Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wipes are a Waste

Seventh Generation Baby Wipes Refills, Chlorine Free and Unscented, 70-Count Packs (Pack of 12) (840 Wipes) [Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging]
Some families should buy stock in baby wipes. The amount of money it costs to buy the amount of wipes they use in a year would be more than enough for me to cover the down payment of a new home. Well, not quite, but you get the picture.
Spilled something? Grab a wipe and clean it up. Furniture dusty? Use a baby wipe to dust it off. Sticky face and hands? Clean off with a baby wipe. Color on the floor or cabinet with a crayon? Baby wipe. A job in the bathroom? Baby wipes.
And then of course, the obvious. Dirty diapers. Clean off the little tushie with baby wipes.

What a waste.

Baby wipes are pretty much just glorified wet thin cloths, with the added "bonus" of being filled with chemicals, fragrances, and who knows what else.
You can easily find replacements for wipes that are both more environmentally friendly and loads cheaper.

Instead of using wipes to clean up messes, like sticky faces or finger printed cabinets, you can use damp unpaper towels. Unpaper towels just means using thin cloths instead of using paper towels. When wet, these cloths are just as effective as wipes. When finished with them, just dump them in the wash.
If people find that they need baby wipes in the bathroom to be really clean... well, there's no reason why they shouldn't just use family cloth (washable toilet paper), either pre-wetted or with a sprayer. Now before you say that that is gross, wipes should not get flushed down the toilet. So if you're going to have fecal matter sitting around, you may as well wash it as opposed to chucking it down the toilet. At least according to my thought process.
A dry cloth works fine as a duster- no need for baby wipes.

And as for baby's little tushies?
That was my last holdout in leaving wipes behind. Disposable wipes are convenient, and I managed to get them pretty cheaply. However, my stockpile is dwindling and I don't feel like going out to buy more when it is perfectly doable to manage without.
I am now a wipes free household.
What do I do to clean my little babies' tushies?

WHITNEY 8 Oz Spray BottleWhen Lee was little, I read up about using cloth wipes. There were two techniques- presoaked wipes or dry wipes with a spray bottle. For the presoaked, you want to make a cleaning mixture and put it in a covered container, and then put cloth wipes into the liquid, taking them out as necessary.
I chose to take that cleaning mixture, put it into a spray bottle, and use that to clean tushies.

To make your cleaning mixture, take 1 cup baby soap, 1 cup baby oil, 2 cups water and a dash of olive oil. You can also add a bit of an essential oil if you so desire. Pour this mixture into a cheap, dollar store style spray bottle and shake well.
Flannel Baby Wipes - 15 pack unbleached (ivory)When changing diapers, spray your baby's tushie a few times, then wipe it all up with a cloth wipe. You can either buy cloth wipes or make them by cutting an old flannel sheet into 8 inch squares. I found that with one cloth wipe and a few sprays, I could accomplish as much cleaning as I would have with 4 disposable wipes. I did this all the time with Lee when he was a baby, and could not understand why anyone who cloth diapered would waste money on disposable wipes. I was very satisfied with my cloth wipes; once cloth diapering, it is no more work to just wash a few more cloth wipes (and anyhow, I found that I was tucking my disposable wipes into the diaper and washing them).

Best of all, really, is to cut out the wipes completely, as I'm doing now.
Instead of using wipes, I wash off my baby's tushie in the bathroom sink.
To do this without getting your clothes and your baby's clothes all wet, take off your baby's diaper and clothing over the diaper. You want your baby's diaper area uncovered, but you don't need to get him undressed completely, and you don't even need to take socks off.

Hold your baby's feet up almost to his chin. Face him to the sink and run his front under the water, using one hand to wash him off while holding him with the other. You can use soap on your baby's front while doing this; I don't always bother.
Once you've washed off your baby's front, keep his legs up, turn him around, and then rinse off his rear. Once the bum is clean, you want to straighten out your baby's legs to make sure that there is no poo left in the crevices. Re-clean any parts that need a going-over.
Once clean, dry off your baby's tushie with a towel designated for this purpose.

Cleaning the tushie in the sink is really the best way to deal with diaper rashes. When a baby's bum is irritated, its best not to let it get irritated further with chemicals from wipes. Cleaning under running water really is the best way to get your baby's bottom completely clean, something important when trying to heal a diaper rash.

Do you use wipes in your home? Cloth or disposable? If you're a disposable wipes user, any chance of you switching to cloth wipes any time in the near future?

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I'm a Caribbean girl and since where i live is far from poor or impoverished it is very expensive and so I am loving your blog so far. I can relate to most of your lifestyle choices in terms of what inspired you to be frugal especially in the baby department. As i just had a daughter six weeks ago and decided to cloth diaper and breastfeed from before she was born i can totally agree with your strategies (well most of them anyway, can't say I'd do the used dish or bath water to pre wash my cloth diapers, but that's another blog.) I am successfully cloth diapering and exclusively breastfeeding and thanks to this post i now have the recipe for cloth wipes solution. My mother in law told me recently about how she used to wash her young ones(my hubby's tush included lol) under the tap but i feel as if the water being too cold would upset my baby especially when she's sleeping so i'll just do the cloth wipes. So i just want to thank you for sharing your tips and experiences, this makes me really good about the steps i'm taking in my goal to becoming an "expert" economist for my family.


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