My husband calls me a hippie. I did the whole homebirth by hypnosis thing, I'm a vegetarian (worse, a vegan for a year), and we've been using reusable diapers upon my insistence.
He may have a point.
I just can't see myself as a hippie, because I remember the city-dwelling, cigarettes, vodka and nightclubs me that I was as a teen and an undergrad. But, I guess I am at a minimum on the National Hippie Association's mailing list these days.
Tipping the scales in favour of my husband's argument, I've switched to reusable wipes. Yes, yes, the environment played a pretty good role in this decision. But there were some other factors too.
1) I was becoming increasingly concerned about what chemicals I was exposing my daughter to. We were buying the most granola of the disposable wipes that we could find, but they always felt chemical-y. I was also concerned about what pesticides and fertilizers were used to grow the cotton used to make the wipes, that would not need to be listed in the ingredients.
2) Farmer's ran a commercial warning of the dangers of lint fires. In all the excitement of keeping flailing feet away from a butt coated in poop, we were frequently throwing the disposable wipes into the laundry with the reusable diapers, thus sending them through a washing/drying cycle. The disposable wipes aren't designed for much other than disposing, so frequently disintegrated in the drier. This made me worry about how much lint was building up somewhere in the bowels of our drier.
3) Economics. Pretty much the same argument as given for reusable diapers, so I'll let Google fill in this one!
Off I went to make me some reusable wipes. If you want to really hit the economic gain, you can cut up old t-shirts, flannel sheets, or receiving blankets. However, we didn't really have any of these to spare, so I opted to buy reusable wipes from Amazon. After all, Amazon supplied me with the Bummis diapers that were far cheaper than other reusable diaper sets. I guess I could have bought old t-shirts from Goodwill, but who has the time?
I looked online for wipes recipes. Most called for a mixture of water, baby oil and baby soap. The suggestion was to make this up in a spray bottle and spritz individual wipes as needed.
Are you mental?
I have a newborn. Haute couture spritzed wipes are for people who have lots of free time on their hands. I folded 20 or so wipes into a tuperware container, dumped the mixture on them, and looked forward to the smug satisfaction that comes with doing hippie things like reusing baby wipes. All was well until the third day of using the wipes. During a change, I opened the tupperware wipes container, and the smell competed with the one in my daughter's diaper. Evidently, the recipe I was using did not afford me any antibacterial protection for my wipes.
I visited the hippie mecca of baby stores, Cradle in Northampton, and picked up a bottle of "MotherHerb Make Your Own Wipes Solution Concentrate" (basically a blend of Tea Tree and Lavender oils). It calls for 20 drops to a couple of cups of water, and does prevent anything from getting stinky. However, I didn't feel it had the same cleaning power than my previous mixture had. So, I have come up with my hybrid recipe.
My Reusable Wipes Recipe
To a flat sandwich tupperware, I add about 3 cups of water.
Then I squirt in about 2 tablespoons each of Johnson's Baby Oil and Johnson's baby bath.
I add 20 drops/1 ml of baby wipe solution.
I shut the container tightly, shake it about until all is mixed and the soap is bubbly.
I add 20-30 folded wipes slowly until all the mixture is absorbed, et voila, enough wipes to last about 3 days... and no stinkiness!