DIY cloth wipes

Although DH and I have been using cloth diapers with little Sydney was about 1 week old, it wasn’t until recently that I decided to try cloth wipes.  The main impetus for my recent forray into cloth wipes was my annoyance with constantly having to worry about running out of the disposable kind, and thus having to lend precious closet space to a huge stockpile of baby wipes.  Plus, I know cloth wipes are much greener.  I hesitated so long only because part of me was that I was worried cloth wipes wouldn’t work very well.  But I kept running across other cloth diapering families that loved them, and so I started seeing if I could perhaps find an easy way DIY some myself and give them a try.

After reading lots of suggestions online, I discovered that you really can make cloth wipes out of almost any type of fabric.  One suggestion I ran across was to use old cut-up t-shirts.  I often use old t-shirt scraps for cleaning around the house because after years of washing they are very soft.  Then it dawned on me that DH had for some time been meaning to go through his undershirts and get rid of the old ones he never wears anymore.  So, after I *kindly* reminded him he was due to purge his undershirt drawer, I had a huge stack of shirts ready to be made into cloth wipes.  (In case you think this sounds awfully familiar, yes, I previously pillaged DH’s underwear drawer for fabric when I made burp cloths.  Read that tutorial here!)

The great thing about knit t-shirt fabric is that it doesn’t fray, so you don’t have to  worry about creating seams which made this whole project super easy.  Honestly, if wanted to keep it REALLY REALLY simple you could just cut up a t-shirt and use it as-is, but many of the cloth wipe tutorials I read suggested that for thinner fabrics like t-shirt fabric, it was best to make the wipes with two pieces of fabric so you had a little extra…insurance between your hand and what you’re wiping.  Enough said!

I actually had a great time with this easy project I wanted to share my very easy DIY “upcycled” undershirt-to-cloth-wipe experience here.  This is what my final product looks like (and the tutorial follows!):

What you’ll need:

  • 1 old t-shirt/undershirt for every 6 wipes you need (I made 18 out of 3 a men’s size S/M undershirts)
  • scissors
  • thread in a color that complements or contrasts with the color of the t-shirt (we did aqua thread to match the nursery)
  • sewing machine

Step 1:  Lay the t-shirt out flat.  Cut both layers of fabric from just beneath the armpit on one side straight across to just beneath the armpit on the other side. Note that your cuts do not have to be absolutely perfect unless an uneven edge will bother you.

Step 2: Cut off the bottom hem of the shirt just above the seam.

Step 3: Cut along folded edge on either side of the shirt.  You will then have two separate rectangular pieces of fabric that are exactly the same size, stacked neatly one on top of the other, like this (I folded the edge down so you could see it is two layers thick):

Step 4: Cut into three pieces of equal width, following the longer edge.  Make sure you’re cutting through both layers of fabric.  You’ll then have three strips like this:

Step 5: Cut each strip in half (again, making sure you’re cutting through both layers).  You’ll then have the makings of your six wipes:

Step 6:  Using this method, each wipe will be approximately 8″x4″.

Step 7: Stitch using a zigzag stitch (or other stitch that you like that works well for knits) with about a 1/2″ seam allowance (again, this doesn’t need to be exact) around each side.

Step 8: Repeat for the remaining wipes.

Step 9: Enjoy your new adorable and easy cloth wipes by using them on your baby’s bottom!

One last pic to leave you with–as silly as it may be, it makes me happy that these match the nursery colors!

So far they’re working great.  We either use them dry or sprayed with distilled water, depending on the “situation” and are very pleased.  I may even be motivated to make a different set for cleaning around the house (with a different color thread, of course!).

Have you ever DIY-ed cloth wipes?  How did it go?  Let me know if you try this tutorial!

7 thoughts on “DIY cloth wipes

  1. great DIY.
    I haven’t ever made my own cloth wipes but i have used them!
    So much easier then having to worry with disposables!

  2. I’m now convinced I can make these instead of spending money on buying some! If all they are doing is going on a dirty butt I don’t mind what they look like. I’ve read on other sites they place them in an old disposable wipes container with a water solution for on the go messes

    • Wonderful! We’ve gone back and forth about these since I made the cloth wipes. Our daughter has very sensitive skin, and even though the old t-shirts are very soft, they sometimes weren’t soft enough for her comfort. I think having a good solution on them is the key, but we haven’t played around with DIY wipe formulas very much. If you end up making some and using them let me know how they turn out!

  3. And, if you do end up buying Pampers wipes – perhaps for travel – then you can wash those at least four times before they fall apart! That’s what we’ll do. We’ll wash those along with the cloth diapers. We keep a mason jar with 1 cup water and Tblsp vinegar. Works great!

  4. Pingback: Methyliso- what? 30 Alternatives To Avoid The Discovered Chemical Causing Baby Wipe Rashes | The Laotian Commotion

  5. Pingback: Cloth Diapers 101 | Tools 4 Parents

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