I was – for a considerable time – a shameless and self-confessed baby wipe addict. Dirty hands? Wipe! A spill on the floor? Wipe! Kitchen cabinets looking less than spanking clean? Wipe!
In Europe alone, wet wipe production in 2015 was recorded at a staggering 2.32 million tonnes. Just imagine all that in our landfills, our sewers, and our seas!
While I was always careful not to flush any away, all of them ended up in our waste bin, considerably increasing landfill waste.
As aptly described by the Guardian, wipes are a ‘consumer luxury that chokes waterways and threatens wildlife’.
As described by any family, they’re also a money sucker – Natural Baby Life calculates the cost of baby wipes in the first year to be anywhere in the range of $120 to $547.
At the end of the day, the cost will depend on the brand you purchase and how frequently you use this stuff.
But, you may ask, is there an alternative to trusty and super convenient disposable baby wet wipes until your baby graduates from potty training?
You bet there is!
Let’s look into a more environmentally and budget-friendly approach to cleaning smelly bums and messy spills: cloth wipes!
Best Cloth Wipes for Babies – a Quick Look at Our Top 6 Recommendations
Note: When clicking on any of the below links, you’ll go to the product listing pages on Amazon, where you can read further information, see current prices and read customer reviews.
- Buttons Diapers Flannel Baby Reusable Wipes
- Babygoal Reusable Bamboo Baby Wipes
- OsoCozy Flannel Reusable Baby Wipes
- Baby Bits Wipes Solution
- Charlie Banana Reusable Organic Cotton Wipes
- GroVia Reusable Cloth Diapering Wipes
Best Cloth Wipes for Babies – a More Detailed Look at Our Top 6 Recommendations
In the following section, we’ll take a closer look into what we believe are the best cloth wipes of today, as well as what makes each of these options worthy of a consideration.
Buttons Diapers Flannel Baby Reusable Wipes
These cotton flannel baby wipes made by Buttons Diapers are 100% unbleached. There’s no harsh chemicals that you usually subject your baby to when using disposable wipes
With each package, you get 15 7.5×7.5 inch wipes. Two packages should easily last you two or three days between washes.
To err on the safe side, you can safely assume that each package of 15 will last you an entire day at least, and that’s assuming you change your baby’s diaper around 6 to 8 times a day and use 2 wipes per change.
So, erring on the safe side, that puts you at at least 2 days between washes if you get 2 packs.
For those of you who have and use a wipes container at home (such as the Ubbi wipes container), these wipes are perfectly compatible with that. Fold them, put them inside the container, and take them out one at a time like you would with disposables!
It should be noted, though, that if you’re specifically looking for thick cloth baby wipes, these might not be your best choice.
These are thin cloth wipes because they’re single layer, so if you’re used to dealing with exceptionally poopy diapers that your baby blesses you with, you’re going to need more than one wipe at once.
If you’re specifically looking for thin cloth wipes, though, then these could be perfect for you!
With all that being said, make no mistake about it that despite being thin, these are still absorbent enough to make it on our list of the best cloth wipes.
Last but not least, these aren’t just wipes – you can also perfectly use them as diaper liners, too.
Babygoal Reusable Bamboo Baby Wipes
These super soft bamboo saliva towels can be used for diapering purposes as well as baby bathtime.
One package contains 12 pieces, and the dimensions of each piece are 12.5 cm x 12.5 cm (4.92‘’ x 4.92‘’).
Even though they’re only 12.5 centimeters, don’t let this fool you into thinking they’re way too small. In fact, they’re good enough even for dealing with diaper blowouts. One should be all you need for a blowout, not two or three at once.
In fact, many parents find this is the perfect size for cloth wipes and that they don’t need anything much larger than that. You’ll especially love these if you find that regular disposable diapers are too big for your liking or your baby’s needs.
When you get them and see them at first, you’ll notice how small they look (especially when compared to disposable diapers you might be used to using), but you really don’t need huge towels to clean after your baby’s messes.
Instead of folding one huge towel and using different clean sides, just use multiple units from these. The price is great for doing that, anyways!
It should be said, though, that you need to be very careful regarding the size and read the product description closely, as many parents get confused into thinking it’s 12.5 inches, while it’s actually 12.5 centimeters.
You also get two layers, which is an excellent choice if having single layer cloth wipes isn’t enough for you or your baby’s needs. This makes them way more absorbent than regular single layer flannel, and they also dry faster than regular flannel wipes.
The two layer constitutes of 80% viscose from bamboo and 20% polyester.
If you’re looking for affordable cloth wipes to buy in bulk because you need plenty, the price on these is great and affordable. They’re more than worth the price, if you ask me.
Each set should last you a day before you have to give them a wash. So, if you buy 3 sets, that’s 3 days you can go without giving them a wash.
And when it’s time to get them cleaned, you can either put them in the washing machine with your other laundry, or hand wash them instead if you prefer to do it that way or it’s going to be a while before you have enough from all the other items to do laundry.
OsoCozy Flannel Reusable Baby Wipes
Available in both bleached and unbleached options, these super soft wipes on a baby’s gentle and delicate skin are made of 100% cotton flannel.
Each pack comes with 15 cloth wipes, and each wipe is eight-by-eight inches.
Each cloth wipe comes with a solid colored thread on the edges, too, which is a very nice addition if you’re steering away from all the other options out there that all look the same – plain and boring!
Right now, the three colors available on the edges are green, purple and red.
They come in a single layer of flannel, which is also perfect if you’re trying to stay away from the bulk of double layers, or you find that you don’t really need to use two or three disposable wipes at once to clean your little one’s messes.
There’s certainly nothing fancy or too overly complicated about these cloth wipes. If you’re looking for the most basic cloth wipes out there that get the job done just fine, then you’ve found yourself a very good choice.
The serving edge colors makes them super cute, and you can mix and match with the diaper bag you’re carrying at the time, but besides that, there’s not much else going on here with these. They’re super basic and they work – what more could one want?
They’re also super easy to wash with cloth diapers come laundry day.
One thing to note is that there are some concerns voiced that they tend to shrink with washes, and that they come out of dryers wrinkled, which means you might need to do some ironing.
This seems to be a hit or miss, though, and is definitely not everybody’s experience.
For what it’s worth, these are some of the more affordable cloth wipes you’ll come across. If you’re looking for something that’s proven to stand the test of time, not fray and fall apart, then you might want to put in a little more extra money and get something like the Grovia right from the get go.
Baby Bits Wipes Solution
This list of the best cloth baby wipes out there would not be complete without a mention of this top notch wipes solution that’s made from plant derived ingredients and essential oils.
It’s an excellent choice for those of you looking for cloth wipes made from 100% vegetarian ingredients. Not only great for the earth and the environment, but you also know for a fact that you’re using some of the best and most natural ingredients out there for a baby’s sensitive skin.
Not only that, but it’s very economical, too. One box of Baby Bits solution is enough for you to make 1,000 wipes! If you try it for yourself, you’ll realize that one box can last you up to a year (or possibly even more than that) if you don’t over-use it.
All you need to do is take one baby bit and dissolve it per cup of hot water in a spray bottle or wipes warmer, and you’ll have your solution ready to use.
Not only that, but it smells lovely too, which is a huge plus. Unlike other solutions out there, this has no unpleasant smell to it whatsoever, nor does it feel slimy to the touch. Much of this is thanks to the superior ingredients used in the manufacturing process, such as tea tree oil.
All in all, it’s super easy to prepare and use. All you have to do is warm up some water, dissolve a single cube inside, pour the solution inside a spray bottle when it’s done, and there you have it!
It’s a very powerful combination when used with wipe warmers. Soak your cloth wipes in the solution, take them out after a set period of time, squeeze them so you remove all the excess moisture, store the cloth wipes in your wipes warmer, and voila! See how good that feels on your baby’s tooshie.
A single cube will last you a fairly long time if you use it wisely in a spray bottle.
Charlie Banana Reusable Organic Cotton Wipes
These single-sided wipes consist of one layer of soft 100% organically-grown cotton yarn and are free from any perfume, chlorine or harmful chemicals. All of this makes them perfect for gentle baby skin.
As a matter of fact, they’re so gentle and super soft on a baby’s face to the extent that they can also be used to cool off children with fever.
They’re not just suitable for use on your baby for cleaning messes during diaper changes or wiping food spills, either! You can also put these cotton wipes to use for tasks of your own such as removing makeup.
Regarding thickness, they’re not too thick, which means they can easily fit in diaper warmers when folded properly.
For those of you on a tight budget and trying to save money on cloth wipes, these might not be the best choice. You can find more affordable options out there without looking around too much.
The price of each cloth wipe is especially something to take into consideration if you’re thinking about buying multiple packs.
To put this into perspective, cloth diapering parents will often need at least 50 cloth wipes to last them in between washes, so if you were to buy 5 packs of these that contain 10 cloth wipes each, make sure all of this is within your budget.
Also, and as of this writing, each wipe comes with a tag that you’ll need to take off on your own, or else it becomes annoying for both you and your baby and just gets in the way of everything. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s definitely a minor annoyance and something for the manufacturer to take into consideration with future versions.
GroVia Reusable Cloth Diapering Wipes
These reusable cloth diapering wipes are made of ultra soft baby cotton terry, and the division is 88% polyester to 12% cotton, to be precise.
They’re super soft to be used for diaper duty, and are also super soft for use on a baby’s face.
They’re also small enough to fit in wipe warmers, so you won’t have to worry about your baby being bothered by cold wipes coming in contact with their skin.
You can also fit them perfectly fine in wipe dispensers, such as the one from OXO or the Huggies plastic wipes container.
Each pack has 12 cloth wipes, and each wipe is 8 x 8 inches.
Not only are they machine washable, but they also hold up perfectly fine with washes.
As a matter of fact, if you’re looking for some of the most durable cloth wipes you could come across today, these definitely fit the bill.
Sure, they’re some of the more expensive cloth wipes out there, but you’re definitely getting what your pay for in them, there’s no doubt about that.
Durability wise, there’s no reason that these won’t still look and feel like new a year from now.
If you choose to go with some of the other cheaper cloth wipes out there, you could risk getting stuff that frays easily, retains nasty poop smells and stains, and aren’t as absorbent as these.
Regarding thickness, they’re thick enough, perfectly in between. They’re not too thick and not too thin.
For the nastiest of diaper blowouts, you’ll likely only need one to attend to the situation and clean up, two in the worst case scenarios. For all other diapering tasks, using only one at a time should be more than enough.
If you get 2 packs of these, which constitutes 24 cloth baby wipes, that should last you 3 days in between washes.
What Are Cloth Wipes?
An average family with a one year old can use anywhere between 7,300 to 9,125 wipes in just a year alone. That’s a whole lot of wipes, a whole lot of waste, and a whole lot of money being spent!
An alternative to disposable wet wipes are cloth wipes.
Made from a variety of materials, including cotton, velour, flannel, microfleece, and minky, cloth wipes are an economical and chemical-free option that’s perfect for daily use.
Once soiled, they can be easily washed with the rest of your diaper laundry (if you’re also using cloth diapers).
You can either go the DIY route and stitch some fabric into wipes yourself, or you can go down the more straightforward route by using handy pre-made wipes.
Purchasing ready-made wipes also ensures that the fabric is the absolute best that you can get and use for your little one, as well as soft stitching to prevent irritation.
The price-range for pre-made cloth wipes can vary greatly, though – as with all other baby gear, there are the cheap options and the more luxurious ones you could go with if you have the budget for those.
You don’t have to go with the more expensive options if you don’t want to spend as much money, though. You can perfectly find affordable options. The bottom line is: they all clean bottoms, regardless of price!
Cloth wipes are used alongside a solution to dampen the cloth, making cleaning up easier. You can opt for a pre-made solution – which usually comes as a spray – or make your own. Using water is also an option.
What Do Cloth Wipes Do?
Just like regular disposable baby wipes, cloth wipes are used to clean up soiled bums, and any other messes your child decides to make, regardless of how creative they can get.
They are as effective as disposable wipes, if not more effective. Fabric has a better ability of clinging on to dirt, making wiping bottoms a quicker and more efficient job.
The main difference between cloth wipes and disposable wipes is that cloth wipes can be reused, which results in a lower price tag down the line, as well as a more positive environmental impact.
Cloth wipes are also chemical free, unlike regular wipes and their often never-ending chemical list.
Because of all of this, cloth wipes are usually a better option for children with sensitive skin.
How Do I Use Cloth Wipes?
Using cloth wipes is simple: just grab one, spray it with water (or add water to it), and wipe away! You can also use a ready-made wipe solution or make your own if you’d prefer.
It’s best if the cloth wipe you’re using is damp, to prevent chafing. A wet cloth also does a much better job at cleaning up.
Many parents recommend leaving wipes at the ready close to your diaper changing area. A nappy with pee is easy to sort out, and cleaning up is also more straightforward.
If there’s poop, clean up as much as you can with the diaper itself, then use one or two damp cloths to clean up the rest.
Once soiled, the cloth wipe should be placed with the rest of your diaper laundry.
There are different options for wetting a cloth wipe, so you’re not stuck with just one method. Either run for a second under a faucet, or spray a cloth wipe solution directly on it or on your baby’s bottom.
Cloth wipe solutions are made out of a variety of safe ingredients, so you won’t have to worry about any sort of harmful chemicals. A solution with lavender, for instance, is anti-bacterial.
Another option for storing wipes ready for use is to up-cycle an empty disposable wipes container. Simply fold your cloth wipes inside and pour your preferred wipe solution over them. This comes in super handy when dealing with a wriggly toddler!
As noted by the AAP, though, not every diaper change requires the use of a wipe. Using wipes only for cleaning up poop will save you a considerable amount of time and laundry, so keep them for when you really need them!
How Do I Use Cloth Wipes When on the Go?
Once you get the hang of it, using cloth wipes while on the go doesn’t take much effort.
You can use cloth wipes on the go just as you do at home, by wetting them immediately prior to use. If you’re unsure about the availability of a handy sink, pack in a spray solution.
Otherwise, pre wet the cloths and store them in a container, where they’re ready for use whenever you need them.
Once soiled, store the cloth wipe together with the used diaper in a wet bag, until you manage to get back home and take proper care of them over there.
Why Should I Use Cloth Wipes for My Baby?
The benefits of using cloth wipes for your little one instead of disposable wipes are plenty:
If you feel you can’t keep up with all the expenses related to your baby, you’re not the only one! It’s a truth universally acknowledged that babies are expensive, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Going the reusable cloth wipes route will save you plenty of hard-earned money in the long-run, because you won’t have to buy anywhere near as many.
Disposable wipes are highly detrimental to the environment.
Considering the sheer number you’ll be using before your child grows into a less messy human, the environmental positives of switching to cloth wipes are great.
Ideal for Sensitive Skin
Plenty of off-the-shelf disposable wipes are marketed as being best for sensitive skin, but that’s far from the truth, unfortunately.
Truth is, nothing is as great for a baby’s sensitive skin as cloth baby wipes.
Disposable wipes have been linked to cases of skin irritation, diaper rash and even eczema. With cloth diapers, you can rest assured that there’s nothing nasty in close contact with your precious little one’s skin!
Added Hand Hygiene
Most of us have been there and done that – you grab a wet wipe and clear out the mess from your baby’s bum, only to feel something uncomfortably warm, as half of it ends up on your hand!
Again, I’ve been there and done that myself, and that’s not fun!
Disposable wet wipes are thin, and it’s super easy to compromise hand hygiene. Cloth wipes, on the other hand, are thicker, offering more protection from their last digested feed.
Cloth wipes can be used for other things apart from diaper changes. They’re great for use as bath wash cloths or for cleaning up messes, for instance.
Unlike other baby items, your child won’t outgrow cloth wipes; they’re one purchase that will keep on giving!
The Downsides of Cloth Wipes
Now that we’ve covered all the positives and advantages there are to using cloth wipes, there are a few potential drawbacks you should know about first, before making the commitment to go from disposable to cloth for good.
Using cloth wipes will require a degree of added effort. There is the preparation element involved, as well as the added laundry which, once a baby joins the family, knows no end!
That said, once you get into a good routine of using cloth wipes, the whole process will become second nature.
If you’re not too keen on going completely cold turkey on disposable wipes, you can always alternate use. At the end of the day, every little counts, and some is better than none!
What Makes a Great Cloth Wipe?
Congratulations on choosing cloth! Now, let’s help you out with the shopping part.
The four main elements you need to look out for when buying cloth wipes are size, material, chemical-use and amount you get.
Let’s delve a little deeper and discuss each of these factors on their own:
Cloth wipes come in various sizes, usually ranging from 5×5 inches to 10×10 inches.
There is no magic size that works for all babies and parents alike, however a cloth wipe in the 8-inch range should give you the necessary space for a good wipe, to fold and to repeat.
A cloth wipe that’s too small won’t necessarily save your hand from whatever surprise is in store, while a wipe that’s too large will be difficult to maneuver. So, try to strike a balance somewhere in between.
The 8-inch option also fits nicely in an upcycled wet wipes container, so that’s an added plus.
Fabric choice is a make or break when it comes to cloth wipes.
You want something that is gentle and safe on your little one’s skin, a material that provides a good clean up, and also washes well.
All things considered, cotton is the safest choice, with flannel wipes offering the best and gentlest clean up.
Other natural fabrics do the job just fine, too. For example, some parents swear by bamboo fabrics. Bamboo has the ability of really gripping poo, avoiding unnecessary smearing around.
At the end of the day, there’s no one option that’s best for all. You may wish to have a mix of different wipes made with different fabrics to see what suits your family best.
A little bit of trial and error to find what works best for you and your baby should be all you need to figure out what to stick with on the long run!
Natural, With No Chemicals
Is your baby’s skin super sensitive? Opt for organic or certified chemical-free cloth wipes to ensure that nothing bad comes into contact with their skin.
Cloth wipes come in diverse packs with varying amounts.
Generally speaking, you will need anything from 24 to 40 cloth wipes for a newborn, and this number decreases as your child gets older.
So, consider how many cloth wipes you’re getting for the price you’re paying.
If you’re still unsure if that specific brand will work for you, opt for one pack and add to it as you go along.
Taking the Plunge to Cloth Wipes
Parenting is a long journey, and one that will involve a considerable amount of trial and error along the way.
Deciding whether or not to take the cloth route is a substantial decision in itself.
Knowing what we know about all the negative environmental impact associated with using disposable wipes, as well as the rising costs of child rearing, make cloth wipes an excellent option to consider – not just for the sake of the environment we all share, but also for the sake of your little one’s gentle skin.
If you’re new to all of this, it’s definitely a lifestyle change! However, taking on a more natural and chemical-free approach to parenting definitely has its benefits.
Kudos to you for putting in the effort, and best of luck!