These two-layer cloth baby wipes are super easy to sew for a quick beginner project. I only have very basic sewing skills so if I can do this, so can you!
Originally written by Erin Long in 2015, updated by R&H in 2021.
When I found out I was (surprise!) pregnant with my daughter, I hadn’t made many decisions about parenting. I thought I had a good half-decade before I needed to choose a stroller, decide what kind of birth I wanted, or find out what really is necessary for a baby (do I need a swing and a bouncy seat? Why are there so many kinds of carriers?).
But without a doubt, I wanted to cloth diaper. I saw cloth diapering in action with my niece and immediately knew I wanted to do the same with my kids.
One of my happiest moments of those early days of motherhood was when I wrapped my daughter in a soft cloth diaper for the very first time. I didn’t even mind the extra loads of laundry.
But I quickly realized I had a problem.
I used, threw away, and wasted money on disposable baby wipes with toxic ingredients, which was the main reason I didn’t use disposable diapers.
I had reusable cloth diapers, and I wanted reusable cloth baby wipes.
So I got to work and sewed some simple flannel cloth baby wipes that I washed with the diapers and made an all-natural, non-toxic cleaning solution (plain ol’ water works, too) to keep my baby’s skin clean.
My first set of cloth baby wipes made it beautifully through two children but now that I’ve got baby #3 in cloth diapers, it is time for a new set of baby wipes.
*Full disclosure: I do have disposable, non-toxic wipes for super messy diapers and when we’re away from home. Kudos to you if you do use cloth baby wipes full-time!
These two-layer wipes are super easy to sew. I only have very basic sewing skills so if I can do this, so can you!
You could make up a whole batch of these in an afternoon or sew a seam here and a seam there if you only have limited amounts of time (or older children around!).
How to Make These Cloth Baby Wipes:
- Get fabric: For 12 wipes you need 1 yard of flannel fabric. Flannel is absorbent and durable so it’ll do the job well. You can use one pattern for both sides of the wipes or use two patterns, one for the front and one for the back. Or do as many as you like. They’re baby wipes – go crazy and have fun if you want!
- Cut: Cut fabric in 9×7 rectangles. You can go bigger or smaller depending on what works for you but this is the size of a disposable wipe and it works well with the 1 yard of fabric.
- Assemble: Put two pieces of fabric together inside out and pin if you prefer. You want the side of the fabric that will be on the inside of the wipe showing.
- Sew: Using a 1/4 inch seam sew three sides together, leaving a short side unsewn.
- Trim: Trim the corners. This will help the wipe to lay flat.
- Turn right-side out: Turn the wipe right side out and fold both pieces of fabric in about 1/4 of an inch and iron them down.
- Sew: Sew the last side. This stitch will show.
- Sew a star or firework: Now for the fun part! It’s time to sew the pieces so they stay together and don’t turn the wipe into a balloon when you wash them. You can sew any design or shape that you want, just be sure to cover enough surface area to keep the wipe together. Here’s what I did: starting in one corner sew a line to the opposite corner and do the same with the other corners. You now have an X. Next sew lines from the top to the bottom of the wipe and then from the left side to the right so it looks like a star. (Or a firework as my 4 year-old describes it. 🙂
- Use and enjoy!
Wash your wipes with your cloth diapers and enjoy saving money and keeping toxins away from your baby!
DIY Cloth Baby Wipes FAQs
What If I Don’t Have a Sewing Machine?
That’s ok! You can sew these by hand if you are determined. You will want to use a small, neat, backstitch or you can do a double running stitch. These are tight stitches that will fill in complete lines of stitching much like the machine. You will follow the same steps above, just using hand sewing. It will definitely take longer but can be a project that is easy to set down or take with you.
What Kind of Fabric is Best for Reusable Baby Wipes?
Soft flannel, as noted above, is what many baby blankets are made from, as well as cloth menstrual pads. This feels great on baby’s skin and washes well.
Another option is to use muslin, which is what the very thin, popular swaddle blankets are made from. You may want to use three or four layers of this. It’s a great eco-friendly option to use baby blankets that may have stains or small holes and make cloth wipes.
What if I Can’t Sew? Can I Hand Sew Them?
If you don’t have a sewing machine and aren’t interested or able to hand sew, you can definitely do some no-sew wipes! These will work best with old t-shirts (like free shirts you get at events or even cheap shirts from the thrift store) or single layers of fleece. These fabrics don’t fray, though they may stretch out a bit along the edges. If you happen to have pinking shears, use those to cut them out to help stabilize the edges.
Most stores like Target have baby washcloths you can buy. These are smaller than store bought wipes, but definitely work well and are very soft and absorbent. These would be a great option to start out with to see if you like using cloth wipes.
Beth’s note: I used this type of inexpensive baby washcloth as my cloth wipes for years. They are a bit small, like Erin mentioned above, but they do the trick if you don’t plan to try this project! (Tip: get colored or patterned cloths to hide any stains.)
How Do I Use DIY Washable Baby Wipes?
You can mix up a homemade wipe solution to either keep your wipes soaking or use a spray bottle. I prefer a spray bottle, as I worry the wet wipes could get moldy if they sit too long.
Try mixing 1 teaspoon each Castile soap and olive oil with 4 ounces of distilled water. You can add a few drops of lavender essential oil for fragrance if desired. Shake well and store in a labeled bottle. Simply spray a wipe and use! You can also buy ready-to-use sprays.
Hey! If you are already using cloth diapers and wipes, why not try making your own cloth menstrual pads as well?