Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How I make my own cloth wipes and a review of the OXO Perfect Pull Wipe Dispenser

We made the decision to use cloth diapers long before I was even expecting our daughter, but the decision to use cloth wipes was only a matter of months before she was born. My mother had used washclothes as wipes with my younger siblings. I had seen cloth wipes for sale online. I don't know why I was so hesitant! I started comparing cloth wipes that are available for sale online. Based on reviews, I added Charlie Banana double-sided wipes to our baby registry. I didn't receive any cloth wipes as gifts and $12.99 for 10 wipes was too pricey for me to purchase! However, I did receive 16 flannel receiving blankets as baby shower gifts. My husband convinced me to cut them up and make my own flannel wipes. I chose to make single-layer wipes but you could easily double the pieces up to make double-layered wipes.

So, here's how I decided how big to cut the wipes: I folded the blanket up smaller and smaller until it looked about the right size to be a wipe. Then I unfolded it with that size in mind. I cut the blanket in half. Then I cut each half into four pieces, so I had 16 wipes from one blanket. It wasn't very scientific, but I didn't want to waste any of the blanket. They are just slightly smaller than commercial wipes. Then I used my sewing machine to quickly zig-zag the edges so that the flannel won't fray or ravel. If I had a serger, I would serge the edges.

Okay, so that sounds like a silly heading, but it really isn't. There are lots of different recipes for making your own wipe solution on the web and people use cloth wipes many different ways. When our daughter was very little, we lived in a house that had a sink conveniently located within reaching-distance from the changing area, so I kept the dry wipes folded in a neat pile (or thrown on a heap at the end of the changing pad) and ran them under warm water one at a time as needed.

When we moved to our new house, the changing area was in my daughter's bedroom, far from a sink, so our strategy had to change.
  • At first I tried keeping the pile of dry wipes on the changing table with a spray bottle of water mixed with a few drops of tea-tree-oil. It quickly became clear that this method wasn't making the wipes wet enough for our liking. I even tried using the spray directly on our daughter's bum and wiping her with a dry wipe. It wasn't working well.
  • Some people have succesfully stored their cloth wipes in re-used plastic wipe boxes from disposables. We tried that. I wet the wipes in a bowl of water with the littlest splash of tea-tree-oil and folded them into the old wipe box. Here's what happened: If the box was full it worked fine, just like disposables. When it got below half-full, things changed. I would grab the top wipe, and as I pulled it out through the hole in the top of the container, two or three other wipes would try to hitch a ride too and I would be standing there with one hand on my baby and one hand trying to shake the box hard enough to make it fall so I could get the wipes out. I thought that maybe it would work if the container were heavier. I didn't want a wipe warmer.  I started looking online for a heavier container that would be the right size.That's when I stumbled across the OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser on amazon.com. It was $19.99, which was expensive for a container, but it was sooooooo cool! I will explain review this wipes dispenser below in detail.

When the wipes come out of the dryer, I fold them like this, alternating directions. That way I always have an edge to grab through the hole in the weighted plate. Then I wet the entire stack in water with a few drops of tea-tree-oil (to keep them from mildewing) and squeeze the extra water out. Then I put the entire stack into the wipe dispenser and we are ready for business! When I am changing a diaper, the wipes are accessable with one hand, pre-dampened and ready to use! It is so easy! When clean and prepared wipes are ready to be added to the dispenser I put the fresh ones on the bottom, so that the older ones get cycled through and used first. I do keep a pack of disposable wipes in the diaper bag to use when we are away from home. We put the used disposable wipes right into the wetbag and eventually washer and dryer, just like the diapers. They come out of the dryer mostly intact and I throw them away. We tried the dry-wipes-and-spray-bottle method in the diaper bag for a while, but we felt that it was too much of a production for each diaper change.

This is a luxury wipes dispenser. Someone obviously put a great deal of thought into the design and engineering of the product, and it works like a dream! The cover can be opened with a light push to the front center of the cover. The cover then opens itself to reveal a silicone gasket around the cover, to keep the moisture in the box. Inside the container you then see a weighted plate that rests on the wipes. When you pull the top wipe up through the hole in the plate, the plate keeps the remaining wipes in place! Brilliant! As you use the wipes, the plate continues to rest on the wipes, so it works just as well for the last few wipes as it does for the first. There is a clear plastic window in the center of the front of the box, so you can see when the wipes are getting low, without opening the container. Simply push the cover down to close the container! The wipes dispenser has non-skid feet on the bottom, so it stays in place and doesn't scratch the changing table. The container itself is a sleek, sturdy, and shiny white plastic with a choice of four different accent colors: aqua, green, orange or pink.  I wanted the pink because it is such a pretty shade, but we bought green because my husband liked it and his opinion does matter to me!

I think we have a pretty good system at this point! I am always interested in what other people have figured out regarding diapers and wipes, so feel free to share your system!!

It is important to note that I am not in any way associated with the OXO company. I bought the product myself and my opinions are my own.


  1. Hi, Heidi.
    Thanks so much for this great review - we are planning (in January 2015) to begin using cloth wipes on our newborn and your review has successfully touched on many good points. I think I'm sold on this dispenser now!

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