So many cloth diapering parents want to try out cloth wipes, but they have lots of questions and don't know where to start. I was one of these parents! After lots and lots of research (and practice), I love my cloth wipes and even use them in the diaper bag. The goal of this blog post is to (hopefully) de-mystify cloth wipes and help you get on track to using them (if you want to)!
Links in this post are not affiliate links, I am recommending these products because I use and love them, and I hope you will too!
Q: What are cloth wipes made from?
A: There are lots of types of cloth wipes! They can be 1, 2, or sometimes even 3 layers of material. Some people like thicker wipes because your hands are farther away from any poop. I like single-layer wipes because I feel like I have more control over them when they're thinner. It's totally personal preference. Cloth wipes can be cotton flannel (like the shirts!), bamboo or cotton terrycloth (like bath towels), bamboo or cotton velour (like the tracksuits!), and bamboo or cotton french terry (like sweatshirts). Fabrics with exposed texture, like terrycloth/velour/french terry, make great poop wipes because the texture of the material acts like little fabric fingers to grab at the poo and gets baby's bum nice and clean. Flannel is good for newborn poop as well, but is best for pee only once baby starts solid foods and their poop starts to change.
Q: How do I get them wet? Do I have to wet them?
A: Again, there are a few ways to go about this! Some people pre-wet, some wet as they go, and some just use them dry. Pre-wetting your wipes is the closest to using disposable wipes because you grab and go. You can wet them with just plain tap water, or you can add a drop of baby soap or a wipe bit to the water mixture. Wipe bits are little soap cubes sold by some cloth diaper companies that dissolve in warm water and can be added to the wipes. You can also add some liquid coconut oil if baby has trouble with a dry bum.
I like to pre-wet my wipes with tap water and a tiny drop of my daughter's gentle baby soap (Shea Moisture baby). I keep my wipes (flannel 1-ply) in this Skip Hop wipes container. I like this method because I can easily see when I need to add more wipes, and I can just pull one out to use it as though I were using disposables.
Some people keep a spray bottle with water and wipes solution in it, and a stack of clean dry wipes at their changing station. They spray the wipe they're about ti use, then clean baby like normal with their wet wipe.
Another way to do it is to rinse baby's bum in the sink or under the faucet in the tub and to use a dry wipe to pat baby dry afterwards.
Q: What do I do with the wipes after I use them?
A: Again, you have a few options (see a pattern here?). If you only use your wipes for pee, or if your baby is exclusively breastfed, you can just toss your wipes straight in the wash with the rest of your diapers. If you have wipes that have poop on them from babies getting formula and/or solid foods (even just a taste!), I recommend having a small basket near your changing area to lay those wipes flat. They'll need to have the poop removed from them before they can go in the washing machine, whether that be by hand-washing under a faucet, spraying with your other poopy diapers, or some other method that works for you! I keep a basket next to my changing table that holds the day's poopy diapers, and I drape poopy wipes over the side of it until the end of the day when I spray everything. More on spraying will come in another blog post!
Q: Can I use cloth wipes on the go?
A: Absolutely! This was so intimidating at first, but now that we've been doing it for a few months it's no big deal. You can find a reusable wipes container at Target (I like this Skip Hop one). I don't leave the house much with baby, so when I do I add 3-4 pre-wet wipes to the container and bring a 2-pocket wet/dry bag to store dirty diapers in. Diapers go in the big pocket and wipes go in the smaller one so that when I get home I can properly separate my dirty diapers. You don't have to be this organized, though! Everything can get tossed in the same bag (or you can roll the wipe up into the dirty diaper like you would with disposables), and it can get separated later. Again, totally personal preference and what works for me might not work for you.
Q: How many cloth wipes do I need?
A: How many cloth wipes you "need" will depend on how often you wash your diapers and whether you use them for every change or just pee diapers. I have about 60 wipes, which is more than enough for my 4-day wash cycle. If you're using them for every diaper change, I'd say to have 2 wipes per change to be safe. That's about 10-12 wipes per day between washes! (Ex. 3 days between washes, 30-36 wipes). If you're only using them for pee diapers, 5 wipes per day is probably a good number, especially in the newborn stage when babies poop at almost every diaper change. (Ex. 3 days between washes, 15 wipes) I like to have extra so that if I don't fold them immediately after washing and drying, I'm not out.
I hope this post has helped make cloth wipes feel more approachable! Remember, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can use all disposable, some of both, or all cloth, and it makes no difference to anyone but you! Whatever works best for you and your family is what's best for you and your family, and you're rocking this whole parenting thing either way.