowly increase to about six drops for a stronger smell.
Step Five. Thoroughly cover the top of the paper towel roll with the warm solution, allowing it to soak through to the bottom of the roll. You don’t want any dry spots remaining. As the paper towels soften, remove the cardboard tube from the center.
Step Six. Allow the solution to settle to the bottom of your container. Once enough time has passed, pour out any excess liquid and pull paper towels from the center of the roll as you would a storebought wipe. Keep these close by your changing table, and remember to fully close the lid between uses to prevent them from drying out.
The Reusable Method
Perhaps you’re all out of paper towels, or you don’t like the idea of producing any waste whatsoever. Or perhaps you already use cloth diapers and using cloth wipes feels like a natural evolution of your eco-friendly parenting lifestyle. Good news—you can still be making your own baby wipes at home.
The process is nearly the same as for disposable DIY baby wipes, except this time, we’ll use soft, absorbent fabric in place of paper towels. As for which materials work best, anything that’s thick, soft, and absorbent will do the trick. Excellent candidates include old receiving blankets, burp cloths, flannel sheets, or even jersey tees you no longer wear, thanks to your darling spit-up machine.
Prepare your fabric by cutting it into 8-inch square pieces. To prevent fraying, use pinking scissors (specialized scissors for cutting fabric) or sew in the edges with a simple overlock stitch. Once cut, roll up your stack of reusable baby wipes and insert them into your container like you would paper towels. From there, follow the directions above for making the solution and applying it to your wipes.
How Long Do DIY Baby Wipes Last?
Homemade baby wipes made with paper towels should stay wet and fresh for up to a week. However, the more they are exposed to air, the more the moisture will evaporate. If they dry out before you can exhaust your supply, refresh the roll by pouring additional boiled water over the top as you did before.
Conversely, if you properly store them in a tightly-sealed container and they aren’t used often enough, they risk developing mold. At most, you should keep your supply of DIY baby wipes for around two to three weeks. Make one or two batches depending on your needs and store them at a moderate temperature without exposure to air.
Now that you know how to make your own baby wipes, you’re well on your way to using them to clean everything in sight. If you liked this all-natural household hack, check out our blog for more ways to put your tree-free paper towels to work. Or, if you’re passionate about replenishing our planet’s forests, read about our commitment to plant a tree for every order.
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