Washable wipes are so easy on the environment because they help reduce landfill waste of disposable baby wipes AND they save money! When you use washable wipes, you eliminate the need for wasteful disposable wipes that go straight into landfills.
If you’ve never considered using cloth wipes before, you should!
Aside from being eco-friendly and really good for sensitive skin and eczema (I have eczema myself which is one of the reasons I started developing the kit), they’ll also save you a lot of money and in these recession hit times, that has got to be a great combinatio
Disposable Baby Wipes vs Reusable Wipes
11 Benefits of using washable baby wipes compared to using disposables:
- You can use cotton wipes with warm water straight from birth. Hospitals don’t recommend using disposable wipes on a newborn baby and advise parents to use cotton wool. These are cotton wool in a more permanent form!
- Cost! A pack of disposable wipes costs about £2 and lasts about one week (less if my husband is using them!). Over 2.5 years of nappy use that’s about £260. Reusable baby wipes will cost you about £25, that’s a significant saving. You might not notice the cost of wipes as you simply pop a pack in your weekly shop, but when you sit down and work it out its a lot!
- If you are using reusable nappies it makes sense to totally combine with wipes, just throw the dirty wipes in with the dirty nappies and wash them together. If you try and use disposables with cloth nappies you will have the wipes lose in your bin!
- They give a much better clean than disposables. They tend to be bigger and allow for a great clean.
- They can also be used as hand and face wipes (you can keep separate piles for nappy and faces!
- They are much nicer on your skin. You can make your own solution to clean without any harsh chemicals included, maybe just tea tree essential oil or just water.
- One wipe will do the job, you won’t need loads!
- They come in funky fabrics and are much more fun to use!
- Have you ever used a commercial baby wipe to clean your bum? Try it, it stings! Lord knows what nasty chemicals are in there but if they sting you imagine how your baby feels.
- Disposable baby wipes are used to clean all sorts of nasties… and they work… which is very worrying!
- They are eco friendly and much better for our planet!
How many reusable wipes baby do I need?
For newborns and infants, it’s generally better to start with around 30 to 40 reusable baby wipes at first since they tend to dirty their nappies more frequently.
Its worth investing in a big pack to start with.
Of course, as your baby grows and goes through toddlerhood, you will need fewer wipes since they go longer between dirtying their nappies.
If you want to use clean wipes for hands and face it’s worth getting an extra 10-20 and maybe using a colour code to know which pile is for which.
What can I use washable wipes for?
Everything! They are not just for use with reusable nappies and bum changes. Washable wipes can be used for:
- Cleaning baby bum’s
- Cleaning babies hands
- Cleaning babies face
- Cleaning babies toys
- And more! You can even add essential oils to your reusable wipes for added cleaning power and a nice scent on the baby’s skin.
How do I prepare my reusable baby wipes
You can either store them dry and then use them with a spray or have them prepared in a nappy wipe solution so you have damp wipes ready to go. Most parents soak them in a cup of water mixed with an essential oil solution (to clean and tea tree for its antibacterial properties) before using them (if practical, leave them in an airtight container).
How do I care for my washable wipes?
Wash and store them the same way you would your cloth nappies. At nappy change time, just put the dirty wipes into the wet bag or bucket. When you are ready to wash put them into the washing machine to clean.
If you are using disposable nappies then for nappy changes just put them into a wet bag to store then wash with your other laundry.
Washable wipes, like reusable nappies, can be washed at temperatures of 40 or 60 degrees Celsius in the washing machine.
Best Reusable Baby Wipes
Cheeky wipes are probably the best-known brand of washable wipes and Cheeky wipes have really made them a much better-known product, outside of the cloth nappy world. Bambino Mio, Tots Bots, Little Lambs and Green Pioneer are also well-known brands. We’ve done a comprehensive review and you can find our best reusable baby wipes guide here.
A top tip when it comes to wipes is to look for a large size wipe and also ones with two different fabrics on either side as these are much more effective.
What type of fabric is best for washable wipes?
Wipes for newborns are typically constructed of soft fabric like cotton terry, organic cotton flannel, bamboo or microfiber, which are gentle on the skin and wash easily.
The answer is that they are all good for different purposes and it depends on whether you want to use them for faces or bums (or both). It’s also worth considering your drying facilities and whether you live in a hard or soft water area.
To help you decide, here’s a short summary of pros and cons.
Terry Towelling – Cost ££ (£10 – £15 for 25 wipes)
A great all round wipe, suitable for faces or bottoms.
Use on faces and hands or bottoms too
Brilliant at removing poo swiftly and easily
Will wash well and dry reasonably quickly
Can be prone to limescale build up (however this is easily fixed with white vinegar or fabric conditioner)
Bamboo – Cost £££ (£15 – £20 for 25 wipes)
A premium all round wipe, softer than terry towelling
Can be used for faces, hands & bottoms
Remove poo easily
Softer than terry, limescale not a problem
Bamboo is eco-friendly, naturally anti-bacterial fabric
More expensive than terry
Slightly slower to dry
Velvet Microfibre – Cost £ (£10 for 25 wipes)
A premium wipe for hands & faces, thick and very soft when wet.
Brilliantly soft for faces and hands
Clean faces and hands quickly and easily
The softest wipe available, no limescale build up
Very good value for money
Shouldn’t be used for poo as microfibre can trap fibres – not good when this is poo fibres
Fleece – Cost £ (£10 for 25 wipes)
An alternative man-made wipe for faces and bottoms.
Soft, will not suffer from limescale build up
Good value for money
Cheeky Wipes don’t recommend fleece wipes because of their tendency to smear which makes them less pleasant to use
Minkee – Cost £££ (£15 – £20 for 25 wipes)
An alternative silky man-made wipe.
Silky soft, no limescale build up
As mentioned above, minkee wipes are soft but we don’t recommend them because of their tendency to smear which is irritating
Using resusable wipes when we’re out and about??
There are many wet bags made specifically for keeping your cloth wipes inside. These come in different sizes to fit your needs and you can keep them with ziplock or velcro closure so that the bag remains closed. You will need a separate container of water to moisten the wipes when out on errands, which should ideally be kept cold for added comfort.
How do I store fabric baby wipes when they’re dirty?
You can either keep them separate from your other laundry or put into a wet bag with the rest of your dirty nappies.
If you don’t want to use any fabric softener on them make sure you wash and rinse thoroughly.
What if my baby is sensitive?
Some babies may experience redness and irritation when using cloth wipes. If this happens, consider using wipes that are made with sensitive skin in mind or just use water to clean their bums instead of a wipe solution.
Can I tumble dry?
No, you should not tumble dry your reusable wipes. They will become coated in fluff and lint that is impossible to wash off. It’s also less eco friendly if you do.
Are cloth wipers cheaper?
So how do the numbers stack up?
One point to note with washable wipes is that you don’t have to do separate loads of washing for them. You can, of course, wash them with your cloth nappies, but mine usually go in with my clothes wash each morning (4 children = LOTS of washing!)
Wipes can cost from £5 for packs of 10, and this is all you really need, with making your own kits easily at home. However, you can also go down the route of wipe kits. Wipes kit for cloth nappy users costs c.£26.95. That’s for 25 wipes, a box for soaking your wipes with the essential oil and water, an out and about travel bag and a bottle of lavender & chamomile oil which will last about 6 months.
You might want to add extra wipes when you start weaning and you’ll also need more oil. So your total cost for wipes for two years will be:
Kit = £26.95
Extra Wipes = £10.00
Oil = £14.49
Total = £51.44
Total Cost for cloth wipes – Let’s be generous and round it up to £60!
How does that compare to disposable wipes?
Let’s take an average RRP of £2.49 as a starting point. Some premium brands of wipes can cost up to £6.99 a packet (check Amazon!) and there are obviously supermarket own brands available which are cheaper, however even Pampers RRP is £2.49 a pack.
How many wipes you’ll use is a good question. You tend to use a lot more disposable wipes than cloth wipes as they have a tendency to smear poo around, whereas cloth wipes do the job with less hassle (and if you have a spare 90 seconds, take a look at our poo wiping demonstration which compares and contrasts disposable wipes vs cloth wipes).
Most mums I’ve spoken to get through about 4 packs every two weeks. Some use more than that, some use less but lets take that as an average. So let’s see what that adds up to over 2 years:
Weekly cost of wipes = £2.49 x 2 = £4.98
Yearly Cost of wipes = £4.98 x 52 = £258.96
x 2 years = £258.96 x 2 = £517.92
Even if you buy your wipes on a Buy-one, get one free offer, EVERY week, that’s still £258 on disposable baby wipes, £200 more than you’ll spend on cloth wipes. However you may need to also factor in washing and drying costs, although if washing nappies this add on cost should not be that much.
Cloth baby wipes will save you at least £200 and make sense financially, make sure that they’re on your baby shopping list!
No two baby’s skin is alike so it can be challenging to find the perfect reusable wipe. The best way to decide which ones you need is by thinking about what your typical routine looks like and how often you change clothes or bathe your child, then purchase accordingly. If something doesn’t work for you, try a different brand of washable wipes until you find one that does!
This article was written by: Gian MIller – Full-Time Writer, Baby Whisperer & Dad of 3.
Gian spends a lot of his time writing. A self-proclaimed baby whisperer, Gian has been through it all with his own children and is passionate about sharing his hard-won wisdom with other parents. When he’s not writing or changing diapers, you can find him playing the guitar or watching baseball (or preferably both at the same time).