How to DIY Homemade Baby Wipes

If you can't find essentials like baby wipes at your local store in the midst of bulk-buying during the coronavirus pandemic, these DIY options are a good alternative.

baby in bedroom getting diaper changed
Photo: skynesher/Getty Images

Being quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic is proving tough on parents. For many, it's become a juggle of working from home, entertaining toddlers, and trying to keep school-aged kids focused as they essentially homeschool. But for others, it's also become near impossible to find important baby care products at their local stores because of all the panic-driven bulk-buying taking place.

Good news for parents of infants though: If you find yourself out of baby wipes, don’t worry. There are safe and effective alternatives that can work in a time of need. (If you also run out of diapers and can’t find any at your local store, see how experts explain to make those at home, too.) Sure DIY may not be ideal, but it will work in a pinch.

Lindsay Price, certified nurse midwife at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, New York, approves of a solution for DIY baby wipes for your tot that you may have stumbled upon online. “You can use it all over the baby’s body,” she adds.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 paper towel roll (preferably a thicker option)
  • 3 tablespoons of oil (either coconut, olive, or almond)
  • 2 tablespoons of unscented soap (Dr. Bronner’s is a good option, she says)
  • 4 cups of water (should first be boiled for about two minutes in order to disinfect)
  • Optional: Aloe vera (in order to prevent a diaper rash)

How to make baby wipes:

  1. Lay down the paper towel roll and cut it in half
  2. Place one half of the paper towel roll in a waterproof container
  3. Mix the oil, unscented soap, and water (and aloe vera if desired) together
  4. Pour the mixture over the paper towel half
  5. Let it soak through and then remove from the container

This will last about four to five days, says Price. Keep in mind, these can get moldy pretty easily, so it’s not required to presoak. “You can put that mixture into a spray bottle, and you can just spray the paper towel as needed,” says Price.

More Baby Wipe Alternatives

If you're low on paper towels, you can use old fleece or cotton pajamas—which tend to be really soft—in their place, and follow the same instructions above. “You’ll just want to wash it well in warm water, let it dry, and then you can soak that material in that mixture first or you can just use a spray bottle and soak the material and wash it as needed,” says Price.

But if you're really in a pinch and don't have time to make the mixture for baby wipes, you can simplify things even more. Kristen N. Burris, a mom of two and licensed acupuncturist and master herbalist of traditional Chinese medicine based in Eagle, Idaho, needed to find a solution other than baby wipes for one of her sons who she says had numerous diaper blowouts a day. “Even the mildest wipes gave him a sore bum,” she says. Instead of wipes, she started using old, soft cotton T-shirts and flannels.

“Cut the clothing into squares approximately 8 x 8 inches and wash them. Neatly fold them next to your baby's changing table and when you are ready to use, rinse in warm water,” she says. "You'll be amazed at how much you can clean up in one swipe." Another plus to these: You can then dump contents into the toilet, wash, and use them again.

No matter which baby wipes you decide to make and use, always take precautions. “If you are going to be doing things at home and using your own products, you just want to make sure that of course you are continuing to practice good hand hygiene,” says Price. That means washing with soap for at least 20 seconds. Also, it’s important to keep a distance from outsiders during the pandemic. “Make sure you are practicing social distancing,” adds Price.

Anna Halkidis is the features editor at Keep up with her on Twitter and Instagram.

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