Homemade Cloth Wipes

IMG_6359This week we are doing a little mini series on some of my favorite recommendations for cloth diapering! Stay tuned for my extensive review on various diapers we have tried over the last two years of our cloth diapering adventures. If you are new to cloth diapering, or want to hear more of the pro’s and con’s, check out our previous series on Cloth Diapering 101 here & here.

Let’s begin with simple cloth wipes! Did you know that it is just as easy to use cloth wipes when you are cloth diapering? In fact, it reduces your waste and costs significantly. Simply toss that little cloth wipe in the cloth diaper pail and wash with your diapers. I have found cloth wipes to clean baby’s bottom far more effectively versus their disposable friends. You can find cloth wipes online through many cloth diapering sites, such as Nicki’s Diapers (my recommended supplier), but it is easy to make your own. I chose to use an old receiving flannel blanket because it is very soft, durable, and frugal. It is thicker than many of the cloth wipes on the market and thus lasts longer. These wipes are also very handy in the kitchen to clean up dirty little hands and faces. We keep a stash at all times with the kitchen towels for this purpose.


Flannel fabric (take an old flannel receiving blanket and you are set! One receiving blanket will make you around a dozen wipes.)

Start by cutting your choice fabric into 8 x 8 inch squares. Sew a zig-zag pattern around the edge. Congratulations! You have a cloth wipe. It is that simple. It will fray just a tad but its just a cloth wipe and nobody cares! Store your wipes in an old wipes container. I like to run my diapers under water and ring them out to keep them damp in the container. You can also make a simple wipes solution by mixing some castile liquid soap and water and pouring over your wipes. I keep a soapy mixture in a foaming container to apply directly on the cloth for those difficult jobs.

How many wipes should you make? I would recommend having about 2-3 dozen wipes. Evaluate how often you change diapers and wash to figure out your needs.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

31 Responses to Homemade Cloth Wipes

  1. Emily April 11, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    If you use pinking shears, you don’t need to hem them, which makes this even easier! I cut up two receiving blankets (the standard, Gerber kind) into sixteen squares each. I may do one or two more since I’m cd-ing two little ones. I mixed Dr. Bronner’s and water in a spray bottle and spray some on each wipe as I use it. Works perfectly and is easier than disposable wipes since everything goes into the wet bag, versus diaper in the wet bag and wipes in the garbage. Thanks!

  2. Addie May 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I made this over the weekend and love them! So easy to make and so much cheaper! I really don’t like buying disposable wipes but for a while they were feeling like a necessity. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Linda Klauck February 14, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    I have tried a few recipes from this URL:
    Some of them are natural and some are not. I recently realized that I had to wash my wipes separately from my dipes if I didn’t want the solution to cause soap build-up on my diapers. So, I might just try some water and a few drops of essential oil instead of a solution.

  4. Anna January 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    I bought the Lionheart warmer too and have no problems. I don’t put too many wipes into it at once. I mix vegetable glycerine with distilled water (I boil it since we have a ton of chlorine in the water here), aloe vera, calendula oil, witch hazel extract and a couple drops of tea tree oil. Even if I use very little tea tree oil, I smell it, and I think it keeps bad microbial build-up at bay.
    I sewed cute flannel wipes from on-sale flannel from Joanne’s, and also had some bamboo velour scraps from making fitted diapers, which I turned and topstitched with a printed flannel top side.

  5. Gabrielle November 8, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    I wanted to switch to cloth wipes too. Once you switch from disposable diapers, it just makes sense to stop purchasing disposable wipes too. I followed Lindsay’s directions for making them, and I love the way they came out.

    I sent out an e-mail to friends who were finished having babies and were passing their baby clothes down to others. I asked them for any flannel receiving blankets they might have. I ended up with a ton of fabric. Some friends had adorable scrap fabric that they no longer needed for sewing projects, and others had several receiving blankets. I even cut up an old pink baby towel (a hand-me-down) to make double sided wipes, with one pink flowered flannel side and one pink terrycloth side. So cute! And you can’t get cheaper than free!

  6. Katie Kauffman October 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    Lindsay…quick question. Do you still wash the wipes that have castile soap on them in the same load as your cloth diapers? Will the castile soap affect the absorbency of the cloth diapers? Just invested in a bunch of Happy Heinys and don’t want to take a chance. But seems like the easiest thing would be to throw everything in together. Thanks for your input!

    • Lindsay October 29, 2009 at 9:11 am #

      Honestly, I rarely use soap for my cloth wipes. I usually apply a little dab of hand soap onto my cloth wipes for a poopy diaper, but otherwise just use wet wipes. I do just throw it all in together. I don’t believe there is any risk of using castile soap for cloth diapers, but you may want to check with the manufacturer.

  7. Kelly October 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    How much soap/water due you use for your solution?

  8. Tiffany October 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    I was thinking about making a gallon of the solution (castile soap, water, and olive oil) so I could have it ready for teh next batch to pour over the wipes…would that solution last long enough for me to get through it? Does it get yucky? Or just when you store the wipes with the solution together?

    • Lindsay October 7, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

      It should store just fine if you keep it separate from the wipes. Only add as much as you need to the wet wipes otherwise it will get moldy and stinky.

  9. Lori Ann September 13, 2009 at 1:00 am #

    I’m so glad you’re doing this series! I’m pregnant now and considering my options. I want to do elimination communication but with part-time cloth diapering. I’m reading and bookmarking all these posts!

  10. Bethany September 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm #

    For 2 babies now, I’ve been using a solution of water with a splash of baby oil in a little squirt bottle. When we’re ready to use the wipes (flannel squares) I just squirt them down with the solution and wipe away. It wipes clean, leaves the baby soft, and smells great!

    Also, I had just bought a large flannel blanket at a garage sale and washed it. I don’t sew my squares, I’m just not that worried about my wipes I guess. After they get too frayed or thin, I just throw them out. I’ve been cutting on the same sheet for 2 going now on 3 babies! That was a dollar well spent!

    • Stephanie September 11, 2009 at 11:32 am #

      Great idea! I wouldn’t use baby oil, though. It’s primarily mineral oil, which is a byproduct of distilling gasoline from crude oil. See: http://www.thestork.biz/mineraloil.html. I’d use olive oil and maybe and essential oil, like lavender, instead.

  11. vashti September 10, 2009 at 7:22 am #

    I use an old fleece jacket cut up into squares. Soak in boiled water with 2 drops of lavender and one drop of camomile essential oil, then wring them out a bit and put into Huggies plastic containers. the oils help make baby smell good and is good for the skin.

  12. clbeyer September 9, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

    I’m loving my new cloth wipes. I collected t-shirts at garage sales in all kinds of fun, bright colors and cut them into 8×8 squares. The t-shirt material doesn’t fray (although it does curl a little with washings), so no edging is necessary. I put them all over the house (and in the car) for wiping noses, wiping the baby’s bottom, and even using as toilet paper sometimes — I just designate certain colors for specific things. It’s easy to wash toilet paper if you’re washing diapers anyway!

    • Lindsay September 9, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

      Yes, I made a bunch this way as well! Works great, but they tend not to hold their shape that well. They get kind of stretched out or all curly. I think I prefer the flannel ones better for their heavier fabric.

    • God's Dancing Child October 13, 2009 at 10:42 am #

      I don’t have any babies at the moment. My one and only is 7!! :D
      However, I made toilet paper alternative by sewing up old flannel shirt pieces to pieces of old towels – they work great – but they are the only load that requires hot water. ;)

  13. Emily @ Under$1000PerMonth September 9, 2009 at 7:18 am #

    We were given an overabundance of baby wash clothes and just use some of them as wipes. We don’t wipe for pee, just for poop.

  14. Kim September 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    I keep my solution (castile soap and water) in a wipes warmer. Then when I am ready to wipe baby’s bottom I dip my cloth wipe into the solution, squeeze out the excess water and wipe away! It’s especially nice to have the solution warm in the winter. I used to also put lavendar oil in my solution but baby #2 has super sensitive skin and it would makes her bottom rashy. I’ve been doing it this way for three years and it has worked great.

    • Shannon Hazleton September 9, 2009 at 10:57 am #

      (gasp) I love that idea, Kim. I’ve always wanted to try keeping my wipes damp in a container, but I live in southeast Texas, and humidity is a killer down here. So I’ve been afraid my wipes would have mold and mildew. But I never thought about just keeping the solution in the wipe warmer, and then just dipping the wipe in there. Lovely. Thanks!

      And thanks for this series, Lindsay. With #2 now potty training, I’m actually looking forward to cloth-diapering again when #3 arrives in February! :)

  15. Kate September 8, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    I just bought those super cheap cloths from Kmart. And some baby soap, and voila. I didn’t cloth diaper, but I didn’t like disposable wipes. And some people used paper towel—yikes! Talk about something washrough on your baby’s bottom!

    This works well for those of whose sewing skills stop at minor hemming, button and rip repairs lol.

  16. Krystal September 8, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    Do you keep them wet in a solution or just get them wet when you are ready to change a diaper? (I’m having baby #6 this month & ordered my first cloth diapers)

    • Lindsay September 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

      I keep them already damp in the container ready for the next diaper change.

      • Michelle October 6, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

        I bought a Lionheart warmer because I use cloth wipes. It was recommended that I use their pillows so I bought a couple of packages. They were supposed to be mildew-free, anti-bacterial, didn’t brown your wipes and all I had to do was rewet it every week, supposed to last 3 months. I’ve gone thru 2 or 3 pillows and it gets smelly, etc. Anyway, I’m wondering if I can leave any solution floating in any warmer or do they need to be the warmers that are made for disposable wipes? I didn’t like the castile soap for my skin and my daughter has eczema. I was thinking of making a solution from coconut oil and water since coconut oil is a lighter oil than olive or avocado. I’m just not sure on the ratio, any ideas?

      • Susan October 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

        So I’ve been using the cloth wipes in a container wet and rung out like you mentioned, but today found the ones at the bottom were moldy after only being in there a couple of days. Do you have a problem with that Lindsay? Also, how do you keep them warm (or do your kids care)?

        • Lindsay October 16, 2009 at 8:32 am #

          I would just keep a smaller amount of damp wipes in your container. Keep the rest dry next to it and get them damp when your first batch runs out. That is what we do.

  17. Annalea September 8, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    I love cloth wipes, too. I just had to be sure to rinse the soapy wipe solution out of them, otherwise I would get detergent build up in my diaper laundry.

  18. Ginny September 8, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    I was thinking the same thing as you today! I was just getting on the computer to look for some wipe solution recipes. I am going to try using baby wash rags for my wipes.

  19. Zsera September 8, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    Thank you for this post. I am pregnant with our third baby and plan to use cloth diapers and wipes for the first time. I will make sure to have a few dozen wipes made up before the baby is born.

  20. Aelinn September 8, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    We also love cloth wipes! Along with our single layer flannel wipes, we keep about four double-sided wipes–one layer of flannel, one layer of baby washcloth–for bigger messes. We also store ours dry, and just keep a squirt bottle full of water with a few drops of lavender oil (and maybe a couple drops of tea tree oil if our son has a rash.) One of the things I love about cloth diapering is how customizable it all is! Lots of options.

  21. Alicia Johnson September 8, 2009 at 7:50 am #

    Cloth wipes are the best. I agree–they are so much more durable and clean better than disposable wipes. I was going through a full sized box of wipes a week with my newborn, which is so expensive! I am so glad that there is this option.