Baby skin is much thinner than adult skin, and the formation of the many layers of their epidermis is incomplete.1 Therefore, any product applied to a baby’s skin can be easily absorbed. And babies can have more severe reactions to chemical substances on their skin, such as those found in store-bought baby wipes.2 If you have a baby with sensitive skin or prefer not to use chemicals on your sweet babe’s perfect bottom, it is pretty easy to make your own baby wipes.
Why I Decided to DIY Baby Wipes
My youngest daughter inherited my super sensitive skin. When she was a baby, we struggled to remedy her irritated skin and persistent yeast diaper rashes for the first few months of her life. (And, yes, she kept passing the fungal infection to my milk ducts and vice versa via breastfeeding. I cried a lot in frustration and from exhaustion.) Eventually, I discovered a milk protein allergy caused her digestive (and diaper) troubles. Even though I cut all dairy out of my diet for breastfeeding going forward, it took months for her skin to recover fully.
During that time, I realized that many commercial baby wipes (yes, even the ones marketed as “natural” or “sensitive”) contain preservatives and antibacterial ingredients like sodium citrate and sodium benzoate that seem harmless but can aggravate an already irritated bum.
Desperate to soothe instead of harm her healing bottom, I learned how to make my own baby wipes that were cost-effective, sustainable, and extra gentle on her irritated skin. Because I was already cloth diapering to some extent, I decided to make reusable baby wipes by filling a wipes warmer with wet (very damp but not soaking) bamboo baby washcloths like these from Amazon. You can also use paper towels in a Mason jar or plastic canister to make your own disposable baby wipes instead.
How to Make Your Own Baby Wipes
Just a few natural ingredients are all you need to make your own gentle wipes solution. The basic ingredient list looks like this:
- Distilled water (you can boil your own and let it cool if you don’t want to buy it)
- Liquid Castille soap
- Oil like olive or coconut (or aloe vera gel)
- Vitamin E oil
- Witch hazel extract, or skin-friendly essential oil like tea tree, calendula (extracted from marigolds), or lavender to make your wipes extra soothing to irritated skin
Here are a few baby wipes solution recipes to try:
Easy Baby Wipes Solution
- 1 ½ cups distilled water
- 2 tablespoons fractionated coconut, olive, grapeseed, or sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoons castile soap or baby wash
Antifungal Baby Wipes Solution
- ½ cup distilled water
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ¼ cup 100% aloe vera gel
- 5 drops of calendula essential oil
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of tea tree essential oil
Tea Tree and Lavender Baby Wipes Solution
- 1 ½ cups distilled water
- ⅛ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of baby shampoo
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 4 drops of lavender essential oil
Moisturizing Baby Wipes Solution
- 2 cups distilled water
- 1 tablespoon castile soap
- 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
- 1 teaspoon fractionated coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon witch hazel extract
- 1 tablespoon 100% aloe vera gel
How to Clean Your Wipes
When you launder your reusable baby wipes, always wash them in hot water to kill any nasty bacteria or yeast they may have picked up from your baby’s bum. You may also want to add a cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle as a natural disinfectant. Never use fabric softener or a scented detergent that could coat the baby washcloth wipes with unnecessary chemical residue.
There’s no need to dry the freshly laundered wipes since you’ll just wet them with your homemade wipes solution anyway. Make sure you have enough washcloths so you can keep one batch in the warmer and another set in the wash at all times, just like you would with cloth diapers. Rotate and repeat.
While You’re At It, Make Your Own Antifungal Ointment
While making baby wipes for my youngest daughter, I made my own soothing, antifungal diaper ointment. I combined tea tree, calendula, and lavender essential oils with coconut oil. I set each DIY ointment application with a top layer of thick commercial baby cream like Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. Then I sprinkled a bit of talc-free baby powder on top of the cream so it wouldn’t immediately rub off on her diaper. (I was careful not to use the baby powder directly on her skin because the sugar in cornstarch can feed a yeast infection diaper rash.) This process really helped with my daughter’s skin reactions.
Have you tried making your own baby wipes? What was your favorite baby wipe solution recipe?