NOTE: This post was originally part of my “Thrifty Tips You Can Use“ series. It has been updated with more information and better quality photos. For more tips, and links to related posts, please see “Raising Baby on a Budget.”
I’ve used this wipes recipe for all of my children, and I absolutely love it! These wipes are very gentle on baby’s sensitive skin, and work much better than the store-bought ones. My husband prefers them because they’re “wetter,” and seem to do a better job of cleaning. The recipe can be altered to use any skin oil or baby bath you like, which is great for babies with allergies or skin sensitivities. One of my children is allergic to mineral oil, so until recently I used coconut oil, which is quite expensive. Bee’s pediatric dermatologist told me that this is unnecessary, because plain vegetable oil is a safe and inexpensive skin lubricant. We’ve actually been using canola oil because that’s what we use for cooking and baking, and there appears to be no difference whatsoever in quality.
To make the wipes, this is what you’ll need:
(1) 4-quart square or round container – (8” H x 7.25” W x 7.25” D)
(Stickers are optional, but I think they’re fun. I just cleaned and redecorated my containers for DJ, because they had girly stickers on them)
½ roll Bounty Select-A-Size paper towels (you MUST use the “super” or “giant” sized roll! If you use a standard roll the wipes will be too wet). I’ve tried many brands of select-a-size paper towels – Viva, Sparkle, Brawny – and I think that Bounty produces the best quality.
2 ½ cups hot water
2 T (tablespoons) baby bath (I use generic)
2 T (tablespoons) baby oil (if your children are sensitive to mineral oil, substitute coconut or vegetable oil)
Cutting board, serrated bread knife, quart-sized measuring cup, measuring spoons
NOTE: I purchased my Rubbermaid cylindrical containers 8 years ago, and they’re now discontinued. A round container like this is nearly impossible to find now. I’ve done extensive research (I even called Rubbermaid) because I like to give these wipes as baby shower gifts, and I’ve found that these 4-quart, square containers from Wal-Mart are an inexpensive alternative.
To make the wipes:
Cut paper towels in half like this:
Place towels in container, cut side down. Mix oil and bath with hot water.
Pour over towels.
Cover, flip upside down. Wait 5 minutes. Remove cardboard tube.
Because these wipes have no chemical additives or preservatives, mold is a possibility, especially in warm weather. Be sure to keep the wipes tightly closed, and store in a cool area, away from direct sunlight. Adding 4 drops of tea tree oil (a natural antiseptic) to the liquid mixture helps deter mold. Interestingly enough, I only had a problem with mold when I was using Huggies unscented baby bath. When I switched back to generic, scented baby bath, my problem went away. I suspect that the small amount of alcohol in perfumed baby bath helps to inhibit mold growth.
For travel, you can just unravel some wipes, fold them up, and put them in your travel container. I’m more inclined to just stuff a big wad of them in a Ziploc bag, because I’m lazy. Also, please remember that these wipes must be thrown away, not flushed, or you’ll have an expensive plumber’s bill, which will completely negate your savings from making them.
It had been a while since I priced Bounty Select-A-Size paper towels so, in the interest of giving you the most accurate information, I checked prices when I was at Wal-Mart yesterday. A 6-pack currently costs $11.64 here, or $1.94 per roll. When you factor in the minimal amount of oil and baby bath, the cost of these wipes is around $1.15 per container. Remember that prices vary by geographic area, so your cost may be more or less than this. I estimate that these homemade wipes save me about $12 per month over the cheapest generic wipes on the market (Parent’s Choice – total crap, in my opinion. Unless you like your baby’s butt to be covered in lint).
Give this recipe a try. You’ll never go back to store-bought.