Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home Made Cloth Wipes "Pattern"

      Since I've been in the mode of preparing for the baby, I thought I'd share some things that I do for my babies arrival. I've been one to use cloth diapers for all of my babies, and one of the things that grosses me out is to have to pick out disposable wipes from the cloth diapers. So while my first two were in cloth I came up with a simple wipe "pattern". Really its just a series of folds of a one yard piece of flannel material, which is then zig zagged around the edges to prevent fraying. If anything I promote frugality, but whats more is I love combining it with simplicity. I've seen some wipe styles with flannel on one side and toweling on the other, or varying methods, but this is even simpler. I hadn't planned on the fact that my children liked the wipes so well, that during and after they were potty trained they refused to give up their flannel wipes. Not liking the thin and stick to your bottom toilet paper, my children refused to use it.
      Now I know that this might sound odd to many people, but as I also sew my own ladies monthly items, it occurred to me that the cloth might just be the ticket. Finding myself out of toilet paper and desperate, I had to use the children's wipes one day. Wow. Call me weird, gross crazy or whatever, but I found out why the children preferred them over the toilet paper- the flannel was SO MUCH softer and easier on a person than that store-bought stuff! I was hooked. So I bought my own yard of material and have been using cloth wipes for myself ever since (about 3 years going now). Throw them in the wash with the diapers and add a touch of bleach to each load and they are good as new. My husband- a stickler on bathroom propriety was forced to use them one day. And although he doesn't make it a constant habit, told me that they were so much easier on him than the toilet paper for certain "issues". So for good measure I picked up some more flannel and made him his own for emergency situations.
      So whether you choose cloth for yourself, your whole family, or just your baby you can save a lot of money (I about gagged the last time I went to buy my husband a large package of tp at Walmart and saw the price tag!), not to mention if you are a greenie, your impact on that whole issue. For the 1 yard of material ( anywhere from $1 to $3.50 a yard) I have designer wipes that last me about a year. So for our family that means for the price of one package of tp from Walmart I can have softer, prettier, better quality, more durable butt wipe than anyone I know for a whole year! The kids also love getting to pick out their own print every year.
      Hopefully these pictures are pretty straightforward and easy to understand.
 Some things to remember:
  • Edges do not have to be perfectly straight (no one brings a t-square to the bathroom).
  • Be careful not to cut too many layers at the same time as it forms a wrinkle on the inside of the fold which makes for jagged edges.
  • If you do get a jagged edge just even it up. We aren't looking for perfection, just uniform size and shape.
  • Backstitch the beginning and ending zigzag or run over the start of the zigzag as a way to secure the ends and keep them from coming out.
  • You may wash material before starting, but I usually don't. 

      Zigzagging around the edges are all that's left to do. If you have a child that is capable of using a sewing machine on their own, this is a good repetitious project they can help with. If you have any questions feel free to ask. If you'd like to see a clip of what the zigzagging looks like check out my new video where I use the zigzagging foot on my treadle strait-stitch Singer. If you want zip to the last few seconds to see the finished stack of zigzagged wipes.
      Hope this helps you get some wipes ready for baby or stashed away for when wipes are no longer available or affordable. Hey, who knows it may even save your own rear some day! ;-)



  1. Jamers, I love my cloth wipes, and the ones you made me are wonderful for facial tissue, but for bottoms we prefer double layer wipes, you could simply use 2 layers of your pre-cut wipes and sew together. It's easy then to figure out which ones are for the face and which ones are for the bum. (I wouldn't want to mix!)

  2. True- the ones I made my husband are double layered. As far as durability one will do, especially since the flannel is a bit thicker. You can wash the ones used for facial wipes in with your regular laundry- just like they did with hankies so long ago. Hmmm hankies...feel another project coming on... :-)

  3. Am I missing something? I don't mean to be gross but are you saying you use flannel wipes in place of toilet paper and baby wipes for using after you go to the bathroom? Are they wet? What do you do with them after they are used? I'm sure they are softer but what about your washer, does it get messy?

  4. I was sure that I would get a comment or two about it. Lol I guess that it is easier to accept when you have a slower progression into using cloth products. As I mentioned I also use cloth for my menses, and have for about 8 years. A severe reaction to store-bought products after my second son forced me to find an alternative. Also having used cloth on my children the idea of washing icky things in my washer wasn't so gross of an idea (if that's a proper way to put it). No I don't use them wet, and I put them in the diaper pail with the other diapers and wipes. I put the diapers through a cold pre-wash (any solids- like a table food fed baby or toddler makes- are disposed of in the potty) and rinsed out. Then in a warm wash I add soap and bleach following with a warm rinse with vinegar occasionally to strip the diaper. So no, my washer doesn't get messy as there are no solids in the diaper when it gets washed, and infant and breast-fed baby poo isn't formed.
    Also if you think about it - you would still wash a blood stain out of a shirt or pair of pants if you got cut, or mess out of underwear or pants if a child had an accident. It's not much different. My washer has never smelled or needed cleaning. I hope that answers your question!

  5. I'm new here and also new at attempting to lead a healthy frugal life style.
    3 weeks ago I decided to make my own toilet wipes after seeing the price double over night.
    I bought some towelling fabric which I cut to side and hemmed.
    Now in our ensuite I have an old cereal container filled with water and a few drops of Dr Bronners liquid soap. Once used I throw the wipes in there, ensuring the lid flap is secure, give it a quick swirl and hey presto come washing day the wipes are just about clean!. Of course I wash them properly in the washing machine but by soaking them in a soap solution it cuts down the washing time, there is no smell and nothing revolting to be seen - the soapy water really does wash them in the container

  6. I thought I was the only one in the world that used fabric in the bathroom!!! What a relief to see it here. In truth I use TP for the "brown" jobs but cloth for everything else. I bleach them in the wash and I can't tell you how much money we've saved!
    I'm looking forward to visiting this site alot!

  7. Well that is just awesome Gracey. I'm glad Im not alone either. Trust me when things come down to it, people will see its a much better option than an old catalog or leaves!

  8. I know this is an older post, but thank you for posting this tutorial! I figured it was probably just this easy... My challenge is just wrangling the sewing machine. A few years ago, I made myself a little batch of four flannel "monthly items" (complete with wings, with hand-sewn snaps and some inserts if needed) from a pattern I found online, and I'm still on the original batch, so naturally (no pun intended) when I got pregnant, I figured "Why not?" on cloth wipes. I'm considering maybe doing double-layered ones with flannel on one side and terry on the the other... We'll see what ends up working for us. :)

  9. Wonderful to see im not the only one using cloth wipes ... why pay for something when you have all that is needed in our own home ... smiles ..

  10. Why not pink them and skip that tedious zigzag edging?