When I first started using cloth nappies, I was using disposable wipes with them. After a few weeks, my mum suggested using a face washer instead. That sounded simple enough, so I grabbed some face washers and felt like I was all set. Truth be told though, it wasn’t as simple as it sounded and there were definitely limitations with not having immediate access to handy, pre-moistened disposable wipes.
After a while though, I started to figure out that there was a trick to this whole reusable wipes gig. Actually, a few tricks.
If you’ve been thinking of making the transition from single-use to washable wipes, I’ve got 3 specific tips which I hope will help ease the transition for you.
My first baby was born in winter and perhaps the biggest issue I had in the beginning was getting access to warm water without wasting litres of it waiting to run through the lines and heat up. So I started keeping a Thermos next to the change table which I filled each morning with warm water. I used this to dampen the cloths used before each nappy change and used any that was left over at the end of the day to water an indoor plant. This made it so much easier to change nappies quickly and had the added benefit of conserving water.
The next hurdle I had was continuing to use them when out and about, rather than resorting back to disposables. My Mum suggested pre-dampening them and popping them in a plastic sandwich bag so they wouldn’t wet other stuff in my nappy bag. This was before the time of wet bags! It wasn’t long though before my cloth nappy journey led me to discover wet bags and can thoroughly recommend these as a supremely practical addition to the parenting journey.
We use a Teeny Tote to store wipes when out and about, plus a larger size for clothing and training pants. My kids are all out of nappies now, so I no long pre-dampen the wipes, but I still take them in a Teeny Tote for sticky fingers and faces and can wet them when we’re out if required.
In the beginning, I was just using face washers, but this wasn’t ideal. They worked ok, but I found they were really just too thick and bulky for getting into all the little crevices that need cleaning at nappy change time.
I invested in a few different packs of dedicated cloth nappy wipes over the following decade, but they too weren’t quite right. Some were tiny (not much bigger than a smart phone!), others were too thick, being made of 2 layers of fleece and difficult to really scrunch up.
In the end, we started playing with our own concept. I had some bamboo terry which I used to make a few different sizes and finally settled on a super-sized 25 x 25 cm as this is substantially larger than an adult hand (which is what you want when wiping poo from a baby’s bottom!). We also decided to go with two layers of a bamboo viscose/polyester blend as this is thick enough to have impact and hold plenty of moisture, but not too thick that you can’t clean properly. You can check them out HERE.
For the greatest success using cloth wipes and sticking with them, I definitely recommend choosing the right wipes, keeping an insulated flask with warm water at your change area and investing in a wet bag or two for out and about.