Cloth Baby Wipes and Warm Water Wipes
It’s no secret that baby wipes are wet wipes are seriously detrimental to the environment. Wet wipes have been identified as one of the most commonly found items of rubbish on beaches, prompting an information campaign on the proper disposal of baby wipes and wet wipes.
Baby wipes are also responsible for blocking thousands of Irish sewers a year. It’s hard to believe that people do actually flush baby wipes, but a huge amount obviously do. Then the little translucent white wipe looks like a tasty jellyfish to a variety of the oceans gorgeous inhabitants.
The European Commission identified wet wipes as one of the 10 single-use plastic items most frequently found on European coastal beaches. It has put forward proposals for labels on packaging to make consumers aware of what improper disposal can do to the environment. Because baby wipes appear to be paper-like, many people are actually very surprised that they contain plastic fibres.
The European Commission proposed a scheme that would see wet wipes producers contribute financially to the costs of fighting littering and awareness raising measures. Irish MEP Deirdre Clune welcomed the proposals and said even flushable wipes damaged the environment.
Not only are baby wipes very damaging to the environment, they are not so good for your baby either. Some well known brands of baby wipes are reportedly great at stripping stains and paints off walls, and this is what we use on our babies most delicate areas. Is it any wonder so many babies develop nappy rash? When preparing for your first baby, the maternity hospital will give you a list of what to get and what to bring. They will always state to use cotton wool and water only to clean your babies bum for the first couple of weeks. Wet cotton wool is a little bit fiddly when cleaning your babies bum. Too much water, and you have cotton wool particles floating off. It is also a single use product, which is land and labour intensive. The cotton has been grown (with pesticides) harvested, made into cotton wool, packed into plastic packaging, and shipped across the world... to be used just once and then binned.
There are some chemical free and water only baby wipes on the market which are more convenient to use that cotton wool and water, but many of those brands still contain plastic fibres in every wipe. What is the solution? Well water and cloth baby wipes are the answer.
Some people like to store their washable cloth wipes already wet so that they can have them ready to go at all times. To do this you simply need a suitable sized container with a lid like a small Tupperware container. Place the clean wipes in the container and you can add water only, or some people like to add a wipes cleansing solution. How do you make up a wipes solution? Most essential oils should never be used neat on the skin and should always be used with a carrier oil. Lavender oil and chamomile oil are some of the few exceptions that can actually be used directly on the skin. A wipes solution can be made up by mixing water and a few drops of Lavender Oil or Chamomile Oil. You can also add a drop or two of a natural baby body wash to emulsify the oils and allow it to mix better with the water. When the water wipes solution is mixed and ready, you can pour it over the cloth baby wipes in the container.
What about out and about? You can transfer some of the presoaked wipes into a water tight portable container, and a silicone pouch like a Stasher Bag is actually perfect for this.
For at home I actually prefer an easier method. I store my cloth baby wipes dry, and when I know I need to change my babies nappy, I run the dry wipe under the warm tap first. Then your baby gets cleaned with a warm water wipe.
How do you wash your cloth baby wipes? When removing your babies nappy, if they have done a solid poo that that’s easy peasy. Not much poo residue will be on the bum so just go ahead and clean with your cloth and water wipes. If your baby has done a big mushy poop (as happens often) you can use a non poo section of the nappy to wipe off the excess poo, then use the cloth and water wipes to remove any of the remaining poo. This is a method that should be used regardless if you are using disposable nappies and disposable wipes, or cloth nappies and cloth wipes. When washing your cloth baby wipes you can place them in a mesh laundry bag. You can do a cold rinse cycle first in your washing machine with no detergent, followed by a standard wash at 40 or 60 degrees with detergent. You can add clothing to this wash. As always when washing cloth nappies, cloth sanitary pads and cloth baby wipes, you never use fabric softener.
Go ahead and give it a try. You will very quickly realise that cloth baby wipes are actually much more efficient than using disposable baby wipes. A disposable baby wipe will sometimes glide over the poop and you end up having to use lots of them. You will usually only have to use one cloth baby wipe, and very rarely any more than two.
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