Tops Day Nurseries are delighted to announce that we are providing our own baby wipes for nappy changing and face/hand wiping instead of using commercially bought wipes. This is because the baby wipes we have found on the market all contain one-use plastic, which is really bad for the environment, and we think should be banned. We have also found a number of irritants and chemicals in the commercially bought baby wipes which can aggravate delicate skin whereas more natural, organic products can do the same job without those, and they are cheaper!
The fabric that babywipes are made of is called spunlace. “Spunlace is a composite of different fibres and nearly always contains Polyester (PET) & Polypropylene (PP) as they are renowned for having good strength. The fibers are bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment, none of which are either woven or knitted. Other ingredients are usually viscose (made from wood pulp or bamboo pulp), wood pulp or cotton, the most common of which is PET+VISCOSE.” Spunlace will not biodegrade nor compost, potentially for hundreds of years, and therefore must not go down any toilets (it will block either the toilet or the sewage plant), should not go to landfill or into the water as it will last for hundreds of years, so they need to be incinerated with the nappies which is not a sustainable solution. 93% of sewer pipe blockages in the UK are caused by baby wipes, and overflows of sewage into rivers during floods cause piles of them in rivers as well, which then may drift into the sea, causing widespread pollution. This is the main reason why we have now stopped buying babywipes – until manufacturers start making it without plastic. Please note that we object to the lack of labelling on baby wipe packets, particularly those marked with only the liquid ingredients instead of the wipe material as well, and we have complained to the advertising authorities with just a polite acknowledgement as a response.
Several senior nursery staff with babies have been using home made baby wipes for years, and we have now piloted DIY baby wipes in our nurseries and have decided to do this permanently. They are not cheaper than trade bought baby wipes for nurseries, but they are cheaper than retail prices for parents.
Nursery/DIY made wipes:
- 1 roll of heavy duty paper towels (Note: I use Bounty for wipes. I don’t use them in my kitchen, but cheap paper towels do not work for wipes… I’ve tried)
- Rubbermaid #6 or #8 container- (Old wipes containers, plastic shoe box containers, old plastic coffee containers, empty gallon plastic ice cream buckets also work or even a clip-on box or Tupperware type box, and you could just use smaller boxes to transfer into for the car or handbag.)
- 1 3/4 cups boiled water (or distilled)-cooled but still warm – (can just use regular water if you use them in less than a week like we do)
- 1 Tablespoon of pure aloe vera
- 1 Tablespoon of pure Witch Hazel Extract
- 1 teaspoon of Liquid Castille Soap(we use Dr. Bronner’s)
- 2 capsules of Vitamin E (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil (optional
- Essential Oilsof choice (optional to use 6 drops each of orange or lavender, or tea tree – over 6 months only))
- Cut the roll of paper towels in half using a sharp knife (not serrated)
- If using a plastic shoe box or old wipe container, accordion fold the wipes into the container. If using a Rubbermaid #6 container (I highly recommend), place the wipes, cut side down in container.
- In bowl or jug mix the water, aloe, witch hazel, castille soap, GSE/Vitamin E and oil and stir.
- Add essential oils if desired and stir.
- Pour over paper towels in container and let absorb- this takes about 5-10 minutes.
- Flip the container over to make sure wipes are well soaked.
7 If using Rubbermaid container, pull the cardboard roll out from the inside This should also pull the innermost wipe out and start them for you. Depending on the brand of paper towels you use, you might have to experiment with the amount of water to get the right amount
Use as you would regular wipes, and smile, knowing you are not causing our beautiful children any future health problems, nor damaging the environment.
Note: If your child has extremely sensitive skin, you may need to leave out the essential oils or use calendula or chamomile. Do not be tempted to add tea tree oil for babies under 12 months.
Reusable Homemade Wipes
If you like the disposable wipes you make, you can make reusable ones also. Just cut up old t-shirts, t-towels, into 8×8 squares. fold them into old wipes containers and pour the same mixture (above) onto them or spray on each wipe with a spray bottle before using. These are even cheaper and saves using paper/trees. Not particularly practical for day nurseries as you need to keep them to individual children, and launder every day.