I've been through the baby and toddler stage with my own children four times. With each and every one of them I used baby wipes during nappy changes. I don't know what I assumed these disposable wipes were made from, but I certainly did not think it was mostly plastic!
My ignorance was shattered to pieces when I watched a BBC segment on these disposable wipes clogging pipes and polluting our oceans. The segment highlighted that 90% of wet wipes contain PLASTIC! Over 16 tonnes of these wet wipes were used in one city in 3 days! Even worse, plastics take hundreds of years to break down- meaning even our grandchildren will be dealing with the plastic from these wipes as they age.
I wanted to cry. Four babies, using these wipes regularly. How much did this activity alone contribute to the current state of our planet being overrun by single use plastics?
I will say although I used disposable wipes sometimes, it hasn't been full time. During my second pregnancy I was gifted some lovely cotton washable baby wipes which I used along with cloth nappies. I used them part time, mostly when at home when it was most convenient. I used these same wipes for my third and fourth born, increasing use with each child- but now a fire has been lit under my butt! I'm determined to use these cloth wipes as much as possible and use plant-derived wipes when necessary. Plant-derived brands are especially helpful during travel!
If you're interested in using washable cloth wipes, there's a couple easy methods.
Pre-moistened- This is when the wipes are already wet, submerged in a solution of your choosing. Many parents use plain water. Others add a drop or two of essential oils or soap. If you add either, be mindful of potential reactions or increased dryness of baby's delicate skin. Any container will do to hold the water and pre-wet wipes, which you can continually add more fluid + wipes to. Some brands come with this container- see below.
Wet as you go- the wipes remain dry until moistened just before use. I have a spray bottle (travel size plastic or glass) and I spray the wipes until wet enough or spray baby's bum directly. I even get giggles when I spray baby sometimes. This is an easy way to bring wipes with while on the go. No soaking required. You can also run the wipes until water before each change, but this doesn't sound convenient.
Like anything, you will find a routine that suits you! If you're wondering what cloth wipe brands are available, I have my favourites below! I have also included plant-based, plastic free disposable wipe brands below.