When we first found out my wife was pregnant, we started looking into ways to lower the cost of raising children, because according to some the cost of raising children from birth to age 18 is above a quarter million dollars. I could not believe that then (and still don’t), but we both started looking for ways to lower that cost by a lot. There were a lot of things that we knew we’d need to do to save money, so we thought about homemade natural baby wipes to start with.
One of the first things that we thought about was the life cycle of a product and how long it gets used for. We zeroed in early on baby costs because we thought there would be a lot of savings there and our efforts would have an immediate impact on our finances. After thinking about it for a while and taking with some friends of ours that already have children, we decided to start at the (rear) end, with diapers and wipes.
These two products are everything that annoys me about buying anything today. They are single use, then tossed in the garbage pail. No reuse, no washing, no anything of the sort. Simply pull out a piece of paper product, slap it on the child (or clean them with it) and toss it in the pail and go buy more.
For diapers we got cloth diapers (similar to what my mom wrapped me up in, but with far fewer safety pins). We figured these would be much cheaper in the long run because they have adjustable sides and claim to be one size fits all. They come with micro fiber inserts and are washable, meaning that you don’t use them once and throw them away. This really resonated with how we try to live, so we found a company that didn’t charge too much (it’s not bumGenius) and bought some. If you’re curious, they are from sunbaby USA. They cost about 6 dollars per diaper, but we will recoup that in no time.
The next target we looked at was the baby wipe. For those of you that dont know, you can go through 1-6 of these per diaper change, depending on how your child elects to treat you that go-round. I find this whole diaper change process incredibly wasteful, and tried to convince my wife that we should just let her run around naked – which was quickly shot down. So, I researched some ways to make baby wipes, and settled for something that shouldnt bother her skin and uses cheap, natural ingredients! We havent tested these yet (she’s still in the hospital), but I’m pretty sure they should work well. Without further droning on, here’s how I made my Homemade Natural Baby Wipes.
DIY Homemade Natural Baby Wipes
The first thing that I did was go to the store and pick out some flannel that would become the actual wipes. I got 2 yards of fabric for about $8 per yard and got to work. Here’s what the fabric looked like when I brought it home from the store:
The next step was to cut all of this fabric into squares that would be a good baby wipe size. After looking at a few sizes, I settled on 6×6 squares and started to cut. My decision ended up making things really easy, as I folded the fabric “hot dog” style and measured out 6″. Once that was done, I just cut the fabric down the sides and ended up with lots of strips that were 6″ wide and the length of a yard of fabric. Here’s what they looked like:
Now that I had my strips of flannel, it was time to turn them all into squares. Again, I just measured out 6 inches and cut as much fabric as the scissors could handle at one time. This took a bit of time, but it wasnt too bad. If you’re already into sewing and hand one of those patterned tiles or mats with the inches already marked out, you’ll save quite a bit of time. I had to use a tape measure. All in all, I think the process took less than 45 minutes. I was watching house of cards and dont think that it took me an entire episode. Below is the final product:
This is just for the wipes. I washed the wipes before we will use them, but we still need some sort of solution for the wipes to soak in. This is a little less straight forward, but still pretty easy considering the amount of money you can save over time.
Ingredients for the Wipe Solution
- 25-30 wipes
- 1 squirt Dr Bronners Baby Soap (I get mine from Amazon)
- 1 Drop Tea Tree Oil (Also from Amazon)
- 1 tsp Coconut oil
- 2 cups boiled water (allow to cool first)
Combine all ingredients except for the wipes in a measuring bowl. Your water needs to be a bit warm or the coconut oil wont melt and will just sit in there like a blob. Mix up all your ingredients well and set them aside.
Then you need to put your cloth wipes into the container that you’ll be using to store them (we are going to use a tupperware of some kind) and pour the bowl of other ingredients over the cloth. Make sure all your cloths get wet and you’re good to go!
One of my readers pointed out to me that this may not be the best solution for the wipe solution. Apparently, you’re not supposed to use Tea Tree Oil on children younger than 3 months (which was not an issue for us as we didnt bring our daughter home until she was 3 months old). She actually runs the website stapler confessions, and here’s what she had to say:
- I have read that essential oils shouldn’t be used on babies under 3 months old.
- I have also read that tea tree oil is not recommended for use with children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. But I don’t know exactly why, but it may be because some people have an allergic reaction to it, which can be as extreme as anaphylaxis (I’m looking into it). (More info here)
- I have also read that tea tree oil can disrupt some hormones, which is a particular concern for boys in puberty. But the study publishing this info deals with boys in puberty who use tea tree oil regularly, so obviously not a concern for a baby girl. (More Info Here)
If you share her concerns (Most do not apply to our situation) here is another way to make the spray.
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 tablespoons of baby bath soap
- one tablespoon of baby oil
You can use this formula as well, but it would probably be easier if you scaled up the recipe and simply put it in a jar with your cloth wipes and then pulled out a wipe and rung it out when you were ready to use.
Even though we havent tried these yet, I’m pretty confident that they will work and save us buckets of money. I’m looking forward to this, and it’s a great way to reduce waste and save a ton of money.
Readers: Did you try to make you own baby wipes, or did you just buy them at the store? If you bought them, how much do you think you spent per year?