All Natural DIY Baby Wipes

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I said I was on an all-natural kick, and I wasn’t joking. After learning about the Johnson and Johnson scandals, where toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde were being used WITHOUT disclosure on the bottles in their baby bath products, I’ve taken to seriously reconsidering what goes in, on, or around my daughter.

A week or two after her birth, I got to thinking. You can’t put sunscreen on an infant because newborns have what is called a high body surface to volume ratio. What this means is that proportionately babies have more skin for the size of their bodies as compared to that of an adult. Sunscreens are made of chemicals. On an adult, the chemical exposure is relatively minimal because the body surface ratio is smaller than a baby. Therefore, babies get a higher “dose” of sunscreen than adults, and babies can literally overdose on the chemicals and have serious adverse reactions.

The thing is, the same is true of every product you put on your child’s skin. The FDA regulate chemicals based on their safety levels for ADULTS. So for instance, while parabens are considered “safe” up to a volume of 25%, putting that “safe” amount on an infant will literally poison a newborn.

So when you think about it, conventional baby wipes contain a variety of ingredients that are being absorbed into baby skin in far greater quantities than you’d expect – and in quantities that these huge companies legally are not required to disclose. And when you consider that the average baby wipe contains parabens, phthalates (artificial fragrance), PEG’s, propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol and a variety of other chemicals, it’s worth seriously reconsidering slathering this junk all over your babies bottom 14+ times a day.

According to the U.S. Health and Human Services and FDA Guidelines, here are some of the known risk factors of the various chemicals that are found in conventional baby wipes:

Parabens – Weakened estrogen production and breast tumors.

Phthalates – Early puberty in girls, reduced testosterone production in boys, genital defects and testicular cancer.

PEG’s – Uterine and breast cancers, leukemia and brain cancer.

Propylene Glycol – Cancer and reproductive dysfunction. Propylene glycol is also a known allergen and eye irritant and can also be toxic to your immune system.

Phenoxyethanol – Shut down of the central nervous system, vomiting and contact dermatitis. It has also been shown to cause reproductive problems, and the FDA has even issued warnings that use of products with this chemical could cause “respiratory distress or vomiting and diarrhea in infants”.

And so on and so on and so on.

Now, I’ve been using conventional wipes on Tessa for the past 4 weeks, waiting on my shipment of all natural and organic ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs. (Most of the ingredients are hard to find in their pure form, with no additives, at the local markets.) So I’m not saying that baby wipes are the devil. But I don’t intend to continue using them now that I have a better, safer and healthier alternative in my home. While she may not be absorbing enough of these chemicals to cause a noticeable reaction or long term harm, why put these chemicals on my baby AT ALL, when there is a better alternative? I firmly believe that my baby deserves the best.

Now, I trolled the interwebs for natural baby wipes recipes, and I finally decided to use a slightly tweaked version of these wipes from Wellness Mama. Here’s the skinny:

1 roll of heavy duty paper towels

Dispenser container

2 cups warm filtered water

1 tablespoon of pure aloe vera gel

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of liquid castile soap

2 vitamin E capsules

1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil

6 drops of lavender essential oil

6 drops of lemongrass essential oil

Cut a roll of heavy duty paper towels (like Bounty or some such) in half. You’ll be using one half of the roll for one batch of wipes. Pull out the center tube, and put your wipes in their container. Next, mix the ingredients together and gently swirl until slightly bubbly. (Note: If you don’t plan to use your wipes right away, use distilled water since tap water can potentially grow bacteria in your container after a couple months. But seriously. NOT using wipes right away? Hahahahahahaha….) Pour the mixture over your wipes and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. For REALLY absorbent towels you may need to mix up another half batch of the liquids. Anyhoo, after ten minutes, close your container to lock in moisture, and voila! Homemade, DIY, all natural baby wipes!

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Why these ingredients:

Pure Aloe Vera Gel – This acts as a moisturizer for babies bottom. It is gentle and suited to sensitive skin. It is also a natural anti-bacterial agent.

Apple Cider Vinegar – The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar effectively soften and soothes dry skin, fighting diaper rash. It also works as an astringent and an antibacterial, killing harmful bacteria and fighting yeast infections.

Liquid Castile Soap – An all-natural, oil-based soap that’s extremely gentle on the skin, cleanses thoroughly, and does not require rinsing.

Sweet Almond Oil – While the aloe vera gel works as a moisturizer, the sweet almond oil works as an emollient – it softens skin rather than hydrates it. It also acts as a humectant to help prevent the loss of moisture, effectively fighting diaper rash.

Vitamin E Capsules – Acts as a preservative. Vitamin E contains natural antioxidants which extend the life of oil based products. Just a few drops do the trick.

Lavender Essential Oil – Not only does the lavender oil add a nice scent to the wipes,but lavender oil is known for its skin healing properties and its use as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic and deodorant!

Lemongrass Essential Oil – Known for its analgesic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, bactericidal, deodorant and fungicidal properties.

In my opinion, these wipes work FAR BETTER than conventional wipes. After using them my hands feel SO SOFT. I seriously want to use these as hand and face wipes, they are that gentle and cleansing. I last changed Tessa’s diaper 2 hours ago, and my skin STILL feels clean, fresh and gently moisturized.

While making the baby wipes, I also made a small batch of “butt spray” to keep on my changing table for the really, uh, generous diapers of Tessa’s. (How is baby poo so.. sticky?!) It’s essentially:

1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon castile soap

1 vitamin E capsule

2 drops sweet orange oil

Again, the castile soap is cleansing and does not require rinsing, the vitamin E serves as a preservative, and the sweet orange essential oil drops are mainly to add fragrance, though the oil is a natural antiseptic and bactericidal. Just mix well, put in a spray bottle, and then spray directly onto babies bum for really sticky messes.

Not even ten minutes after whipping up a batch Tessa was kind enough to supply me with a test diaper to try out the effectiveness of my concoction. And let me tell you, it works like a charm. It cuts through poo quickly, cutting down the number of wipes used, so there’s no pushing around and spreading the mess. It also made cleaning her little lady parts free of wayward butt goop much easier.

I thought that going the DIY route would be a form of sacrifice, using sub-par product with superior ingredients. But in all honesty, the wipes and spray work BETTER than the store bought variety, and they are roughly the same cost, if not cheaper. Happy me, realizing that giving your baby the best is so EASY! ^_^

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Gingi Freeman
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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

15 thoughts on “All Natural DIY Baby Wipes

  • 10 October, 2013 at 11:52 pm
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    Awesome! We use home made cloth wipes. Our spray is warm water, coconut oil, tea tree oil (to prevent yeast infections, common with girls and with cloth diapers). Best thing is that they can get tossed right in the wet bag with the diapers. We also add in some sweet orange oil and lavender oil to help cut the smell of the tea tree oil. Good for you doing it the better way with your first kiddo. Third time’s the charm for me. 😛

    • 22 November, 2013 at 3:32 pm
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      Okay, so I’ve been thinking of switching to cloth wipes now (I know, this natural kick just won’t stop!!)… what kind of fabric do you use for yours?

      • 22 November, 2013 at 3:48 pm
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        I just cut up a couple of receiving blankets.

      • 22 November, 2013 at 5:11 pm
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        Gingi, I would think that any cotton fabric would work. You’d just have to prewash to make sure any ‘sizing’ they’ve doused it with was washed away so they’d be absorbent. When you come home, we can go to the thrift shop to find some receiving blankets and then cut them and bind the edges on my serger if you want! It sorta cracks me up that it’s taken nearly 40 years for some gals to go back to what was the norm when Tony was born…I can remember going to get a worn out wash rag and wetting it with warm water to change his diaper. His generation was the first to use baby wipes if I’m not mistaken. By the time I had you kids, baby wipes were a thing. Just curious, is there no ‘face wipe’ that’s got safe ingredients? I know that actual diaper changing wipes used to have a ‘keep away from eyes’ warning, but they also make ‘face and hands’ cleaning wipes. How’s it going to be when you travel? Also, how about those cleaning ‘cloths’ that are ultimately disposable? I was going to start using those for dryer sheets, using them with liquid fabric softener, the way I was doing (mostly just when I ran out of regular dryer sheets) with pieces of old towel. I have a package of them here, so you can see if they would work for the baby wipes. They are thin and absorbent, just don’t know how soft they would be on tender baby skin.

        • 23 December, 2013 at 1:44 am
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          We totally forgot to do that while I was in town…. UGH!

  • 11 October, 2013 at 4:09 am
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    I find it utterly terrifying that they put that crap in stuff for babies! It almost makes me think it was done purposely…seems the problems it would cause would sure make Margaret Sanger happy (although it might take a couple of generations to complete the work) Seriously, who would think that putting any of those ingredients together for babies would be a good idea?

    • 22 November, 2013 at 3:32 pm
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      Yeah, I don’t get it.. I mean, it can’t possibly be CHEAPER than other forms of preservatives for longer shelf life… right?!

  • 11 October, 2013 at 2:28 pm
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    I did not know anything about the Johnson and Johnson scandals or the chemicals they use. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’ve been using Huggies Natural Care wipes but I doubt they’re any better. I have most of these ingredients from when I made my own lotion. Do you know about how much vitamin E is in 2 capsules? I have a bottle and I’m not sure how much to measure. Also, how do you recommend cutting the paper towels in half?

    • 11 October, 2013 at 2:59 pm
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      Vitamin E capsules contain roughly 1/4 teaspoon. I had my husband cut the bounty towels in half using a freshly sharpened butcher knife, and I was surprised at how clean the cut was!

  • 12 November, 2013 at 6:50 pm
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    you’re awesome. thanks for this, even though my kids are grown (lol). i love all things natural and organic. just a thought on the paper towels…. please use 100% recycled, unbleached. then the recipe’s even more awesome 🙂

    • 22 November, 2013 at 3:33 pm
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      Good point! I’m trying to switch out family to natural, recycled and organic products as much as possible!

  • 18 December, 2013 at 3:11 am
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    I was aware of all this stuff that J&J has been putting in their products. How are they able to get away with this? It is terrifying. Thanks for showing us these great DIY yourself projects so we can avoid using J&J.

    • 18 December, 2013 at 3:11 pm
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      They get away with it because the FDA in America has a “trademark secret” clause. Anything that is under “perfumes” or “other flavors / scents” does not need to be fully disclosed. As a result, toxic ingredients can be hidden in those labels. If you EVER see “Perfumes”, “Flavors”, etc… don’t put it on, in or near your baby!!!

  • 15 February, 2016 at 9:52 am
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    Skin of babies is very soft. I am also a mother and I use tea tree oil wipes for my children’s.

  • 7 September, 2016 at 7:58 am
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    Wow! Homemade wipes? Brilliant! I’ll try this out. I personally use these ecowipes from https://store.joonya.com/au
    My baby doesn’t get any skin irritations from it. So you should also give it a try and they are affordable.

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