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Why use cloth baby wipes?
The reasons are the same as those for using cloth diapers. The cost for disposable wipes adds up, a useless expense when cloth wipes are cheap and can be used over and over again, year after year, baby after baby, for cleaning up messy toddlers, even in lieu of toilet paper. Disposable wipes may seem thin and without any significant volume, but in just one year, the residents of North America disposed of 83,000 tons of wipes (see Green Home for more information). That would be like filling 9,000 18-wheel semi-trailers which, when put bumper to bumper, would go on for 68 miles. They are also made almost completely of synthetic materials which do not biodegrade easily. So while your wipes are sitting in a landfill and not decomposing, the chemicals and human p&p (pee and poo) on them seep into the ground, contaminating it. While the p&p of herbivores, such a donkeys or pigeons, is frequently used as fertilizer and enriches soil, the p&p of carnivores (like most of us humans!) contain viruses which can contaminate the water supply or insects that can then retransmit it to humans and animals (see Diaper Pin). Human waste needs to be disposed of in toilets so it can be treated properly at sewer plants!
So we use wipes to clean off our babies’ delicate areas, their hands, even their faces, right? Well, take a package of disposable wipes and read the list of ingredients. They start off with the innocuous “Aqua,” but soon gets worse with “Panthenol, Bisabolol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Glycol, Ethtylhexyl Stearate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Phenoxyethanol…” and so on.
If you do a web search on these ingredients, you will find that some are irritants, others even potentially linked to cancer, and so on. In short, stuff that has no business being rubbed into a child’s soft, sensitive skin. It’s no surprise that babies using cloth diapers and wipes have considerably fewer problems with diaper rash and irritation.
Cucicucicoo wipes have absolutely nothing synthetic or chemical in them, just one layer of top-quality cotton flannel (1) and one layer of absorbent cotton terrycloth (2) sewn back-to-back, forming a 7″x7″ (17.5 x 17.5 cm) square. The terry side is great for cleaning up the main mess, after which you can fold it over and use the flannel side to wipe up anything left behind. While it’s rare to be able to clean up a big mess with just one flimsy disposable wipe, it’s rare to need to use more than one cucicucicoo wipe.
There are now also organic cucicucicoo wipes! They’re the same size, but constructed with organic cotton flannel (as seen above on the left) and organic cotton micro-terry (as seen above on the right), both natural white colored.
There are lots of ways. In the past I suggested a handmade solution for wipes with baby oil and shampoo, but after I discovered that these contain some pretty creepy ingredients! So now I suggest just using water from your faucet; it doesn’t cost anything, you don’t have to prepare anything, and it works great!
You can wet the wipes each time you need them, but I do it another way. I grab a handful of wipes and wet them under the faucet. I squeeze out excess water and put them inside a plastic disposable wipe container. If you don’t have one, you can also use a clean plastic ice cream container or any kitchen container that closes with a lid and won’t leak. And that’s it!And when you go out, no problem! Put a few moist wipes in a smaller disposable wipe container, a wet bag, or a sealable plastic bag…and you’re on your way!
With my second child I also started keeping a few dry wipes on hand to dry baby’s bum before putting on a new diaper or applying diaper cream.
How do I wash cucicucicoo wipes?
There are two ways to wash cloth wipes and diapers. I use the “dry pail” method, which means you put dirty wipes and diapers into a large plastic garbage can with locking top. When it’s full, you just dump the contents of the bucket into the washer and every two of three washings give the inside of the bucket a quick rinse and air dry. The other method is “wet pail,” in which you fill the bucket with water (and optionally baking soda) so the dirty articles stay wet until they are washed. I find the dry pail method eliminates odor better, is easier and wastes less water.
Wash the wipes with your diapers if you use them, but not with any other washables, at 60°C (warm/medium-hot), which is hot enough to kill bacteria without using too much energy. Don’t forget to add a pre-rinse cycle to rinse away most of the p&p. Do not use fabric softener, which reduces the fabric’s absorbency. You can machine dry them on warm, but air-drying them in the sun helps get rid of any stains. As with all cucicucicoo products, it is suggested that you wash them prior to use.
Using cloth wipes only takes a few minutes. Your child will love looking at the different colors and patterns (my daughter loves playing with her clean wipes), you won’t have harmed the environment or your child’s health and you’ll never have to worry about running out of wipes and having to run out to buy more!
How many cucicucicoo wipes should I have?
If you are cloth diapering, you will probably want 15-20 wipes. If you are not using cloth diapers, I suggest having a lot of wipes to maximize washing loads, at least 30, and then use the wet pail method described above, seeing as the dirty wipes will be sitting around a lot longer before getting washed. If in doubt, it’s always better to have too many than too few wipes. Cucicucicoo wipes are sold in sets of five.
For information on where to find cucicucicoo products, look here.
last revised october 16, 2012