Thursday, May 25, 2006

Natural, Homemade Diaper Wipes

One day a couple months before BabyG was born I was driving down the road with a couple bunches of Chinese prefold diapers (which aren't really prefolded) that I'd picked up at our favorite used baby/kid store, Young and Restless. At a random red light I was thinking about how no matter what everybody else was saying, it was impossible for a baby to pop out of my body, and even more impossible for that baby to have a bottom that pooed and peed. Which is when it hit me that I had no idea what people who use cloth diapers do to wipe their babies' poo and pee from their sweet patooties. The ladies in the store hadn't mentioned anything. Nobody I knew who used cloth diapers had mentioned anything.

Fearing it was another case of an obvious answer that would make me look stupid if I asked friends, I jumped on the net and surfed around. People who use cloth diapers: 1) use disposable, expensive, toxic smelling diaper wipes that you get in the store; 2) use expensive, disposable natural baby store diaper wipes; 3)use homemade disposable, inexpensive wipes; 4) use homemade, super inexpensive nondisposable wipes; or 5) use leaves and flowers that they then throw in the compost pile since breastfed baby poop is organic.

Okay, not really on number five, but that IS what the camp counsellors told us to do in Girl Scouts, when we forgot tp, and it seems to me somebody has probably tried it on their baby. If they have, nobody has written about it online.

Since we're not into toxins, and are already washing our own diapers, I figured we may as well wash the diaper wipes. (People who don't, but make their own wipes get those blue towels from the mechanics, and soak them in their homemade baby wipe sauce.)

Thine Own Baby Wipes

Liquid Ingredients
1/2 c Aloe Vera Juice (soother)
15 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract (which kills bacteria)**
5 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil (or any flavor you like)
Enough boiling water to fill a thermos

Other Materials
2 or 3 receiving blankets you hate the most (or old t shirts, whatever)
1 Thermos
1 Rectangular casserole dish
1 Bowl

1. I cut all the receiving blankets into a pile of wipes that are bigger than a matchbook, but smaller than a piece of toast.
2. I pour all the liquids into my thermos
3.I place the thermos inside the casserole dish, with the little bowl under the spout. The bowl catches any spills, and the the casserole dish aids in this endeavor by keeping bowl and thermos close enough together.
4. I wait for BabyG to go potty in her potty (or, if we miss, her diaper).
5. I grab a cloth wipe, squirt water on it, and then clean whatever needs cleaning.
6. I throw the wipe into the little bin we use to hold the diapers
7. Voila!

Grasshoppers: do not confuse the Grapefruit Seed Extract with Grapefruit Seed Essential Oils, as I once did. It won't protect your babies' bottoms from shit. Literally. In fact, the original recipe I read didn't mention adding any essential oils. I never would have known my mistake, but I shared the recipe with my friend Kay, who came to my house and kept saying, "Wow! Your wipes smell so good! How come my wipes don't smell so good?" Turns out Grapefruit Seed Extract doesn't smell.

When I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, I began using the Grapefruit Seed Extract, but I kept the essential oil in the recipe. BabyG and Kay's son C. have the sweetest smelling, bacteria-free, green stamped derriers in Texas.


Fiddler said...

We don't have any babies (the youngest of our children is 23) but, I'm thinking that this is a good model for bathroom wipes! Quick and efficient, environmentally friendly, smells good... not much else I could think of wanting in bathroom spiff up products...

MaGreen said...

You're a genius, fiddler! I think that is a brilliant idea. I guess you could also add the extract/oils to a lotion? Possiblities are endless.

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

Just wanted to tell you that I find your blog very, very resourceful!

I'm new to this "green parenting" thing, just starting to make the changeover, slowly but surely... not easy after I grew in a house where everything was cloroxed!

Thanks for the great info!!!


cake said...

kayte here checking in---i think this is one of the most brilliant green parenting ideas i have heard of. i find it to be MORE convenient than the store bought wipes, mostly because i don't have to go to the store. also, if you change the water every day, you can always have warm water for the baby's booty. the thermos keeps it warm all day. i don't use anything besides water (from the tap, hot/warm) and the GSE (grapefruit seed extract). the GSE prevents bacteria from growing in the water. i'd like to add the aloe, but i just haven't purchased any yet. anyway, it works great. thanks for sharing this with me, and everyone else!

Beanie Baby said...

I've been reading for a few days, and thought I'd delurk to say that when we used cloth diapers, I just used warm water on plain baby washcloths--worked great, very easy. Though I'm sure it didn't smell as good.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything wrong with just toilet paper? I'm doing EC, and I hold my 2 month old over the toilet and then use toilet paper to clean her up. And I must say, there isn't much to clean when it all goes into the toilet compared to when it ends up in the diaper.

GreenDaddy said...

We actually use toilet paper frequently now. I think you're right. Once you and your baby have EC going, the wipes aren't very important. We wrote this post when BabyG still had regular misses.

Liz said...

Hi, I've been researching GSE and I'm unconvinced that it's a "natural" solution for wipes or anything else. It cured us of a thrush infection when my daughter was little, but further reading showed that most manufactures adulterate their GSE with commercial antifungals like triclosan, and that pure GSE itself has little ability to kill bugs. Just so you know!

Lulabelle said...

How long does this mixture last? Will it go bad within a few days if it's not stored in a thermos?

Emily and James said...

Hmmm...I wonder if you will see this since this post was done so long ago. I want to pass the baby wipes recipe onto the Austin Mamas yahoo list. Can I include a link to your blog? There are about 1000 subscribers to the AM list.
(friend of Keyte's from Houston, now currently living in Austin)

MaGreen said...

Sure, we'd love a link. I'm glad it's useful!


Jodi said...

I just put my concoction in a spray bottle and sprayed directly on my baby's butt (he loved it) and then wiped clean with a warm wet washcloth.

I used the following recipe:
1½ - 2 cups distilled water
¼ cup Aloe Vera gel
1 TBS Calendula oil
2 tsp. Baby Shampoo
2-3 drops tea tree oil
2-3 drops lavender oil

GreenDaddy said...

Jodi, your concoction and method sounds great. You might not want to put lavender in the mix, though, since it might mimic hormones like estrogen. There was a recent report about gynecomastia in boys who had high lavender exposure.

Shawnda said...

I know this is a very old post, but I just found it. I'm wondering what you think about your wipes for bathroom cleaner wipes (just countertops). I want my kiddos to start helping w/ chores like wiping down counters, but don't want them to use harsh chemicals! Would love to hear your thoughts for what would be best for this! thanks!

aliceatredeemer said...

Great and helpful post--other places on the web suggest using baby soap in the mix. Though I use Dr. Bronner's for bath time, I like the idea of not using soap more than I have to (drying, etc.). Y'all find your mixture works well w/o soap? Or oil?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you are notified if I leave an old comment here... but here goes. I found this site after using google to figure out how to make my own green wipes. I put my clothes in the solution and keep them wet in a container. Is there a reason you don't do this? It seems much more simple, but I'm thinking there must be a method to your thermos idea.

Thanks for the info!
Sarah Weseman

Anonymous said...

I meant to write "if I leave a comment on an old page" lol. sorry.

Sarah again

Anonymous said...

How much water do you add? You said you filled the thermos but I am not sure how many cups that is. Also do you just skirt your clothe with water? Could you just a spray bottle?

Anonymous said...

How much water do you add? You said that you filled a thermos with water, but I don't have a thermos. I was planning on using a squirt bottle. Do you just squirt your cloth with your thermos? Could you use a spray bottle instead? Does it also have to be boiling water or could it be lukewarm?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this brilliant idea! To be honest I've been trying to figure out a way to shell out the money for the 40-50 cloth wipes we need. Here all along I had what I needed just sitting there in my baby items I dislike storage box!

kyle said...

There always a debate and there is always a confusion as to which is better,but it depends...cloth is good if you can take the trouble of washing several times and keep them clean.
Industrial Supplies

Sonja said...

If you cannot make your own, a great natural, biodegradable alternative but which is disposable
are the Bum Boosa Bamboo Baby Wipes.

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