So, as part of the move to more natural and chemical-reduced living, I have been making my own baby wipes for the little man. Sure, the brandname ones might be fine and it does take slightly more effort to make your own (and when I say slightly more, I mean about 1 minute more) — but there are several chemicals in the store bought ones that concern me, namely propylene glycol and parabens. Propylene Glycol is a made from natural gas and is used as a humectant and parabens are synthetic preservatives. Some research has indicated that there may be cancer correlation (certainly not causation which is an entirely different thing) and estrogen effects from these. So. What to do? My feeling is… when in doubt, throw it out. Do I sound like Jackie Childs?
Seriously though…. if you don’t need to expose yourself or your kids to them, why should you? Even if there is only a little bit of contradictory evidence that they might be bad, I see no point in exposure (to especially the smallest among us who are the most sensitive) to chemicals that we don’t need otherwise. Aside from that, even natural varieties aren’t the best option with some research showing lavender and tea tree oil to have estrogenic properties. I figure why not skip all the chemicals and unnecessary essential oils? Plus, even most pediatricians will tell you that just warm water and a washcloth is a better alternative to wipes because of baby’s sensitive skin. Commercial wipes tend to increase diaper rash and irritation, not reduce it.
So, that’s my long winded explanation of why I chose to make them. And some have worked out better than others. But now, I have a formula that I think is great and a container that works perfectly. And yes, I have (and still do) use washclothes on occasion, but you really need at least one batch of these made up for the nasty messes and travel. So, here you go…
The Best Homemade Baby Wipes
Viva Paper Towels
Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Mild Pure Castille Soap (you can use another baby soap, but I find this one to the best bet with no chemicals and no lavender or tea tree oil).
1. Go to Target or your local grocery store and buy a Snapware Container (the clear plastic kind with a white snap lid). I am looking for a good stainless steel alternative, but haven’t found it yet (maybe a canister?). I think my Snapware container is the 64 oz. one. It is about 8 1/2 inches high and 5 1/2 inches wide. Wash out the container with a clean sponge/cloth and some mild soap at first and in between uses. The good news about these containers is that they are #1 PET plastic, so when you are done with them, they are recyclable almost anywhere.
2. Buy a big pack of Viva Paper Towels in the Big Roll size. I have tried other varieties (including more environmentally friendly ones) but these are the best and most cloth like (others just fall apart). Using a sharp, serrated knife (or a clean saw for that matter), saw the roll of towels in half. This is the most time consuming part and will greatly depend on how sharp your knife is. Think of it as a quick arm workout. After the roll is completely in half, pinch the cardboard core at both ends and squeeze it together and wiggle it until you can pull the core out.
3. Fill the Snapware container with about 2-3 cups of cold water (about 1/4 to 1/3 full). You may need more or less based on whether your wipes turn out a little too dry or wet. (I never measure exactly, sorry). Add one or two tablespoons of the castille soap and about one tablespoon of the apricot oil. Shake it up to mix it.
4. Carefully drizzle a little of the soap, oil, and water mixture on your paper towel half roll to soften it and make it more flexible. If it is not moist enough, it will be very difficult to get into the container opening.
5. Push the paper towel half roll into the container keeping the center hole intact (where the core came from). It may get all bunched up, but you can straighten it out once it’s all in there. Turn the container in all directions so the water mixture soaks in completely.
6. Straighten out the roll so it’s upright and the core is visible. Pull the wipes from the center and you will have pop-up wipes with no chemicals in a sealed container with an easy to open lid (that only takes one hand to open)! Put some in a ziploc bag or reusable wipe container when you travel.
I have been making them like this for a while and I haven’t had any problem with them drying out or mold, which some people complain of. Just be sure to pull as many wipes out as you will need and break them off before getting your hands into the diaper (to cut down on bacteria getting back into the wipes).
Enjoy! (As much as one can when your hands are in human excrement.)