A complete guide to getting started with Reusable Baby Wipes

What are washable wipes? What are cloth wipes?

The term reusable wipes, washable wipes, reusable baby wipes, cloth baby wipes, and cloth wipes are completely interchangeable. Reusable baby wipes are simply cloths and fabrics you can use on your baby to clean little bottoms, hands, faces, and their feet. Cloth baby wipes are a superb, economical, and durable eco-friendly swap for disposable baby wipes. Disposable wipes are single use items, and over the course of your baby’s time in nappies, cloth wipes will save you so much money and help our environment. Use cloth wipes as often as you see fit, and once soiled, simply pop in a mesh or wet bag or a laundry bucket for storage until laundry day. 

Cloth wipes are the perfect complement for any parent who chooses to use cloth nappies on their baby. Reusable wipes are also very effective at cleaning your baby’s bottom. Be it pee or poo, regardless of how dirty your baby’s dirty nappy will be, you will usually need just the one washable baby wipe per nappy change.

If you are using cloth wipes for hands, armpits, and faces you may use any material. Here at Summer Sweets Baby we have cloth wipes materials ranging from cotton to bamboo or cotton velour, and organic cotton to bamboo which are often rated as being the softest materials. If you need cloth wipes for changing a cloth nappy, we would encourage and recommend cotton or terry wipes, or indeed bamboo terry wipes. This is simply a texture choice, and you can use these cloth wipes in one sweeping motion to clean baby. This is both hygienic for your baby and soft on their bottom. If there is too much poo for one wipe, you can use a second wipe or use a spray bottle to dampen the wipe to go again if you deem it hygienic enough. You will figure out what works best for you.

Bamboo Terry Cloth Wipes for babies

What will I need to get started with cloth baby wipes?

Reusable wipes can be used all over the body so you can start with just the one pack of cloth wipes. As you become more confident using washable wipes, you may invest in more over time. Some parents prefer to have a dedicated set of baby wipes for faces, armpits, and hands, and keep a separate set for nappy changes. If this is you, we would recommend two packs of cloth wipes, and consider using different materials as well. Don’t forget to always give new wipes a quick wash prior to use.

How do I wash and clean my reusable baby wipes?

Simply pop your cloth baby wipes in your washing machine. You may either wash with your normal laundry, or directly with your nappy laundry. Nearly all brands are safe to use in the dryer as well. We would always encourage you to follow manufacturers recommendations.

How do I store my cloth wipes?

How you store your reusable cloth wipes is entirely your choice. There is no correct way, and you will figure out what suits your lifestyle the best. Disposable wipes are always wet as they need to be, but the texture of cloth wipes gives you the opportunity to either store cloth wipes dry or wet. Any guide to reusable nappies will give you pros and cons, so we shall do the same for you with cloth wipes.

Wet wipes are the clear favourite amongst parents. Many parents will begin using disposable wipes on their baby, and then switch to reusable baby wipes, and when this switch is made, it is simply easier to continue with what you know; a pre-wet wipe at the ready.

Once you have taken a reusable baby wipe out of the washing machine, you can either store it dry or wet. Where you store them is your choice. Most parents store them in a wet bag, a mesh bag to air dry, a nappy bucket, or a wipes container. This choice of container is the most popular, and can be any tub that you can wash and close with a lid. Place the wipes inside either dry or wet, and they will remain clean, soft, and ready to use. And when you are ready to use these cloth wipes, you can either use them as dry wipes or wet wipes. For wet wipes, many of our customers opt for an anti-bacterial cloth wipes solution that they prepare prior to use of the wipes. This will give the wipes a similar texture to disposable wipes, but obviously keep them environmentally friendly.

Now what is to be done when the cloth wipes are dirty? Simply pop the used wipes into your wet bag, mesh bag, or nappy bucket and they stay here until you pop the entire contents into your washing machine. All cloth wipes can be washed together, but if you intend to wash them with you cloth nappies, we would encourage you keep the wipes you use for faces, armpits, and hands separate.

And to those who are regularly out of the house, clean wipes can be stored either wet or dry, in either a wet bag or a mesh bag. We would recommend you bring a wet bag as this is simply an easier way to store your dirty wipes. Many parents will bring a small spray bottle with them to dampen the dry wipes, or simply transport them in a very small container with the cloth wipes solution in it.

Summer Sweets Baby Cloth Wipes Solution: Wipe Bits

What are the best wipes solution?

As previously noted, a reusable baby wipe can be used wet or dry. If you choose to use them wet, you should consider prior to first use how you are going to wet them. Trial and error will allow you to come to the decision of what works best for you.

These are some of the most used options when using reusable wet wipes alongside using cloth nappies:

1) You may choose to use just water: Simple, free, everything you need.

2) You may choose a homemade wipes solution. Just remember to take time to check if your own solution is safe for you baby’s bum. If any irritation occurs, stop use and see your GP.

3) You may choose a scented solution and keep it in a small spray bottle for when required. Simply spritz your solution onto your damp wipes as needed.

4) Here at Summer Sweets Baby we have designed our own in house natural and dermatologically friendly cloth wipes solution. Our 'Cloth Bits' are long lasting, eco-friendly, come in a variety of subtle scents, and are so easy to use with your cloth wipes! Simply dissolve in warm water, leave in your container of choice, and they smell heavenly for whenever you need to use them.

Reusable cloth wipes FAQs

Can you use reusable wipes from birth?

Of course you can! Reusable wipes are a simple and efficient solution and a wonderful alternative to the cotton wool and water combination so often recommended by health care professionals. Regular disposable wipes that are so plentiful on supermarket shelves are often harsh on a baby's skin, despite being market as specifically designed for babies. This is which is why cotton wool is so commonly suggested in the early days and weeks with a newborn baby. But should you wish for an alternative, reusable wipes contain absolutely no harsh chemicals, are soft to touch, and are perfectly safe to use on your little newborn baby from day one.

Are cloth wipes cheaper to use than disposable wipes?

Absolutely. When we surveyed a group of 15 parents who used disposable wipes, they each said they use at least one pack a week. Disposable wipes range from €1 to €3 per pack. If we simply take the cheapest pack, over the lifetime of using nappies with one baby, this exceeds €150 in cost for disposable wipes. Meanwhile, the eco-friendly alternative, reusable cloth wipes, usually cost around €15 for a pack of 12. The maximum number any parents should ever need is three packs. Thus, using our example, €150 for disposable wipes and €45 for reusable wipes.

How many reusable wipes will I need?

With a newborn baby, you can expect to change 10-12 nappies per day. As the baby grows, this will reduce to six nappy changes per day. You will use one reusable wipe per change, sometimes even two. You should also allow for washing and drying time so we recommend having between 30-40 wipes in total. This should cover you for every eventuality. We should also note that you typically use four or five disposable wipes per change, but this is simply never the case with cloth wipes.

Do I store my wipes wet or dry?

This is entirely up to you. Many people will store their reusable baby wipes either wet or damp and ready to use, and homemade wipes solution or easy to use options like "Cloth Wipe Bits" are a great choice for this. Alternatively, you can spritz them with a spray bottle as needed.

Do I need to dry my wipes in between washes?

Not necessarily. If you store your wipes wet then they can go straight back into your mesh bag, laundry bag, or container. And you can choose when you wish to add your wipes solution if you wish.

If you have any other queries that we have not covered, be it using essential oils or a recommended brand, or other ways to wash and clean your cloth wipes, or perhaps a different method to keep them fresh before using them on your baby’s bum, please reach out to us!