How to Make Homemade Baby Wipes: And the Amazing Results They Had for My Child
Store bought wipes have chemical cleaning agents and chemical preservatives in them that can actually cause diaper rashes. When babies' skin is notoriously sensitive, and a large part of everything you put ON your skin gets absorbed INTO your body (think about how nicotine and birth control patches work), why would a parent want to wipe on harmful and irritating chemicals onto their child's diaper area every time they get a diaper change? I'll tell you how we made the switch to homemade baby wipes and what it has done for our family.
Homemade wipes have been an incredible blessing to our family. They have solved many problems, have saved us money, and kept our childrens' skin happy. We had started using cloth diapers (click here for a product review) when our first child was about 8 months old, and while I was pregnant with our second, I vowed to start her life chemical free to the extent we had control, which meant of course, homemade baby wipes. During the pregnancy I frequented second hand stores and found that I was coming across scraps of cotton fabric quite often. One day when I came across a couple of thin cotton receiving blankets, I decided that was what we would make our wipes out of. Since then I have seen and heard many people using flannel squares for their wipes, which is very gentle on baby's skin.
The week after my second baby was born peacefully here at home (click here for info. on how you can have a gentle birth experience too), my mother-in-law was here and she cut the fabric into squares and used her serger sewing machine that she had brought with her for this purpose to make the homemade baby wipes. We used black and neon orange thread around the edges of the wipes so they would be easily spotted in a basket of laundry (which has proven to be very helpful) and also so the baby wipes would be easily differentiated from other laundry items.
We started out using the homemade baby wipes with just water wetting them, which I have heard from many other mothers online in different forums is what they use and find effective. It was a really nasty diaper rash that prompted me to seek a healing mixture for my homemade baby wipes.
To best understand the extent of just how much the homemade baby wipes and solution has made a difference, I need to first provide some history of diaper rashes in our family. My first child would get awful rashes that included liquid filled pockets that would drain but leave behind a bright red, open sore whether we used disposable diapers exclusively, cloth diapers exclusively, or a combination of both. We exclusively used store bought baby wipes on her (and a variety of brands, with no difference in results.) We took her to the pediatrician who took a sample of the liquid in her sores to check for infection, but he found nothing. He said there was no bacteria, viruses, white blood cells, yeast -- anything. He concluded that my child's skin was extremely sensitive, and some component in her urine was causing a skin reaction. A condition that wouldn't go away until she was potty trained. He said he had seen the same, identical liquid filled sores around young girls' eyes that had gotten into their mommy's makeup and had a reaction to the makeup.
Unfortunately, my second child followed suit after a few months with the same sores. I tried changing her diaper immediately after she went in it so she was never wet except at night, I again tried going back to disposables, we were using different types of cloth diapers, and again, nothing worked. I even tried putting her to bed without any diaper, but on a thin piece of fleece that would wick moisture away to the absorbent cloth I had underneath it. 3 days and nights of doing this and it was getting better, but a few times of coming in her room with poop all over her and the crib and that was enough of that! I was also using store bought wipes and my homemade wipes with just water, but neither got rid of the sores, but the store bought wipes did seem to irritate them more when used consistently.
So thus began my quest for a homemade baby wipes solution that would heal up my child's diaper rash and most importantly, keep it from happening again. I researched online and talked to mom friends that currently made their own homemade baby wipes. I saw some patterns in what people used. Other than using just water which I commonly heard from moms, common ingredients were calendula oil, witch hazel, different soaps, lavender essential oil, and aloe vera juice. I wasn't going to use a commercial soap that contained chemicals and wouldn't really be getting rinsed off, and I didn't have the money to buy different essential oils which were just for making it smell good anyway, so I tried witch hazel that would help clean and reduce redness and aloe vera juice, which would heal, moisturize, and soothe. It worked! It didn't happen overnight, of course, but when we faithfully used our homemade baby wipes with the witch hazel/aloe vera juice blend with every diaper change, her sores gradually got better, and she rarely has any flare ups (the only problem seems to be when she poops in her sleep, doesn't wake up, and I find that the poopy has been there a while, irritating her skin. Even this is quickly cleared up with use of the homemade baby wipes.)
I make up batches with these general amounts:
1 16 oz. bottle of witch hazel
About 8 to 12 oz. of aloe vera juice
I used to dump the entire bottle of witch hazel in my wipes container, then pour in aloe vera juice into the empty witch hazel container to about half full, but now I know how high the mixture comes up on my container, so I just dump the bottle of witch hazel in, then dump in what looks like a good amount of aloe vera juice. The great thing is Wal-Mart carries a bottle of witch hazel for barely over $1, and the have a gallon of organic aloe vera juice for under $10, which lasts a very long time (we've been using our first container for months, and it's barely under half gone). I have the cloths laid out flat in a plastic box, and I pour the made up solution over them to the desired wetness. A common variation is using paper towels instead of cloth for the wipe material in order to make them disposable -- for me this kind of defeats one of the purposes, but if I did do that, I would use an environmentally responsible product like Seventh Generation Paper Towels which also wouldn't have any chemical residue from the bleaching process that other brands utilize. People who use this method generally cut a roll of paper towels across the middle, remove the cardboard inner tube, place in a container and dispense from the center of the roll.
One more proof that these homemade baby wipes was the solution to our problems came when I agreed to receive a free box of Pampers baby wipes in the mail, take a survey about them, and receive points that I could later cash out for money through a paid survey site that I'm a member of. I thought one box, used intermittently with my homemade wipes couldn't cause too many problems. How wrong and selfish I was! After just 2 ½ days of using the store bought wipes part time, her liquid filled sores were back, and they took a long time to go away. This has been the only instance of this happening since we started using the homemade baby wipes and solution. Needless to say, I will never go back to chemical laden store bought baby wipes again.
Click here for more by Brooklynn Meadows