Calm down, everyone. I’m not pregnant. (cause that’s obviously what you were thinking when you read the title of this post… jay-kay, jay-kay.) 😛
It’ll be a couple more years til I’ll be using baby wipes for an actual infant. Well, human infant that is.
But when I started working with children professionally some years ago and became exposed to these handy, cleansing cloths — I came to appreciate their seemingly endless uses. Spill something gross on the floor that needs more than a paper towel? Baby wipe it. Eating messy food in the car and don’t want to grime up your interior with dirty hands? Baby wipe it. Woke up too late for a shower and realize you’re kinda smelly? Baby wipe it!
As great as it is to try to stick with washable, reusable cloths whenever possible, sometimes it’s just nice to have something you can toss when you’re done with it. I know — how totally non-Hippie of me. To be perfectly honest though, I kind of can’t imagine using washable baby wipes on an actual baby bottom, especially when you’re on-the-go — yikes. What’s next, reusable toilet paper for the big kids? I don’t know, I’m sure some people make them work, but I’m thinking I might have to draw the line somewhere.
However, the standard disposable baby wipe is not something any earth-lovin,’ chemical-hatin’ Hippie is really going to want to use either. Take a look at those ingredients:
Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, DMDM Hydantoin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Malic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Fragrance
Ironically, this ingredient list came from a Huggies brand product called, “Naturally Refreshing Cucumber and Green Tea Baby Wipes.”
Ah, yes. Gotta love that label candy. There’s green tea in there! And cucumber extract! And we said it was natural! Never you mind the horrendous list of toxic chemicals surrounding those gems on the list. The EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database rated this product as an 8 — on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the absolute most toxic! Seriously, have a look at what they had to say about it in this product’s report. Frightening.
So, since we clearly won’t be rubbing a cucumber-scented chemical cocktail all over our babies’ bums — or our own messiness — we definitely need an alternative. Sure, there are more naturally-made disposable wipes out there to buy, but they are often many times more expensive than the (already not cheap) standard kind. What’s a poor little Hippie to do?
Another important use for wipes occurred to me recently. I soon realized in my research for preparing to milk our dairy animals, that having an easy and effective way to clean the udder is key in the milking process. Baby wipes would do it. But I don’t want to rub that chlorine-and-chemical-filled crap all over the udder I’m going to be essentially drinking out of!
An experienced goat milk maid named Christa, who commented on The Prairie Homestead‘s very helpful milking equipment post had the perfect solution — she makes her own, with truly natural ingredients!
We’ve been raising dairy goats for 15 years(4H project run amuck). I do use disposable wipes, as we currently are milking 8 goats and a cow, and washing all those wash cloths and towels is overwhelming. However, I make my own wipes. I cut a roll of Bounty paper towels (the only brand that doesn’t fall apart) in half, and remove the core. In a plastic container that fits the half roll, I put 20 drops of Grapefruit seed extract, 8 drops of tea tree oil, 8 drops of lavender oil, 8 drops of dish soap, and 2 1/2 cups of hot water. I put in the half roll of paper towels, and after it has absorbed all the water, I pull the end of the first towel out of the center, and we’re ready to go. Using a separate towel for each animal is important to avoid spreading mastitis and skin infections. This formula is gentle and healing to the skin, but is also naturally cleansing and disinfectant.
How awesome is that?!
So, naturally, I had to try it.
I gathered my supplies:
- Grapefruit seed extract (already had that in the cupboard for curing my bug bites!)
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Non-antibacterial, natural dish soap
- Bounty paper towels, cut to size for the container you’ll use. (I already had some towels that were made from recycled paper and therefore a little greener, but I just decided to trust Christa’s advice that the Bounty towels were the right ones for the job. Probably much stronger.)
- Hot water (no need to buy that from Amazon — lol!)
- One container big enough to hold half (or in my case, a third) of a roll of paper towels — I repurposed a plastic tub that once held potato salad. (Really gotta start making that myself, by the way!)
Not gonna lie, cutting up the paper towel to fit my plastic container was definitely the hardest part. I would imagine if you had like an electronic bread knife — or, I dunno, a chainsaw — it would go much smoother.
Into the tub went my hot water, subsequent drops of oils, soap, and GSE as directed by Christa, and mutilated paper towel.
And just like that — homemade baby (and udder) wipes!
They smell amazing and they work great! And they’re so much cheaper and healthier than store-bought. Perfect!
Well, thank you so much, Christa for teaching us how to make these handy homemade wipes! I know I’ll be getting lots of use out of them.
What do you guys think? Would you try making your own baby wipes?
Sounds very cool…do you know how long they would last once made?
Also, I would probably adapt the recipe somewhat for our mini-jersey milkers…but the basic idea and recipe is awesome! Seems much easier than keeping up with washing all those udder rags!
Welcome to the wonder-full world of milking!
Well thank you so much! I’m super excited to taste our sheep’s milk for the first time. 🙂
That is a great question — I don’t know just yet since I only recently made my first roll of wipes, but so far over the last few days they have held up nicely! I would love it if Christa (the inventor of this recipe!) would find this post and give her input.
Lynne Gordon says
What a wonderful idea!
I will use H2O2 when I make this solution because I already know that it is a superior disinfectant and will not dry as soap does.
H2O2 also infuses the body with oxygen and this extra oxygen reverts to it’s gaseous state and the body is able to use it to keep organs, skin and mucous membranes healthy.
I don’t mean to sound like a commercial for oxygen. You don’t need me to tell you how important it is.
Thanks again for the great idea! I am tweeting this!
Wow! I really did not know that about H2O2 (confession: I googled it to make sure I knew what that stood for — lol!)! How much would you put into a solution like this? Are there other ways you like to use it to get those benefits? I recently heard of someone with a swimming pool that used H2O2 as an alternative to chlorine/pool chemicals. I bet that would be an ideal way to soak it up!
Thank you so much for your comment, Lynne! And for tweeting, yay! 🙂
I use the blue shop towels for udder wipes with homemade solutions on them. Also, a plastic Folgers coffee container is PERFECT for a half roll of paper towels.
Cutting the paper towel roll is much easier with a bread knife or a filet knife.
Hilarie Donahue says
I keep a small hack saw in my kitchen tools drawer. I think it would work best on the paper towels. This is a wonderful recipe, however being allergic to tea tree oil, I will replace it with clove oil, which in addition to being a mild topical anesthetic is also a reliable anti-viral agent.
i read that grapefruit seed is one of the ingredients that people should avoid!!! Stephanie from bubble and bee had written about it.
Does this work well for actual baby bottoms? Thanks!