25 February 2009

Made: Baby Bum Wipes and Spray

Somewhere there is a fine line between being environmentally conscious and becoming a totally freakin' Portland hippie. I may have just crossed that line with my latest concoction.

In the past two years I have made a conscious effort to slowly switch over all of our baby and body products to less-toxic options. Most conventional shampoos, lotions, skin care products, etc. contain Nasties like petrochemical products (mineral oil), parabens (endocrine disruptors), and other volatile organic compounds. Not only do I not want them on my skin, I do not want them washing down my drain into the Willamette River. And, yes, that is still where the overflow sewage drains until they get the Big Pipe finished. Ew.

I just assumed we would use cloth diapers as much as possible since that's the obvious environmental and economical choice in my mind. I didn't really think about baby wipes until I grabbed a box off the shelf at the SuperMegaMart the other day and read the ingredients. Ew. Even in the "pure and natural" baby wipes there were the Nasties. A little bit of research on the internet confirmed that conventional baby wipes are decidedly Un-Green. They are also a prime mark-up item for stores who cannily position them next to disposable diapers that have a very low mark-up value.

I had some cheapo JoAnn's $2-a-yard flannel on hand and a whole lot of time to waste the last couple of days so I whipped up some reuseable flannel wipes that can be tossed in the wash with the cloth diapers. If I would have had an old flannel sheet this would be a perfect place to do some recycling. Or I think a packet of cheap washclothes would work just as well. But like I said, I had some time on my hands.

After sewing the wipes, I had to decide how to moisten them. There are LOTS of baby wipe recipes out there. Some ingredients made sense to me: aloe vera, calendula oil, lavendar oil, vitamin E. Some ingredients made no sense to me at all: mineral oil, alcohol and soaps (why would you want to dry out the tender baby skin? wouldn't that make it crack/rash more quickly?) I had some left-over ingredients from earlier bath and body experiments so I just used what I had on hand.

My bum wipe spray is approximately:
2 cups water,
1 tablespoon vegetable glycerine (a natural moisturizer/emolient)
2 drops of tea tree oil (a natural antibacterial plus it smells good)
a couple of drops of Vitamin E

Some bum wipe recipes say to dump the concoction on the wipes and keep them pre-moistened in a plastic container. I have issues with leaving fabric soaking and potentially growing mold so I chose to put it in a spray bottle and I'll just spray the wipe before I tackle the bum.

So what do you think? Have I crossed over into crazy Portland hippie territory? Will it work? I have no baby bums to test it on. Yet. What would you experienced mamas and papas put in baby bum solution?


Nicki said...

We just use old wash clothes and warm water, that's it. The only disposable thing we use is wipes when we are out and about since we don't always have access to water. The baby is 8 months and has never had diaper rash.

Michele @ Frugal Granola said...

We just use the water & tee tree oil on our cloth wipes. I made flannel wipes like you, too. :) We plan to use them again for our 2nd baby.

They really do work great! They are even portable in those plastic travel-size wipes containers, without leaking. We haven't had to buy disposables- even for outings! :)

Blessings to you,

Melissa said...

ummmmmmmmmm ... sounds pretty darn hippie, but i respect it! maybe you should test it out on your bum. i would! seems like it would feel chust lovely. :)

Kathy Beachy said...

It sounds like you are making good use of your time off work.

heather said...

I'm with Melissa Ha ha ha. I think it's a great idea in therory and I respect it..but at 2 a.m. when your up to change the baby's bum for the 11 time of the day it might get kinda un-handy.

Newborns go through about 10 diapers a day...so wow, you going to have lots of laundry. That's what the hubby's for..right?? :)

When's your due date? So sorry I forget.

Roxane said...

I made my wipes too. Mine weren't quite as green though, I used paper towels. In case you're interested, I'm pretty sure mold can't grow in an environment with tea tree oil.

Stephanie Breuner said...

fyi- I have used filtered water and tea tree oil with a squirt of Dr Bronner's Tea Tree soap for our cloth wipes for the past year and they work great. I pre-moisten about a two day supply of wipes and store them in one of those small wipes boxes that fit in diaper bags. I have never had them mold or smell funky. Tea tree is a natural antibacterial which inhibits mold.

Currently, I am using plain old water and cloth wipes. I either use a spray bottle directly on my daughter's bum or pre-wet them.