Why we use Cloth Wipes

Before we had Pippin we were lucky enough to be gifted absolutely tons of cloth nappies, and for a good while we used them with disposable baby wipes. I think a few people, even if they can get their head around using cloth nappies, find the idea of cloth baby wipes slightly off putting. I can tell you through experience, if you’re using cloth nappies already it is infinitely more disgusting to have to carry a poo-covered wipe to the bin bare handed, than it is to rinse the whole lot and stick it in the nappy bin.

Why choose cloth wipes?OIO

Aside from the above, there are a number of good reasons to go cloth.

  1. It saves you money. This one is obvious really. A pack of baby wipes can set you back anything from 55p to £2 plus. A newborn needs around twelve nappy changes per day, even if you only use two baby wipes per nappy change that’s twenty four wipes a day. That means a pack of sixty four will last you around two and a half days. So lets say you get through two packs of sixty four in a week, even at 55p per pack that’s £1.10 a week. £1.10 x 52 = £57.20. That’s a very conservative estimate too, because that’s not including all the face wipes, poo explosions and general wipe downs that are done with baby wipes. Not to mention that your cotton ones can be used with any subsequent children.
  2. In the two and a half years (on average) your baby is in nappies you will use a hell of a lot of wipes. A hell of a tot of non-biodegradable wipes that will happily sit in landfill for a hell of a lot longer than two and a half years. Just think of all the poo covered wipes sat in our landfills. Nice…
  3. You know what is on your wipes. You can use just water, or Essential Oils, but that is it. I’m looking at the ingredients for a packet of disposable baby wipes right now. Any idea what Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate is? Carbomer? Me neither.

Aren’t they expensive?

They can have a bit of a pricey initial outlay. If you buy a kit. But you don’t have to, there are plenty of tutorials to make your own, just look on Pinterest. Even if you do spend £30 up front for a kit, that’s less than the cost for a years worth of cheap disposables.

Aren’t they a plain to wash?

No. We use cloth already so any bum wipes get a quick rinse and go straight in our nappy bin. Then we put a nappy wash on every night or every other night.

Along with our cloth nappies we put them on a 40C wash with a pre-wash (full rinse and spin) and no fabric conditioners. We use Cheeky Wipes and you don’t even have to dry them before putting them back in your Fresh Wipes container, although they do advise you to dry them every so often to keep them in optimum condition.

Aren’t they, well, gross?

Not particularly, but then it depends how squeamish you are about poo! But it is no more so than emptying out a potty, or putting a post-poonami outfit in the wash. If you can deal with those scenarios then you can deal with cloth wipes! (and cloth nappies).

 

Why we use Cloth Nappies

I knew I wanted to use cloth nappies, environmentally and financially they made a lot of sense for our family. I was really lucky that my sister-in-law had previously used them for my nephew, and was both a wealth of knowledge and also gifted us pretty much all of the nappies we could possibly need (and I am eternally grateful for that!).

Why choose cloth nappies?

1. They have saved us an absolute fortune. Even more so obviously in our case because we didn’t have the original outlay. Apparently babies need about fifteen nappy changes in the newborn stage, so even if you bought fifteen nappies brand new (which would be around £250 pounds), that is it. From birth to potty that’s you done. No more nappies forever. That includes subsequent babies too. I’m not daft enough to think that £250 up front is easy to find for everyone, because it isn’t, but I’ve just added two new nappies to our stash because I’ve found a couple of our Totsbots fit less well on Pippin now, and they were £16 for two secondhand. There are so many online groups for buying secondhand nappies, and you’re not only saving yourself money by doing that you’re also being even more environmentally friendly.

2. On average a baby will be in nappies for two and a half years. Obviously you aren’t changing fifteen nappies a day for all that time, but I can’t even begin to do the maths on the number of nappies you’re going to get through. Apparently there are around eight million nappies thrown away in the UK every day, that’s a lot, and they aren’t going anywhere. These nappies aren’t biodegradable, their components just sit there in landfill – indefinitely. Your child’s nappies will out live you, it’s an unpleasant thought. There’s been a much touted myth that cloth nappies are just as bad for the environment as disposable. Despite being much discredited due to problems with the sample size, what I would say to you is that the environmental cost of cloth nappies can be reduced by altering detergent, drying methods etc., however the environmental cost of disposables remains the same.

3. You’ll reduce your plastic consumption. Of course this falls under the environmental benefits, but I think it deserves a point all of its own. We all know the problems that our excessive love of plastic is causing our planet, and that we need to do something to reduce it. Cloth can do that. Disposables are plastic, in plastic, in plastic. Then they come wrapped in some more plastic.

4. You won’t have smelly nappies hanging round for up to two weeks. Pippin has a poo, I flush the waste down the toilet, sluice it and then put it in the nappy bin. That evening or the next day it goes into the wash and job’s done. In my area our black bin collection has reduced to every two weeks, you can get an extra bin collection if you have two or more children in nappies, but that doesn’t apply for most of us. So in the summer heat you can have nappies in a giant plastic box getting heated up. I wouldn’t want to open it!

5. You know what makes up your nappies, and what’s going on them. Disposable nappies have chemical gels in them, much like the ones you get in disposable sanitary products, that’s what makes them absorbent. Reusable nappies have a waterproof PUL outer, and then a combination of fabric inners to make them absorbent. That’s it.

Aren’t they expensive?

It’s a difficult one to answer. They can be. They biggest problem is that the outlay for cloth nappies is pretty much all in one go, and buying the things you need for your new baby can get expensive anyway. However the cost overall will be cheaper, buying disposables just allows you to spread that cost out a little bit more.

There are ways to reduce the initial cost. Asking family and friends to gift you some can be a good one, lots of people buy packets of disposables for new parents – just point them in the direction of the reusables instead! You can buy them second hand which cuts the cost significantly.

Some local authority areas offer cloth nappy schemes; this might take the form as a voucher to use towards buying your supplies, or a cloth nappy starter set. There are also hire schemes that allow you to try before you buy.