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Low or No Wipes: Another urbanMamas Green Thing

I am diapering my third little person.  It took me a while to figure out how to cloth, but I eventually caught on an exclusively clothed my second and, now, my third.  Even before I converted to cloth diapers, though, I was very low wipe.  I grew up with my mum washing my bum, with almost every diaper change with soap and water at the sink.  It's just the way she did it.  Even into childhood, we had a system of washing our bottoms with soap and water.  My parents may still do it this way, even to this day, to wash their own bums.  Who doesn't love a bottom cleaned with lovely warm water?

With my little ones, I was never fond of the wipe.  Mostly because the wipes seems more scenting and less cleansing.  Even the unscented wipes didn't convince me that there was a cleansing going on.  In addition, the idea that I was adding one less wipe to the landfill was appealing.  To this day, I don't mind the hand-washing of the bum.  There is some ritual to the washing; I really quite like it.  Except...  when they start the solids.  Ewww!  My boy is eating up a storm now - sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, squash, and all the rest - and it shows (literally) in his dipe. 

So, I am rethinking my wiping ways.  Should I resume wipe usage to help tidy up that solid muck, stick to the handwashing ways, or perhaps implement another no-waste wipe method?  I have heard some mamas use resuable wipes: what is your system?

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I'll start! We used cloth wipes, mostly, with # 2 (our first was all disposable everything!). I was lucky to have the changing table in our large upstairs bathroom so I could often wet a cloth wipe in the sink by just leaning over. Usually one wet and one dry would do the trick. Honestly, I found it much more sensible to cloth-wipe while cloth-diping, just b/c then every little thing could go in the dipe bin rather than needing to sort trash from laundry. I remember reading about some folks who had a system of having some sort of thermos with dispenser by the changing table (if no running water nearby), fill that with warm water every a.m. then you have a way to wet wipes rather easily.
We still reverted to mostly disposable wipes when out and about, though...and disposable dipes for major travel. I just could not port that old poo around...

I might have gone no wipe, but our 1 bathroom house is quite tiny, with no counter space whatsoever, so that would have been a challenge.

I did cloth wipes and just washed them with the cloth diapers so it never felt like extra work. They were flannel (mama-made, bought at Milagros) so they were soft, yet durable, and took care of any solids. I kept just enough for 2 days worth of changes in an old disposable wipe plastic container, soaked in a little water with a little lavender Dr. Bronner's soap, to keep the bacteria down.

Now they're relegated to the rag bag and are good for wiping up small messes.

We cloth diaper and use cloth wipes kept in a wipes warmer. we LOVE the wipes warmer! our first is only 4mo old, but so far, this system works great for us!

We use reuseable wipes, 5"x5" squares of doubled flannel and have a spritz bottle to wet it with not only water but jojoba oil and tea tree oil. This is our first child but we've made all of his baby products and diapering items ourselves. We've been rash free so far and overall making and using our own products has been very rewarding.

We used cloth wipes. I kept a stack of them in the (one and only) bathroom near my bedroom, where diaper changing usually happened. When it was time to change a diaper, I made one or two wet with hot water (it would cool somewhat by wiping time), and after the diaper change, rinse and toss into a small bucket in a cabinet near the bathroom sink. Sometimes I would squirt a little Bac-Out in the bucket.

I did a little of both. As my son got older, he HATED being rinsed off (I usually did it in the bathtub) and that was motivation to use the toilet. He was completely toilet trained by 18 months except for naps and night. I defintly think running water, soap is for a cleaner bum. We also had very few diaper rashes doing this and cloth. Good luck!

I have fond memories of being heavily pregnant with my second, and tearing up an old flannel sheet with my then 3 yr old. We tore it into about 4 inch squares and used them just like that for wipes, and still use them for drippy noses, spills, sticky fingers... When the edges get too unraveled we just throw them out, but we still have many, nearly 4 yrs later.

When we were using cloth I used the 5 x 5 flannel wipes and bought a little "soap" cube (you could probably find them on etsy now). They make a solution that I would put in a tub with 5-10 wipes soaking, I have twins. You just wring one out and wipe. It was nearly as convenient as disposable wipes, they went in the same pail as my diapers, and were super soft. They also make good wash cloths for faces and hands now that the girls are older.

We used cloth diapers and wipes (still do, since underpants are still mostly part time), and I love the cloth wipes compared to disposable! The disposable wipes seem really ineffective when compared to a warm washcloth.

We used baby washcloths that were given to us and I picked up a really inexpensive package of washcloths at Ikea to fill in the gaps. When my boy was wee, we kept a thermal coffee pot with warm water in it on the changing table so that I didn't have to juggle a baby at the sink, but as he got older, it was very easy to simply get a fresh cloth wet with warm water and wipe away. I never felt that any kind of soap or wipe solution was necessary, but I know some folks really like to use more than just water. I do childcare for a friend of mine who washes and resuses her disposable wipes, but honestly, it takes a handful of those little buggers to do the job of one soft warm washcloth, and it's the same amount of laundry effort (plus the mixing of the solution she makes and they're sooooo cold!). Even if we hadn't used cloth diapers, I think I would have still opted for cloth wipes; I can't think of anything better.

We used cloth wipes, too. A friend made me a whole stack of double-thickness flannel washcloths and we used those. The bathroom was right across from the changing table, so we just wet the wipe in the sink, then tossed it in the diaper pail to wash with the cloth diapers. Very easy.

I use a spray bottle or peri-bottle with warm water (I fill it for each morning diaper change - after the boys (I have 2 in diapers) have been wearing a stinky wet one all night and then again when I know there's a poopy to be dealt with.) I used to make up my own fancy wipe potion, but now I just use warm water and my own homemade cloth wipes. http://secretmommy.blogspot.com

Go cloth wipes. When the baby was small, I kept a peri-bottle with water near the changing station along with a small bottle of baby soap diluted by half. Wet down two wipes, put a dot of soap on one, wipe with dry wipe if really messy, wipe with soap, wipe with "rinse" wipe. Throw all into the diaper bin. No wiping with urine only.

When poops became solid and/or more predictable, we put the wipes in a basket in the bathroom and I would just stop by the bathroom and wet/tiny bit of soap a couple down on the way to the changing table.

I made all of my flannel wipes, but about a year in a few of them had gone the way of who knows where. I replaced the missing ones with cut up old tshirts.

Jennifer-- do you just store the damp cloth wipes in the warmer? Have used the thermos method before, but was given a wipe warmer and that sounds really easy and cozy for baby.

We did a bit of cloth diapering but even when I failed to continue that throughout diapering, we continued with the cloth wipes. They just work so much better and more efficiently. We just used warm water.

I am VERY curious about your soap/water bum hand-washing method though--how did that work? Was this at a sink? bathtub? I'm picturing having to clean up poo off the faucet, splashes off the counter, mirror, toothbrushes I forgot to move, having to clean out the whole tub...how did you keep it contained? Didn't your kids wiggle around? I would LOVE to have a hand-held shower attachment, perhaps one that would stretch over the toilet would work.

We use Tidee Didee and just use a diaper, we get it wet in warm water at the sink before changing the diaper. We then just put the dirty diaper & wipe in the pale.
My son was sensitive to all the wipes and his bum is only happy with just a wet cloth.

I've also always done cloth wipes even when we did disposable diapers (daycare didn't do cloth, so it wasn't worth the investment); EXCEPT we had to turn to disposable wipes because of our disappointing HE Kenmore machine. The durn thing doesn't get poop out of the cloth wipes. Cloth wipes work better and the amount of disposable wipes would make me very uncomfortable, knowing I could be using cloth, and it would be expensive! Also I"ve heard those chemicals in the mainstream ones are not good to leave on your baby's skin.
Cloth wipes in a warmer sound nice. I wish I would have thought of that but I always thought the wipes warmers were silly and I heard they just baked the wipes and dried them out. But with cloth, then I wouldn't have to run the water until it's warm. Although at 4 months, I don't let it run quite so long.

I'm the opposite of no wipe I think...I love wipes!!! I use them to wipe hands, faces, spills in the car etc... I have stashes in the car, stroller, my purse etc. Strangely enough I don't particularly like disable wipes for diaper changes. My kiddo is two and we exclusively cloth diapered until about 17 months, now it is mostly disposable diapers. We use the wipes warmer and washable wipes. It is a great system for us, you do have to make sure you get a wipes warmer that opens all the way easily (they are really designed for the disposable wipes). I have the wipes that are more like thin washcloths, I don't love the flannel myself. They are awesome for dealing with poopy diapers. It has gotten harder to use the washable wipes as my daughter has hit toddler-hood. We change diapers all over the house now (not just at the changing station with the wipes warmer) and we use more disposable wipes, but I really prefer the washable ones.

I use the super cheap Gerber baby wash cloths (so soft!) for wipes and a spray bottle with a bit of baby shampoo and water. I spray the cloth, wipe her bum, and toss it in the pail with the cloth diapers. Depending on the mess, sometimes I spray her bum, too. For out and about I have a tiny spray bottle and some cloths in the diaper bag. The cloth wipes also come in handy for runny noses and whatever else, although I'm starting to use disposable wipes when we're out because they work better for us for cleaning sticky fingers. Anyway, the cloth wipes have worked well for us and our little girl is 14 months.

I use 5x5 flannel wipes that have been soaked in a wipe solution of 3 cups water, 2 TBLS baking soda, and a squirt of Dr. Bronner's unscented mild baby soap. The baking soda neutralizes the acidity of urine. Just mix up the solution in a bowl, dip in a batch of folded wipes, squeeze them out to however damp you prefer, and place a stack in a diaper warmer. I purchased my flannels on eBay 4 years ago. But homemade is even better! They last longer if the edges are surged. I wash mine along with the diapers.

My 8 month old enjoys playing with clean dry flannels as I'm changing her. And my 4 year old uses them as hankies and little doll blankets (the clean dry ones!).

My mom used to use a wash cloth and a warm bowl of water, wash out the bowl and wash cloth after each use with soapy hot water and put it back under the sink when she was done.

I have always used disposables but am considering switching now that I'm hearing about using the wipe warmer with flannels at home and the spray bottle out and about. Great ideas ladies, thanks.

Heres my spritzer solution:

-1/2 full of water
-1/4 witch hazel
-1/4 meadowfoam seed oil
-A few drops of lavendin or blue chamomile essential oil

I use this for sticky hands and faces when we are out, too! The oil - any emollient, highly absorbent oil would do - makes it .....luxurious.
And I cut my flannel wipes to the shape of the warmer, so they stack nicely in those flat huggies wipes boxes, and are really portable.

We only use disposable wipes when we're away from home. At home we use nothing more than cheap Ikea washcloths and warm water! The used washcloths get thrown in the diaper pail with the cloth diapers and washed at the same time. I think in my daughter's lifetime (she's 2 1/2 years old) we've only bought 2 packs of disposable wipes!

hd mom:

yes, we just wet the cloths (not dripping, but a little more than damp) & toss them in the warmer. we tried putting them in directly from the washing machine, but found they weren't quite wet enough for effective wiping. we have a very simple lifestyle, and have purchased only a few baby items, but the wipes warmer is one of our favorites!

The disposable wipes you get at Costco are all natural material. I've been using those and composting them.

I use cloth diapers (we're tidee didee subscribers) for the worst of it, but also have disposables handy.

The adults in our household do use the rinse with water method after switching to Toto toilets after a trip to Japan.

We use good ole' tap water. I hold the baby up against my body facing the sink with my forearm under her knees, and splash away over the sink. Any poop chunks that stuck to her bottom fall off just get tossed into the potty with the poop from the nappy. I have a stack of cloth wipes that we use for washcloths now. Wiping just seems like an extra unnecessary step to me.

I love our cloth wipes! I made them out of old flannel pants and white t-shirts while I was pregnant and we just wash them with our cloth diapers. We keep them in a wipes warmer (a splurge but I'm so glad we have it) with a little water mixed with either tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract.

cloth wipes are great, but toilet paper is even better. :) think about elimination communication for a truly green alternative!

I don't know about you guys, but I just get out my flute and the little hypnotized poo just coils out of her bum and slithers to the potty!
Good grief.

I'm with charming mama. Good grief. I am all for saving the environment, and more power to those who can make the no wipe solution work. Personally, rinsing a pooy bum into a sink where my kids will then wash their hands before eating lunch is just too much. (Do you all clean your sinks multiple times a day? What's the environmental impact of that?)

I guess I just try to minimize the amount of wipes I use and that's that. I do turn off lights, minimize water use, use all natural cleaners (vinegar/water for most things), but I just can't see washing pooy bums in the sink or bath each time. Doesn't that take a long time with a wiggly baby, too? I can't imagine doing that to my toddler. Poop would be everywhere, causing the need to clean more, etc.!

I'll stick with my wipes!.

Yep, cloth wipes and water for us too! I figure throwaway disposable wipes, however biodegradable, still consumed energy to make 'em.

We mostly cloth wipe, but lately, I've been using toilet paper to scrape off the majority of poo stuck on her and then using a wet cloth wipe and a dry wipe or sometimes more if it's really messy. If it's really, really messy, then we use a peribottle and wash her off into her potty. Hubby has sometimes had to practically give her a bath to get some of it off. We've considered adding a shower hose sprayer for situations like that.

Re: cleaning the sink. Hubby sometimes rinse the gDiaper liners in the sink, which I hate, but he does what he does. A good wipedown with soap and a rinse should be enough. Maybe add some mild bleachwater or whatever it is you use to disinfect (eg. vineagar) should be enough. For most people if they got poop on their hands, they'd wash with soap and call it done wouldn't they? Who disinfects their hands after handling poop?

I'm with the comments about the nastiness of poop in the sink -- I'm not a germ phobe, but the bathroom sink is very heavily used by our whole family, and it seems very likely that feces would be splashed and spread around the sink surfaces! Cloth wipes and a diaper pail seem much more hygenic to me.

I just started my daughter on the gbaby diapers and made my own cloth flannel wipes from old sheets. The wipes have been working fine dry. But after reading everyone's comments, it may be more comforting for the baby if they were wet! Makes sense, just hadnt run across that technique yet. By the way I LOVE gbaby diapers.

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