Cloth Wipes 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

So you’re hooked on cloth diapers? Round out your natural diapering routine with cloth wipes. Here’s everything you need to know.

How to Use Cloth Wipes (Plus, a Recipe for Cloth Wipe Solution) post by Mama Natural

All in on cloth diapering? Once you’ve ditched the disposable diapers, it seems only natural to ditch the disposable wipes, too. And good news: Making the switch from disposable to reusable cloth wipes is even easier than switching to cloth diapers.

In this post, we’ll cover:

Best Cloth Wipes

If you’re short on time (or not handy with a sewing machine), you can buy pre-made wipes. Below are some of the best and most affordable options.

Best pre-made cloth wipes:

How to DIY Cloth Wipes

If you’d rather go the DIY route, you can:

  • Use baby wash cloths
  • Cut old articles of clothing, old swaddle clothes, or terry cloth towels into small square pieces

Tip: If you know how to sew, use a zig-zag stitch (or serger) to sew the edges of your squares to prevent fraying fabrics. If you’re ready to sew, grab your materials and watch this tutorial:

Get free updates on baby’s first year! – Free Updates on First Year [In-article]

Sign me up!

How to Make a Cloth Wipe Solution

Whether you make your own or buy them, you’ll need a solution to make cleaning up easier. Most pre-made solutions come in a convenient spray form: Simply spray your baby’s bottom and use the fabric wipes to clean the area. Solutions can also be used to soak wipes, so you already have wet wipes on hand—similar to the pre-packaged wipes you buy in the store.

You can technically use plain water as a solution, but using an actual wipe solution makes diaper changes:

  • More comfortable: Using a wipe solution prevents irritation from rubbing a dry cloth on baby’s delicate bottom
  • Easier to clean: The solution helps remove urine, as well as baby poop from your baby’s skin
  • Fresher: Ingredients like Castile soap ensure a good clean
  • More sanitary: Receive added antibacterial properties from essential oils (source)

Best store-bought cloth wipe solutions:

Best store-bought cloth wipe sprays:

Best DIY cloth wipe solution

Going the DIY route can be more economical, and it also gives you the freedom to control exactly what ingredients you’re using.

To make your own cloth wipes solution, you’ll need:

  • 4 oz of water
  • 1 teaspoon Castile soap
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • a few drops of lavender essential oil

To assemble as a spray:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake well before use.
  3. Store in dark, cool cabinet.

To create wet wipes:

  1. Place wipes into a container. (More on storage below!)
  2. Pour the solution directly over the wipes.
  3. Use within 3 days.

How to Store Cloth Wipes

When you purchase conventional wipes, they are already folded, soaked, and ready for duty… but what happens when you use your own wipes? Don’t worry. You’ve got plenty of options!

What mamas are doing:

  • “I place all of my dry cloth wipes in an old plastic wipes container. I take what I need as I go and use a cloth wipes spray.  When I’m done, I toss the wipes in my wet bag, and I’m good to go.” — Melinda from Indiana
  • “I lay the cloth wipes in an upcycled wipes container. Add the homemade wipe solution I make and then I make that batch every few days.” — Jill from Michigan
  • “I store them wet usually, but if I don’t have time to make a new batch of solution, I use dry wipes with a spray bottle of diaper spray.” — Liz from California

Another Option: Getting Rid of Wipes!

Yep, that sounds crazy! But for mamas in France, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Diapering lotion is a popular alternative to wipes, and the cool part is that it serves as a cleanser, diaper cream, and ointment all in one! We like Le Petite Creme because it’s only made from six ingredients, including olive oil and beeswax. To use diaper lotion, you squirt a little bit onto a flannel cloth or organic cotton pad and wipe your baby. The lotion cleanses your baby and protects your baby’s skin until the next diaper change.

Feeling crafty? You could also make a cute cloth wipe dispenser.


A note on storing wet wipes: Unless you’re using a preservative, you’ll need to make small batches and use your wipes within three days. If you don’t have time to make a new solution every few days, try using dry wipes with a spray.

Caring for Cloth Wipes

One main benefit of using cloth wipes is that they are reusable, which is good for the earth and for your wallet, but they do require a few extra steps to make sure that they stay clean.

If your baby is exclusively breastfed:

You don’t need to need worry too much about removing any solid waste, because breast milk baby poop is water-soluble, which means it dissolves in the water in your washing machine.

To get your wipes clean:

  • Wash them in one load of just wipes or mixed in with cloth diapers
  • If washing with your diapers, simply follow your normal cloth diaper wash routine

If your baby is bottle-fed or eats solid food:

You can still use cloth wipes, but you’ll just add one step to keep things sanitary.

To get your wipes clean: 

  • Discard solid waste
  • Rinse your wipes (hint: a hose sprayer makes this step easier!)
  • Wash in a wipes-only load or with cloth diapers

Benefits of Using Cloth Wipes

Though cloth diapers and wipes do take some effort and add more laundry to your queue, they have real benefits, including:

  • Better for sensitive skin: Skin irritations, rashes, and even eczema have been linked to preservatives in regular baby wipes. (source)
  • Better for the environment: Think about all those wipes being tossed out each day. If you used eight wipes per day for 24 months, that would be 5,840 wipes.
  • More cost-efficient: Here’s some more math for you. A brand-name bulk box of wipes costs about $15.99 for 624 wipes. That’s about $0.02 per wipe. Remember the 5,840 wipes you used in two years? That’s a whopping $149.65 just for wipes. And let’s face it, you might need a lot more than eight wipes per day!
  • Versatile: Even after potty training, you can use these wipes as part of family cloth (i.e. using cloth wipes instead of toilet paper) or in place of facial tissues.

More on Cloth Diapering

Do you already use cloth wipes? Or are you just starting your journey? We’ve got plenty of resources for you:

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 130,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

Comments are closed.

Hey Mama! Get my FREE baby updates every week!

  • Track baby’s development
  • Discover safe & natural remedies
  • Access free tools & resources


Not on Messenger? .