Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our latest science experiment - baby wipes

As if getting pregnant wasn't enough of science experiment, I had to keep going. I'm making my own wipes. Yes it does take slightly more effort to make your own (and when I say slightly more, I mean about 1 minute more) — but there are a few reasons for doing this.

1. I'm trying to move toward a more natural, chemical-reduced living
2. I haven't met a brand name wipe yet that agreed with Katen's bottom.

The two big scary chemicals found in baby wipes are propylene glycol and parabens. Propylene Glycol is a made from natural gas and is used as a humectant. Parabens are synthetic preservatives. Some research has indicated that there may be cancer correlation (certainly not causation which is an entirely different thing) and estrogen effects from these. So... better safe than sorry I always say. Honestly, if you don’t need to expose yourself or your kids to them, why should you?

So I've been trying to use more "natural" cleaners, soaps, etc. However, I also found it interesting that even natural varieties aren’t always the best option. Some research shows lavender and tea tree oil to have estrogenic properties. Ug! I kind of wonder why a baby wipe needs all of this stuff in it anyway. Most pediatricians will tell you that just warm water and a washcloth is a better alternative to wipes anyway because of baby’s sensitive skin.

So - with that said, I set out to make my own. The first batch seemed to go okay.

I bought Viva paper towels and tried sawing them in half with a bread knife. All that really did is crate confetti. Then I tried a very sharp chef's knife. That worked okay. I later got a great recommendation to just use an electric knife. Yeah why didn't I think of that? So I added my water, oil, and California Baby wash (chemical free) to the mix and placed them in a carefully selected air tight container. Seven days later.... they molded. GREAT! Now we're growing organic penicillin. (kidding) Next time I'm not using our gross tap water.

Back to the drawing board. I did a little extra research (can you tell I love to research? It's an obsession.) and now, I have a formula that I think is great and a container that works perfectly.

The Best Darn Homemade Baby Wipes Ever (too much?)

64 oz. Snapware Container
Viva Paper Towels
Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Mild Pure Castille Soap or Burt's Bees baby bubble bath
(You could use California Baby bodywash too as long as you watch out for tea tree oil and lavendar in their "calming" line.)
Burt’s Bees Apricot Baby Oil
(It's worthy of noting that you need to be careful with burts bees products if you have a raging lanolin allergy like I do. Don't find out the hard way. The oil does include lanolin. I've actually made two batches. One with and one without the oil in case baby or I have a reaction.)

1. Buy a Snapware Container (the clear plastic kind with a white snap lid). Found mine at Target. Wash out the container at first and in between uses with a mild soap or toss in the dish washer. The containers are #1 PET plastic, so they are recyclable almost anywhere and BPA Free. (dont' get me started)

2. Buy a big pack of Viva Paper Towels in the Big Roll size. Saw the roll of towels in half. This is the most time consuming part and will really depend on how sharp your knife is. Think of it as a quick arm workout. After the roll is completely in half, pinch the cardboard core at both ends and squeeze it together and wiggle it until you can pull the core out.

3. Fill the Snapware container with about 2 cups of boiled or purified water. (If it's not purified/boiled it will mold.) You may need more or less based on whether your wipes turn out a little too dry or wet. Add one or two tablespoons of the castille soap and about one tablespoon of the apricot oil. Shake it up to mix it.

4. Carefully drizzle a little of the soap, oil, and water mixture on your paper towel half roll to soften it and make it more flexible. If it is not moist enough, it will be super hard to get it into the container opening.

5. Push the paper towel half roll into the container keeping the center hole intact (where the core came from). It may get all bunched up, but you can straighten it out once it’s all in there. Turn the container in all directions so the water mixture soaks in completely.

6. Pull the wipes from the center and you will have pop-up wipes with no chemicals in a sealed container with an easy to open lid (that only takes one hand to open)! Put some in a ziploc bag or reusable wipe container when you travel.

That's it. I get kind of a kick out of using my own wipes. I guess that's the most joy one can get from changing diapers, right?


  1. This is a great idea. Sounds easy enough. Couldn't you just use antibacterial hand wash to keep them from molding?

  2. Antibacterial hand wash is really too harsh for sensitive bottoms. You also do need to keep your "good bacterias" in the diaper area. Good thinking though!


Let us know what's on your mind. We'll allow anonymous comments as long as people use it appropriately.

Comment Policy:

Blog Archive