I dare you: Pick up a pack of wipes at any baby store, and you are most likely to find ingredients listed on the back that most likely strike any of the following responses:
- What are these words? Do you think I can Wikipedia that?
- Oh yeah, I’ve heard of SLS… that’s what makes my shampoo so sudsy!
- This ingredients list is like a small book – and I’m not a huge fan of reading.
If you are like me, once you had that first reaction you decided to do some research just to learn that some of those unknown ingredients are toxic, or worse, carcinogenic. As a new mother, I do my very best to ensure that the products I use on my son are all natural, and contain no harsh ingredients; this includes any of those pesky parabens, phthalates, toxins, phenols, or any other risky chemical. When my son was first born, I had no idea just how many children’s product companies had items in their repertoire with known cancer-causing ingredients. When Kaden was 2 months old, I had that “aha” moment when I read the ingredients on the back of his wipes container – I did the research, and I didn’t like what I found. It boiled down to this: as much as I love the way Pampers Sensitive Wipes feel and clean, it isn’t worth rubbing my kid’s rear several times a day with harsh chemicals and preservatives that could ultimately do him harm.
I proceeded to do more research on other popular baby wipes brands. The general consensus was pretty much the same – if it wasn’t an ingredient that was a known carcinogen (such as Seventh Generation using Sodium Benzoate in their formula), there was some kind of synthetic preservative that could do damage to my son’s skin over time, or one that had little to no known testing and toxicology ratings. I was pretty fed up with what many of those “all-natural, organic”, baby companies claim, i.e. that they make their all-natural products in their certified organic factory and that I should trust their products on my child’s body. It just wasn’t all true, and I needed to make a smart change with my son’s wipes that would both clean him without any sensitivities, and that I could feel good about using on his sweet, baby skin.
Don’t get me wrong – not every baby brand out there sells toxic wipes. The Honest Company wipes are some that I would purchase, but given the price tag on them, it isn’t the most cost-effective option. My mom told me she simply used wash rags and water to clean us when we were wee little babes, but as much as I would love to go that natural, I still feel as though a poopy bottom needs some degree of cleansing… and also some sweet scents to off put the stank (babies are cute… but that ish is still poop). Ultimately, it made the most sense to make my own wipes so that I knew exactly what was going into their formulation – and exactly what was going on my son’s skin. In doing so, I’m saving over $200 each year on wipes as well as an infinite amount of guilt in knowing that the product isn’t harming my kid. After much research, the best “recipe” I found was through the Wellness Mama – I tweeked it slightly to make it more appropriate for my little man.
Here’s what you will need:
- 1 roll of heavy duty paper towels; FYI this recipe is for one half of the roll (I use Viva! paper towels – they are soft like cloth, but also are super strong. Cheap paper towels simply do not work for this project).
- Old Wipes Container (we use an old Huggies box) or Large Tupperware container.
- 1 ¾ cups boiled water – WARMED
- 1 tablespoon of pure Aloe Vera Oil
- 1 tablespoon pure Witch Hazel Extract
- 1 tablespoon Liquid Castille Soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Mild Baby Castille Soap)
- 10 drops Organic Grapefruit Peel Extract (NOT grapefruit SEED )
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 10 drops of an essential oil of your choice (I prefer organic Lavender)
- A serrated knife, electric carving knife, saw… whatever cutting device you choose.
How to Make the Wipes
- Cut the roll of paper towels in half (I use a sharp, serrated kitchen knife).
- Accordion fold one of the halves of paper towels into the container (if you want to try and fit these into an old Pampers or Huggies wipes container, try to fold the wipes even smaller than following the pre-cut edges of each paper towel.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the water, aloe, witch hazel, castille soap, grapefruit seed extract and oil. Stir to combine.
- Add essential oils if desired.
- Pour over paper towels and let absorb – about 5-10 minutes.
- Flip the container over to ensure all wipes are well saturated.
- Use on your babes sweet, soft skin without guilt!
When traveling, store wipes in a secure plastic bag. You could even make one half of the wipes for your home, and one half for your diaper bag – just be sure to check their moisture over time so that no mold grows… you want to make sure you are using these wipes in about 2-3 weeks time. Do not keep wipes in the sun.
NOTE: If your child has sensitive skin, you may want to substitute the essential oils for calendula.
If you are looking to save even more money, and to be environmentally friendly, you can also substitute the paper towels for cheap 8” x 8” wash rags (I use the really cheap Carter’s and Circo baby wash rags) or old receiving blankets you can cut up yourself. Follow the same instructions as above, or pour mixture into a spray bottle and spray as necessary on both the squares and baby’s bum (I actually carry around a small, travel-size spray bottle with extra wipe solution for added freshness when cleaning my son – imagine a “Butt Spray” you have made for yourself, if you will).
Either way you choose to go with these homemade wipes, you are doing both yourself and your children a service. I personally feel so much better each time I use these wipes on my son – just having the knowledge that there are no harsh chemicals or preservatives makes it all worth it. And they are so easy to use!
Lastly, for a little bit of added clarity, I did my own research into why the specific ingredients above are used in these wipes. I purchase most of my ingredients straight from Amazon. Here’s why they are so wonderful for your wonderful baby bum:
- Water – boiled – Obviously, this is the most important liquid you are going to be using to add moisture to your wipes. The reason I boil my water is to essentially distill it – This means ridding my tap water of any contaminants, non-organic, or impure ingredients, thus making it more preferable for my all-natural baby wipe solution.
- Organic, All-Natural Grapefruit [Peel] Extract – A truly all-natural grapefruit extract is antimicrobial and anti-fungal by nature with no added preservatives or parabens. We use HawaiiPharm Grapefruit Liquid Extract, Dried Peel Tincture, which is 100% all natural, gluten-free and made with only “organic or ethically sourced wild harvested material, organic alcohol, vegetable glycerin and crystal clear water”. Be cautious of Grapefruit Seed Extract, even if it is marked as being “all-natural”, as it has been known to contain unwanted preservatives and parabens, such as Tricolsan and Methylparaben (linked to cancer).
- Pure Aloe Vera– Aloe Vera is nutrient-rich – full of vitamins and minerals – that are great for baby’s skin. The most appealing characteristic of this super-oil is that it acts as a moisturizer, which helps keep your baby’s bum extra soft and smooth, and prevents chaffing or chapping, even with all that wiping (and pooping) being done. We use Dr. Adorable’s Pure Aloe Vera, Organic, Cold-Pressed Oil.
- Witch Hazel Extract – Acting as a natural astringent, witch hazel also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. I buy StarWest Botanicals.
- Pure Castille Soap – This ingredient isn’t necessary, but I feel as though a dirty pee or poop butt needs a bit of cleansing no matter what the circumstance. You can use whatever soaps you would like, even using baby’s bath shampoo or cleaner, but we use Dr. Bronner Mild “Baby” Castille Soap as it is non-gmo verified, and mild on baby’s skin. Plus, it doesn’t contain a scent, so it won’t clash with any of the essential oils you choose to add to your wipes.
- Pure, 100% Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – This is simply added nourishment to aid in keeping your child’s skin soft, and deterring any dry or flaky skin. Feel free to swap this for a different oil of your choice.
- Organic Lavender Essential Oil – In addition to simply being my fragrance of choice, lavender has also been known to help prevent, and also cure, diaper rash. I like Eden’s Garden Organic Lavender, 100% Pure Essential Oil. Use any oil scents you prefer, though. Some like orange, others like rose, others like to combine different smells – the possibilities are endless!
Side Note: I decorated my old Huggie’s Wipes Container with some pretty scrapbook paper and my favorite craft item of all time: Mod Podge. Easy peazy 🙂