The Beginnerís Guide to Reusable Cloth Wipes
12 September 2022
Thinking of making the switch to reusable cloth wipes? Our beginners guide explains everything you need to know — and why it’s the best decision you can make both in terms of saving money and protecting our planet. Reusable wipes are the original plastic free wipes, just wash and reuse over and over again.
Our beginners guide to reusable cloth wipes covers:
Cloth wipes are a reusable alternative to regular disposable baby wipes. Reusable cloth baby wipes can save families up to $50 a month! Washable Cheeky wipes are better for our sewers, the ocean and our planet - and they are gentler for babies skin.
Made from cotton, organic cotton, bamboo or microfiber, Cheeky wipes last for years and can be used not just on dirty nappies, but far beyond the nappy changing stage. They're great for hands and faces, spill clean ups at mealtimes and then be repurposed as cleaning clothes around the house. At Team Cheeky HQ we even use them as reusable toilet paper for grown up bums!
You can compare fabrics of reusable wipes here.
Washable cheeky wipes are one wipe wonders, they deal with poo easily, with one Cheeky wipe handling the same amount of poo as 3 or 4 disposable wipes. Clean wipes are big enough to cover your hand and thick enough to stop you ever getting dirty hands. You won't accidentally pull a stream out of the packet when you just want one and you won't run out and need to dash to the shops in the middle of the night!
"Recommend SO highly! These are amazing! The kit is super easy to use, the cheeky wipes are way better at cleaning my newborn baby than wipes and feel lovely too, plus I’ve become so aware of the awful amounts of waste we can create with disposable baby products so feels like the least we can do sustainability wise (and obvs a big cost saving over time using these too!)" Ford September '22 Trustpilot
It's easy to use cloth wipes, they can simply be soaked in plain water and refreshed daily. You can also store your reusable wipes dry and wet with water or wipes spray bottle as you need them.
Or, once your baby is over 6 weeks old you can add a drop of essential oil (make sure it is baby safe), a scoop of coconut oil, or babies body wash or wipes solution to your water and they will stay fresh for 2-3 days. Reusable cloth wipes are suitable for sensitive skin - you get to decide what you put on your babies skin.
When used, the reusable baby wipe can be soaked in water with tea tree oil for a day or so in the mucky box before washing. If you are using reusable nappies the wipes can be stored and washed along with your normal routine.
Away from home there is no need to reach for disposables, just pop a few eco friendly reusable wipes into a wetbag and take them along with you, ready to be unpacked into the mucky box or washing machine once home.
The Cheeky all in one kit contains everything you will need to be set up at home and away with -
- 25 lovely soft cloth baby wipes - 15 cm x 15 cm (terry and bamboo are suitable for hands, faces & bums, microfibre and bamboo plush are suitable for hands & faces only)
- 1 Fresh Wipes container – single clip for one-handed opening
- 1 Mucky Wipes container with removable mesh bag insert for washing, single clip for one-handed opening
- 1 Fresh Wipes waterproof out and about travel wet bag
- 1 Mucky Wipes waterproof out and about travel bag with removable mesh bag insert for washing
- 1 bottle of Lavender & Chamomile ‘Fresh Wipes’ essential oil blend
- 1 bottle of Tea Tree & Tea tree lemon ‘Mucky Wipes’ essential oil blend
You can read more about how to use cloth wipes here.
To store cloth wipes ready to use, you should -
- Fill your fresh box 3/4 full with water
- Add a few drops of essential oil if baby is over 6 weeks - lavender, mandarin or rose are our preference
- Add your stash of wipes
- Turn the wipes (not the box) over to ensure all are wet
- Drain excess water
- Squeeze the wipes out so they are damp
- Refresh the box in 2-3 days (daily if using water only) and wash any remaining wipes
- Wash the fresh box with hot soapy water ready to prepare again
Once wipes have been used, in the mucky box you should -
- Fill the tub 3/4 full with water and a few drops of tea tree oil - safe to use from birth as wipes will be washed
- Attach the mesh bag by the string to the four posts in the corners of the box
- Close the lid
- drop used wipes through the pop top
- Soak (no longer than 2-3 days)
- When full or when a wash is going on pull the mesh to one side and drain into the toilet
- Swing the mesh bags into the washing machine, no need to touch dirty wipes!
- Wash between 40 (rainbow) and 60 (white) in a 4/5 full machine alongside other washing. You can wash with cloth nappies too
- Use straight away but be sure to dry every few cycles
Soaking in cold water prevents any stains from forming. When you are away from home you can use our out and about bags for fresh and mucky wipes. Double wetbags allow you to store clean and dirty reusable wipes in one handy bag!
Keep essential oils away from exploring hands! Follow our safety guidance here.
To fold cloth wipes and make them “pop up” from a container or dispenser fold each one catching or overlapping with the next one - concertina style - then pull the first wipe through the pop up opening. However Cheeky wipes are the perfect size to stack and fit snugly inside our fresh box, no folding required, and they slot into our wetbags just folded in half.
To wash cloth wipes, you can simply pop them into your washing machine alongside your normal washing or cloth diapers. When you are ready to wash just swing the mesh bag into the drum, make sure the machine is 3/4 full - babies other washing or towels are great to add.
When it's time to put your wet wipes in the wash remember to leave the mesh bag open to make sure your wipes come out nice and clean - escaping gives them more agitation in the wash!
ALWAYS wash your wipes on a decent length of wash. A rapid wash is no good for soiled items! We find that our regular daily wash length which is about 60 minutes is fine, but longer is always good.
If you're using cloth baby wipes for bums, we recommend either washing at 60c (for white cotton terry wipes ONLY) and 40c (specifically for coloured wipes and with similar colours) or using a laundry additive (such as Dettol antibacterial laundry liquid / napisan / vanish) which is certified safe to use on all fabrics.
Once washed, the wipes can be put straight into the fresh box if needed but they will degrade more slowly if they are dried every couple of wash cycles.
Tumble drying also helps keep your wipes clean and fresh as you are heating your wipes beyond the temperature that bacteria can endure. It will also soften the baby wipes up! We do not recommend you use any bleach, not even a diluted solution on your wipes as it will damage them.
Line dry to remove lingering stains
You can find more guidance on how to wash cloth wipes here.
As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...
About the Author: Kirstin is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!
Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.