Everything You Need To Know About Using Reusable Wipes

reusable nappies and reusable wipes on a chest of drawers

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I feel that I have covered so much on cloth/reusable nappies but I haven’t gone into much detail about our reusable wipes. I have touched on them in my other posts but having just been inundated with questions about them via my Instastories I realised there was much more I needed to cover. So here is my opinion (because I think you have to work out what works best for you) on everything you need to know about using reusable wipes.

I am going to answer all of the questions I received and yes, these were all genuinely asked…

How Does It All Work?

Ok, so for starters I had a look around at what was available on the market and realised that I could save a lot of money by buying my bits separately as opposed to going down the route of well-known companies (i.e. cheeky wipes). I purchased my half cotton, half Bamboo wipes on Amazon and my wipes box on eBay. However, you can actually just use old clothing, flannels, old towels cut up etc. and make your own.

My wipes are just like flannels. They grip onto the skin and any dirt/poo/muck really well without moving it all around as I find disposable wipes do. And all I use on them is water. Yes, you can add a few drops of oil, such as Lavender if you want your baby’s bottom to smell a little fresher, but to be honest, I have found that just water does the job perfectly. This also means that he rarely gets nappy rash (only during teething) as there are absolutely no chemicals coming into contact with his skin.

I place the wipes in the box and run warm water over the top until they absorb it. I then tip it upside down and give them all a good squeeze to remove the excess. I don’t want them swimming in it, they just need to be damp enough for the job. At home, I will always run them back under the warm tap before I use them just so it is a much nicer experience for him (something you cannot do with disposables).

One wipe usually does the job. If he has a solid poo, one wipe will easily clean this up, then you can fold it over to do the rest of the areas. If it is a messier poo, I will use 2. I never have to use more than this. Once they are used they are placed into my nappy bin with all of his reusable nappies, ready for the next wash which I usually do every other day or so.

How Do You Go Out With Them?

I can fit around 7-8 wipes in the box so I fill this up and make them damp. I will then take a few more dry wipes out with me which can be used to dry his skin after wiping or can be used as extras in case I run out of what is in the box (this has never happened but I like to be prepared). Once they are used, they go into my wetbag with any used nappies. This prevents anything else in your change bag from becoming wet/damp/smelly. For more on this check out this post on going out and about with reusable wipes.

How Do You Cope With The Extra Washing?

This was the main question that came up and I really do understand the concern. Our lives are super busy, we have work, school runs, errands to run and plenty of other washing to do. As I mentioned above, I wash every other day or so. I don’t need to put a wash on every single day as I now have a reasonably sizeable stash of nappies and wipes which I have built up over the last 8 months since we made the swap. I also have wipes just for his bum and other smaller (and far prettier ones) for hands and his face. This means that I am aware of what I have left and helps me to keep on top of being organised.

The wipes dry very quickly, more quickly than the nappies and they could even probably be dried in an airing cupboard if you have space issues in your house. I dry mine in our spare bedroom on clothes driers, but if I am desperate for some I just cover our radiators! The other bonus is that you can use them straight out of the washing machine because you need them to be wet anyway! Drying them is actually just an option, isn’t it?

all in one cloth nappies plus wetbag, wipes and boosters

Doesn’t It Take Up Too Much Of Your Time?

Nope, not at all. The nappy bin lives in my kitchen (it’s ok it doesn’t smell, promise!) which means I am reminded to pop a wash on. I often come down in the morning and put them on their rinse cycle (22 minutes) whilst we have our brekkie and then put them straight onto wash afterwards. I can then go out, do what I need and know that the cycle will be complete when I return. All I have to do next is hang them up to dry. It’s not much work at all.

How Do You Wash Them?

I put all of my nappies and wipes on a rinse cycle. This washes away the waste and this is then taken away from the machine.

I then put them on a decent 40° wash which is just over 2 hours long on my machine. Only use powder, no fabric conditioner as this affects their absorbency.

If they need a better wash, I simply put them on a 60° instead and then every now and then I perform a strip wash to remove any detergent build-up which can lead to stinks and stains.

Isn’t Your Washing Machine Full of Sh*t?!

No, not at all. If your baby has a poo explosion, do you not put those soiled clothes in your machine? It’s no different, is it? I am not putting all of the waste in the machine. In the case of the nappies, I tip the majority down the toilet and flush it away. The reusable wipes are only taking away what is on the bum area anyway. The rinse cycle removes this and takes it away prior to washing. I then also clean my machine once a month with white vinegar and bicarb and descale it with citric acid. I expect my washing machine is much cleaner than most people’s!

Once you find a system that works for you and your household, you won’t think anything of it all. The extra washing doesn’t bother me, I stay on top of it with a few washes a week plus I find it all dries very quickly and easily. I think what stays with me is my passion for helping to make a positive change to our environment and our planet. I feel proud each time I use a reusable wipe, each time I put another wash on and every time I am stuffing my nappies. I know this change could be huge if more people did it because 500 years for nappies and over 100 years for wipes to decompose is horrifying to me. Just think, every single disposable nappy and wipe ever used is STILL sat in landfill. Scary.

Reusable wipes and nappies work brilliantly for us and I am really happy we made this change. Even if you only swapped from disposable to reusable wipes think of that difference you could make.

If you have any further questions please do leave me a comment. If you are thinking about making this simple change, you’ll be fine.

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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