When we’re at home, I prefer to use small wash cloths on my baby’s butt for diaper changes. No wasteful disposable wipes laden with chemicals, just cotton and warm water. They work just as well as wipes (better, even, because they’re more absorbent), can be tossed in the laundry for use over and over again, AND they don’t irritate delicate baby butt skin.
But they’re not exactly practical for outings, so some disposable wipes are kept on hand for the diaper bag and other emergencies. And by “emergencies” I mean “those days when I’ve remembered to wash the baby’s load but forgot to throw it in the dryer and am now left with a mildewy-smelling load that needs to be washed again.” Way to conserve water, mama.
We bought an econo-box of disposable wipes at Target because they were on sale. I was hesitant to do so, because I hadn’t used this particular brand on my baby’s delicate bum and I knew there was a chance that he’d have a less than positive reaction. Afterall, these were just regular ol’ wipes: not “all natural,” not organic, not biodegradable, not even chlorine-free. They were regular ol’ Pampers, “sensitive” variety.
I know. What the hell was I thinking?
One diaper change with those things and we were left with one very red-bottomed little boy. Like, baboon’s bottom red. Seriously.
So now what? We bought a couple packages of hippie wipes to tide us over… but what about the HUGE box of unusable Pampers wipes.
Here’s what: turns out you can launder those puppies. I’d discovered this before during Bug’s diaper years. But the discovery was completely inadvertent (accidentally throwing some wipes into the hamper and running them through the wash with the rest of his clothes) and it never occurred to me to do it on purpose. Mr. Legume had much the same accidental experience with his youngest daughter. When, in a lame attempt to rid the wipes of offending chemicals, I hesitantly suggested we rinse them in warm water before use, Mr. Legume one-upped me and suggested we launder them first.
They wash up quite well the first time, emerging from the dryer soft and fluffy. The second wash leaves them a little less fluffy, and by the third they emerge from the dryer looking moth-eaten. But we’re getting two to three diaper changes per disposable wipe before needing to throw them away. We haven’t washed our other disposable wipes because they’re compostable, which I presume means they won’t do well up against a washing machine. But any other disposable should work just as well… just be extra careful about cleaning out your dryer’s lint trap.