Wipes are one of the things I have gone “around and around” with since I started cloth diapering.
I started with disposable wipes. At the beginning of my cloth diapering journey, I was slightly overwhelmed and felt that using disposable wipes – as I had with my first baby – would just be easier. I felt overwhelmed by cloth diapers and cloth wipes just threatened to throw me into overload. So I gave myself a little break and went with disposable wipes at the beginning.
But then. Then came the problem of what to DO with the wipes. Exactly how to dispose of them when you are not disposing of the diaper. My habit/instinct was to put the dirty wipes on top of the dirty diaper, which I usually leave lying open on the changing table. Therein lies problem #1 with disposable wipes: how to gingerly pick them up out of the dirty diaper while covered in nastiness and still needing to find a place to throw them away.
I still had my Diaper Champ set up for the odd disposable diaper, so I just made an “eeew” face, stuffed the wipes as fast as I could into the hole, flipped it over and hoped for the best. Enter problem #2: the poor Diaper Champ, a device that was never intended to be a place to dispose of paper thin, wet wipes, was always getting stuck, and worse, the inside of the well was always covered in poo (it was breastmilk poo at that point, but still). Blech.
You’re guessing where this is going: It didn’t take me long to make the switch to cloth wipes.
As soon as I got my act together on the cloth diapers when my daughter was about 4 weeks, I realized cloth wipes would not be a big deal. I started with an old disposable wipes container that had a pop-top. I filled it with a stack of 16 cheapo baby washcloths folded in half (the kind without the piped edges because they lay flatter in the container). Then, I filled the container up with water covering the washcloths and added either 1) a few drops of California Baby baby wash and swirled it around, or 2) several sprays of the California Baby Diaper Area Wash. That number of wipes usually lasted me a couple days. And I don’t like to let them sit for longer than two days anyway to prevent bacteria growth (so only soak number of wipes you think you’ll use in two days).
Cloth wipes are like jelly to the cloth diaper peanut butter – they just work well together. When I was wiping up a mess, I no longer had to worry about accidently putting the disposable wipes in the washer with the cloth diapers (though it did happen a couple times and they actually come through in one piece – not a shredded mess as you might guess). I just piled stinky on top of stinky, rolled the whole thing into a ball of stinky and plopped it in the bag to wait for laundry day.
Now, I should mention that when baby starts solids and the real-deal poops begin, there is a little more finagling with the cloth wipes. Since the diaper should be rinsed and swirled to remove the solid waste, I usually try to wad up the dirty wipes into a ball with a clean washcloth exposed on the outside and then stuff that ball into the hanging diaper pail with the other dirty diapers before I go to take care of the diaper. But even that can get nasty come laundry day. Oh, and the cheap cloth wipes do need to be replaced every so often (going with a higher quality cloth wipe to begin with might solve that and would probably work out to the same cost overall).
Today, I don’t use very many wipes in a day, so I go back and forth between cloth and disposable wipes and use whatever I have available at that moment. But as I’ve learned, used wipes can be pretty offensive no matter which method you choose.
I will say that cloth wipes make me feel a heckuva lot better about the whole experience and I think my daughter agrees – I mean, who wouldn’t want to be wiped with a soothing, nice-smelling, soft washcloth to get rid of the nasties?