Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cloth Wipes

(Have you entered the giveaway yet?  Hurry it ends soon!)

In the very beginning of when we cloth diapered, we used disposable seventh generation wipes.  We would take off the dirty diaper, wipe little man with a disposable wipe, set the disposable wipe in the cloth diaper, put him into the clean cloth diaper, and velcro him in.  After that, we'd walk to the trash, throw out the wipe, and then put the diaper into the wet bag.  

Seems like a lot of steps to change a diaper, right?  

I don't know why it took me so long to figure it out, but with the help of a few other cloth diapering mamas, I was introduced to the wonderful world of cloth wipes.  No extra trips to the trash can out of my way, these just went straight into the laundry with the diapers.  So.much.easier!  And so much cheaper!  

Let's break down the cost first, because I like to see how much I'm saving.  (Or, as my husband says, 'Show me the money that you've saved please!'.... um well, I already spent it on groceries?)

To be very specific, I average about two wipes per diaper change based on how many ungodly times my child poops during the day.  I've never seen so much poop in my life as I have this first year of his, it is seriously crazy how one baby can make that much poo!  But I digress.  Aaaaanyway, we use about two wipes per diaper change, then you have to consider how many diapers you're changing per day.  Initially, it was about 12 diapers per day, now more like 6 or less.  So, let's again take an average, and we'll count it at 9 changes per day.

2 wipes per change x 9 changes per day= 18 wipes per day.

A crate of seventh generation wipes (5 refill packs total) averages out to about $.04 per wipe.  At 18 wipes per day, that equals to $.72 per day.  Per month, that costs a little over $22.  If you multiply that by the average of 2 and a half years your child is in diapers, you get a running total of:  (drumroll please!)


Did I just add that right?

Yep, double checked and that is the right number.  So, over the course of diapering little man, if we had continued to use seventh generation wipes, we would have spent almost $700 dollars.  On items that we throw away, numerous times, each day.  I checked to see about less expensive wipes, and the cheapest ones I could find still would cost a parent over $500 during the time they diapered their child.  Yikes.

For a lot of people, even $500 is huge.  It could be a month's rent, a month (or two, if you stretch it) of groceries, and for me personally, an extra $500-$700 means that I get to stay home (a lot) more days with my child when I would have otherwise had to work.  

Now onto the logistics.  How much do wipes cost?  Is there anything else you would need?

Some people buy expensive cloth wipes, which brings down your savings from above.  You can buy organic cloth wipes for around $2.50 per wipe.  Which is, obviously going to be fairly costly if you need an average of 25 wipes to get you through at least two days of laundry ($62.50 total).  You can buy cheap baby washcloths and use them as wipes (like I did, from Meijer), which ended up costing me around $15 total for all the wipes we use.  Or, you can go the really cheap route and do the free version of cutting up old t-shirts and using those pieces of cloth for wipes.  Whatever you do, they all serve the same purpose and work the same way.

As for additional supplies/accessories, you already likely have a wet bag if you cloth diaper, so that takes care of storage after they are used.  Before they are used, you can either store them dry or wet.  You can also add fancy wipe solutions to them, or just use plain water for free.  We personally put the wipes in a tupperware container with water and a little bit of LuSa Organics baby wipe juice, which has essential oils and witch hazel to keep his bum nice and fresh and comfy.  The bottle is somewhat expensive at $14.75 each, but we've been cloth wiping for over a year, and are still only a little more than halfway through the bottle.  A little of that stuff really goes a long way.  We keep our wipes wet and ready because with a wriggling toddler, diaper changes are somewhat like the pit stops we're accustomed to here in Indianapolis, fast!

That brings my total of spending to just under $30 for wipes.  I could see buying another container or two of the wipe juice while he is still in diapers, so maybe my cost would be increased to about $60 maximum in total.  And, for future children, we'd only have to buy wipe juice every so often, because we already have the wipes.

So, financially, it makes sense, and if you're already doing cloth diapers, it isn't any extra work from what you are already doing, why didn't I do it sooner?  I guess it just never occurred to me until at least a few months in to having little man.  Obviously, outside of the financial reasons to cloth wipe, there are a ton of eco-friendly reasons to cloth wipe as well.  The first would be less chemicals on your little one's bum.  Another would be less waste in landfills after using the disposable wipes.  A third reason would be the decreased packaging of the disposable wipes in the landfills, the decreased energy used to produce the wipes, the decreased energy to transport the wipes to where they will be sold, the list could go on and on.  

For us as a family, it was a really simple switch that was already in line with what we were doing currently, and it made so much sense.  If you decide to cloth diaper in the future (which I hope you will, it has been so easy and very cheap!), don't forget about cloth wipes!


  1. We love our cloth wipes! If I am stuck using disposable ones I find I have to use many more to do the same job as 1 cloth one.

    We store them wet (18 at a time, about 2 days worth) in a old wipes container and wet them with 2 cups water, a scoop of coconut oil, a few drops of tea tree oil, and a few drops Live Clean baby wash.

  2. I sewed my own from clearance fabrics. I just wet 2 of them in the sink before each change. Sometimes I keep a few in a travel wipes case with water and coconut oil, but we've found it's easiest for us to just wet them with water before the change.


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