Since it came to light that the majority of baby wipes are manufactured with up to 87% plastic , parents have been left shocked and confused; looking to better options for both the environment and their babies skin. I’ve taken up the challenge to find the best eco alternative for wet wipes.
Yes, there are biodegradable wipes available on the market. But, in actual fact, these are not much better due to the fact that for a product to biodegrade it needs to be in the right conditions. These are most certainly not found under tons and tons of plastic bin bags in landfill, I’m afraid.
So what is your best choice nowadays?
Cloth wipes are made from a material which can be washed and reused time and time again. A reusable wet wipe that can go with you everywhere and it’s even doable when travelling. Let’s look at how to go environmentally-friendly on your wipes.
What is a reusable baby wipe?
A perfect reusable baby wipe will be made from a cotton and bamboo mix which makes it hardwearing, soft on your babies skin and the right texture to clean a bum much more effectively than you’d ever get with a disposable wipe. Read on for how to master their use.
Where can I buy reusable wipes?
With reusable wipes becoming more and more popular, there are plenty of options coming to the market.
A popular brand choice for them is Cheeky Wipes, who not only sell a variety of choices but also make starter kits, sell plastic tubs to keep them in and essential oils to add a scent.
Some popular cloth nappy brands sell reusable wipes in their online shops now too, including Bambino Mio and Baba and Boo. Selling sites such as Amazon also have a large selection of reusable baby wipes (but do check reviews and also compare prices.)
DIY reusable wipes
If you don’t fancy spending too much money on reusable wipes, you can very easily make your own: Many parents choose flannels to use as wipes as they are already a good size and work effectively.
Alternatively, you could purchase your own choice of fabric or material and sew your own.
Going out with cloth wipes
Leaving the house with reusable wipes can seem daunting to those just starting out. It all comes down to personal choice on how you want to carry them with you. You can either
a.) take them out already wet in a tub,
b.) take them out already wet in a small wetbag or
c.) take them out dry and wet them as you go either using a water bottle or tap in the baby change room.
Which you opt for may all depend on where you are going, how long you will be out for, whether you are travelling a fair distance, what size bag you are taking and how many wipes you think you may need. Everyone has their favoured routine. For an entire day out I tend to take out 7-10 wipes – just take the time to find out what works for you (as I explain in more detail over on my blog)
Travelling with reusable baby wipes
And onto the question you came here for… travelling with reusable baby wipes. Now you know what they are, where to buy them and how to use them, I am sure you are wondering how you would travel with these, especially if you are going abroad.
Packing and using your cloth wipe for air travel
So first thing’s first– on the plane. Fill your diaper bag (here’s some more detail on diaper bags on a plane) or your baby changing grab bag with the nappies, wipes, changing mat and so in.
What you will need for your wipes is a plastic tub with a flip lid plus a wetbag. The wipes can already be wet and left inside this tub for the journey.
I would also pack a handful of dry wipes in case you run out, need extra for hands/faces and so on. It’s always good to be prepared, especially if you have a long flight.
Have a small bottle of water with you- 100ml max- in case you need to dampen your wipes a little more and don’t have running water at hand.
Once you have used a wipe, you simply pop it inside the wet bag which keeps all the moisture as well as smells plus any debris well-contained, protecting everything else inside your hand luggage.
How to wash your cloth wipes
The second area to think about is when you are there– the washing. If you have access to a washing machine, you will be fine to use reusable wipes full time whilst you are away. If you are staying in a hotel, you will need to check what washing facilities they have, whether they offer a laundry service or if there is a launderette nearby that you can use. I would highly recommend checking all of these things out prior to leaving for your holiday.
Washing your reusable baby wipes
If you have access to washing facilities, your wipes from the plane can go into the wash with reusable nappies (links to my personal blog)- if you use those- or with towels or anything else a little bulky. This will help your wipes to get effectively washed because the weight helps with the agitation inside the drum.
You will first want to put them onto a quick rinse cycle. This will remove the majority of the urine and faeces and this will be removed from the washing machine at the end of the cycle.
Then choose a good 40° or 60° wash cycle.
Add a full dose of washing powder, but no conditioner (as this will effect their absorbing properties) and leave the washing machine to do its job. Add vinegar instead of the fabric conditioner – this will neutralise the detergent.
You can add a drop or few of essential oils to the rinse cycle. (Just check a tiny bit on your baby’s skin to make sure he or she is not allergic to it.)
Don’t leave your dirty wipes longer than 24-48 hours to wash!
Hand washing your wipes is also an option, of course. (It’s advisable to have a pair of rubber gloves with you for this.)
Rinse the wipes under running water.
Plug a sink and wash in as hot water as your hands will take (gloves will help) with washing detergent.
Wring then out, then rinse in running water.
The best thing about reusable wipes is that you don’t have to wait for them to dry to use them again. You can simply take them straight from the machine, make them wetter with warm water and use immediately or store them in your tub.
They really do save you so much time and money!
Top tips for using reusable wipes on holiday
Do not overthink it! Use your reusable baby wipes the same as you do at home. Use either your tub or wet bag and take plenty out with you.
If you are travelling around a lot, think about how many wipes you use on average each day, total up how many you would need for the number of days you are away and then add around 5 more per day as an emergency stash! Always be over-prepared when it comes to babies and children.
If a wipe isn’t too dirty and you are running low, you can always give it a quick rinse with soap and water in a sink instead of giving it a full wash.
Wipes that are used on hands and faces can be used more than once unless they are extremely grubby.
You’ll work out a system that works for you. You can enjoy yourself but also still be as environmentally friendly as possible whilst away.
And coming home, just do exactly the same setup as you did travelling out. Once you start using reusable baby wipes you will quickly realise how simple it really is.
If you have any further questions in regards to travelling with reusable baby wipes drop us a comment below.
 “We use 11 billion wet wipes in the UK each year, up 30% since 2014. Millions are flushed down loos incorrectly and end up contributing to the vast fatburgs that clog up our sewers. The residents are most shocked, however, to discover that 90% of wet wipes contain plastic.” BBC Series, War on Plastic