I’ve done my fair share of cloth diaper changes over the years. Like any concerned mom I opted for baby wipes I thought were safe and healthy for little ones. It turns out many baby wipes aren’t what they seem. So instead I came up with these DIY baby wipes with natural ingredients (plus they’re much cheaper!).
What’s Wrong With Diaper Wipes?
Ever checked the ingredients on your baby wipes? Yeah, I hadn’t either. Terms like “Fresh Scent,” “natural”,” and “sensitive skin” made me think I was choosing a healthy option. Instead many of these wipes are hiding ingredients like artificial fragrances (yep, even the unscented wipes). Then there are the harsh preservatives and parabens that can cause diaper rash on baby’s skin.
Even my favorite Huggies Cucumber and Green Tea wipes weren’t much better. At the time their ingredients were linked with issues including cancer risk, allergies, and developmental problems. I used these wipes for years, figuring that if they were made for a baby’s bum, they must be safe. Apparently not!
Since then many brands, including the big players have come a long way in cleaning up their ingredient lists. But there are still plenty of baby wipes out there with sketchy ingredients.
Non-Toxic Baby Wipes
After finding out what was actually in baby wipes I searched for healthier alternatives. There are some good ones, especially with the growing demand for better, healthier products. A lot of these options are more expensive than the typical baby wipes though.
If you’re too busy to make your own baby wipes, thankfully there’s a growing list of good options! Here are some different brands that meet my healthy mama standards.
- Made Of: Soothing Organic Baby Wipes
- Clearly Herbal Baby Wipes
- Baby Cozy Coconut Nourish Wipes
- Water Wipes (99.9% water)
- Attitude Eco Wipes
Make Homemade Baby Wipes
I stumbled on some recipes for homemade baby wipes, but they suggested baby oil, baby shampoo, and baby lotion. Baby oil may sound gentle, but it’s mineral oil, a byproduct of the gasoline industry. Baby wash and the other ingredients in these products have their own health concerns.
I figured if you could make your own with those ingredients, you could make a healthy version too!
Homemade Baby Wipes Recipe
After much trial and error (mainly error), I finally have a great baby wipes solution recipe. After using it on several kids for years, I haven’t had any issues with skin irritation.
A side benefit to my wipe making experiment is that homemade wipes are much cheaper. When I buy ingredients in bulk, the wipes end up costing way less. This saved us a ton when I had several in diapers. Healthier and cheaper- I’ll take it!
There are several ways to make your own homemade baby wipes. When I first started I used a plastic storage container and paper towels. Later on, I switched to cloth wipes for a reusable wipes version. The homemade wipes solution works with either option. It just depends on what you have and what you want to use.
I’ve included directions for the healthy (but less eco-friendly) version below too in case you want disposable wipes.
Reusable DIY Baby Wipes
There are several different reusable wipe options – no sewing required! You can cut up old receiving blankets and t-shirts into 9×9 (or larger) squares. Old baby washcloths work too. Fold them into an old baby wipes container and pour the wipes mixture onto them. You can also spray it on each wipe with a spray bottle before using.
If you want to buy premade fabric wipes, there are lots of options on Amazon and online. These organic flannel wipes are super soft.
Double Duty Wipes
This has been one of my most fun homemade discoveries. These wipes are definitely kid approved. My kids loved smelling them whenever I pulled them out to clean the baby. And then they’d try to steal one and use it to clean things. Guess I’ve instilled this a little too well. We’ve discovered these wipes also clean tile, counters, leather, and flooring. They leave a residue on stainless steel though.
I also make a lavender essential oil or tea tree oil version. These are great for all-purpose disinfecting when we’re traveling and as reusable makeup removal wipes for me.
This tutorial takes very little time and is a great alternative to store-bought wipes.
Homemade Baby Wipe Ingredients and Materials
I use either distilled water or water that’s been boiled and then cooled in these. Tap water will work, but it can quickly grow microbes. If you use your wipes within several days then boiled and cooled regular water can work.
A plastic container works well to store the wipes. My preferred option was the red Rubbermaid round container, but you can also use an old plastic coffee container or gallon ice cream bucket. When I first made these I used paper towels and the round, plastic containers fit them best. Since then we’ve switched away from using plastic.
If you’re using reusable cloth wipes, then a repurposed diaper wipes container or silicone bag does the job. These are nice for storing a few wipes at a time in the diaper bag for quick clean-up jobs. And if you’re using the spray bottle and cloth wipes option, then you can just keep the wipes in a basket on the changing table.
Natural Homemade Baby Wipes
- 1 16-oz glass spray bottle (optional)
- 12×12 Silicone bag (optional, for cloth wipe storage)
- 1 ¾ cup warm distilled water (or boiled water that's been cooled some)
- 1 TBSP aloe vera gel
- 1 TBSP witch hazel
- 1 tsp castile soap (or less if desired)
- 1 tsp olive oil (or almond oil, omit for cloth wipes)
- 12 drops essential oils of choice (optional, I use orange and lavender)
- ½ tsp vitamin E oil (optional)
For Disposable Baby Wipes
- 1 roll Paper towels (use a quality brand that won't fall apart)
- Large plastic container
- Serrated knife (a bread knife works)
- Combine all ingredients in a pint size mason jar and shake well to combine. If using a spray bottle, then put all of the ingredients in your spray bottle instead.
- Place reusable cloth wipes in your container of choice and pour the wipes solution on them. Or just use the spray bottle to wet one as needed.
For Disposable Baby Wipes
- Cut the roll of paper towels in half using a sharp knife.
- If using an old wipes container, accordion fold the wipes into the container. If using a large round or square container, place the wipes cut side down in the container.
- Shake the wipe solution and pour over the paper towels in your container. Let the liquid absorb for about 5-10 minutes.
- Flip the container over to make sure the wipes are well soaked.
- If using a square/round container, pull the cardboard tube 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.
- If your child has very sensitive skin, you may need to leave out the essential oils.
- You can also replace some of the water with soothing calendula or chamomile hydrosol.
Are you willing to try homemade baby wipes? What scents will you use? Leave a comment and let me know!
Discussion (630 Comments)
After my wipes warmer stopped working, I started just wetting my reusable wipes with warm water from the sink. I keep a small bottle of coconut oil next to the cloth diaper/cloth wipes stash. After I wet the wipes I pour a few drops of coconut oil on them. It works wonders! I helps remove the poo, soothes and moisturizes irritated skin, and I think it’s the antibacterial properties that seem to even prevent diaper rash! Water and coconut oil…who knew? HAHA! For those who are worried, I don’t have any build up issues on my diapers…never have stripped them and I am very careful not to do anything that will cause me to need to.
Could I use a silicone ziplock for my disposal wipes? I don’t have anything plastic to carry them in.
Thank you for this “recipe”! Trying it out!
So, I have been making this since my son was born 5 months ago. It works great! Only problem is that the aloe vers gel doesn’t mix in and therefore feels gooey-slimy and settles on the top of the wipes; not a pleasant sensation because it feels like you are getting poo on your hands while changing a diaper! I’ve tried using very hot water and even using the blender to emulsify… no difference. Any recommendations?
I made these the other day and I just love love love them! Althought not a baby anymore, after-toilet wipes are still necessary for younger children, and my daughter thinks these are great! I have used them to clean my face as well and it leave you feeling so refreshed! I bought all the ingredients at Whole Foods. Be prepared to spend a bit, but this will make many many wipes! Thank you so much for the recipe!
I made this recipe but the oil sets on the top and when I made my cloth wipes the soap made them feel exceptionally sticky. I am wondering if I did something wrong. I am also concerned with washing them with my FuzziBunz diapers because of all the soap on the wipes.
You can actually leave out the oil with cloth wipes. I’ve used this without the oil on cloth wipes and never had a problem (though I have mostly bum Genius) but you can reduce the soap and up the witch hazel a little. Most of it will evaporate off before it is washed.
I remember researching this tip long ago & unfortunately gave up when I couldn’t find discriptions of Rubbermaid #6 or #8 storage containers online.
I am disabled and do most of my shopping online. I really want to follow through with making the homemade baby wipes since our new baby granddaughter is 2 months & has such sensitive skin.
I enjoy your newsletter and tips every week! Thank you for all you do.
Jamie’s Nana? too
Hi Kelly! You can also use a wide-mouth glass jar as well to avoid plastic completely. (You may have to use some of the paper towel to get it to fit.) The numbers are the types of plastic that are usually in tiny font on the bottom. Some call them to recycle reference numbers. Hope that helps!
I have saved and washed all the wipes from the packs. I just use these with vinegar and water.
If I have time, maybe I’ll remember to try yours out. 🙂
Very cool! I really want to try to make these. 🙂
Is the recipe for 1 half of the paper towel roll or both halfs of the cut roll? Thanks!
For 1/2 of the roll.
Is there a different idea that doesn’t use Castile soap? It is derived from coconut and my daughter is allergic.
Thanks very much for your time and effort and for sharing this…Every time I wipe my grandson’s face with a commercial baby wipe, I’m uncomfortably aware of their ingredients, few of which even sound safe. I just made some using your recipe. Again, thanks.
you are very welcome! I use them on my face too, especially to remove
Thanks! I am looking forward to trying this out asap as I am on my last container of wipes! I have been using the costco kirkland brand and will be making my own now after finding out two of the ingredients are formaldehyde releasing agents!!! Very disappointing as they boast to be natural! I have a large collection of essential oils as well and am looking forward to playing with this recipe!!! Thanks so very much!!!
Katie, this recipe is AWESOME!!! I’ve got a 1 month old with a terribly sensitive bottom. There isn’t a type of store bought wipe that doesn’t make him have raw skin. After searching the internet I came upon a few recipes. All but yours included baby soap, and I just didn’t like that, so I decided to give your’s a try. They not only smell wonderful but thus far have caused ZERO issues with his bottom and work way better than just ater and papertowels alone. THANKS!!!!
So glad its working well for you! Thanks for the comment!
Katie, could you please give a break down on what ingredients do. I just found this recipe but it’s much different all the other recipes online that I’ve found. How did you come these ingredients and how long does the roll last without going moldy? I know this post is a little old but I hope you can answer my questions. Thanks 🙂
We go through wipes pretty fast, but I’ve had them in the diaper bag
for several months without them going moldy. The ingredient breakdown
Aloe vera is naturally moisturizing and also naturally antibacterial
Witch Hazel is antibacterial and soothing, and it preserves the wipes
longer (in place of alcohol in conventional wipes)
Liquid Castille Soap- is the actual cleaning part- its a natural soap
that cleans without drying or irritating and has no chemicals
Grapefruit Seed Extract- helps preserve the wipes longer and prevents
yeast growth on skin
Oil- helps moisturize baby’s skin and increases scent of the
Essential oils- mainly for smell, though lavender, lemon and orange
all have anitbacterial and antiviral properties that make them good
I decided on these ingredients after a lot of trial and error, and
I’ve been using this particular formula for almost a year now and
have had no problems with it. I’ve also noticed that in a pinch, you
don’t need the oil and grapefruit seed extract, they just help it
Hope that helps!
Great! This helps me immensely 🙂
I am excited to try making my own wipes! Do you have recommendations on where to purchase the ingredients in bulk?
I’ve order witch hazel and aloe from Mountain Rose Herbs and order
Dr. Bronner’s online also.
Katie, thank you for this recipe. I was hesitant to make it because the two previous times I’ve used Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Unscented Baby-Mild Pure-Castile Soap, it totally dried out my skin. Just a few months ago I washed my little one with it & my hands cracked and bled right after. With reservation I made the wipes hoping maybe with the other ingredients it’d be fine. I made 4 containers today & used them for changing diapers Just twice. My hands look & feel bad & very dry. It seems to be common for a lot of the homemade soaps too…what else can I use? Thank you for your website, I tell everyone about it! The information is invaluable.God Bless You & Your Family!
Sounds like you need to use glycerin soaps for your sensitive skin. Castille soaps always dries out my skin too but it loves glycerin soap.
Do you purchase this witch hazel with some alcohol? https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/witch-hazel-extract/profile
Katie - Wellness Mama
I have used that one before too 🙂 but most recently am using this one https://www.amazon.com/Thayers-Alcohol-free-Petal-Witch-Hazel/dp/B00016XJ4M/ref=as_li_ss_tl?th=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=wellnessmama-20&linkId=40c2480e1e099ab536ae38f092270d81&language=en_US
How do you keep them from drying out?
This is why the recipe calls for adding oil – oil cuts down on Castile soap’s stripping quality.
Its only 1 tsp of the Castile soap.. I used Fractured Coconut oil.. and the Vit E will also add oil to the recipe.. it should be fine being diluted with water and all the essential oils etc.
Hello! Thank you for your recipes! I was just wondering if fresh home grown aloe vera will work just as well for the baby wipes recipe. Thank you!
I was wondering the same, and found: The good news is, aloe vera is a safe, natural remedy to relieve baby’s painful rash. … Applying cool aloe vera gel can provide quick relief for your baby’s irritated skin. You should use it a few times a day when changing diapers. It will be both healing and soothing to your newborn. (aloecure.com Mar 20, 2018)
I’ve made these twice now. I love them, but they’re extremely soapy. The first batch I followed to a T & the 2nd I reduced the water & soap, but still extremely soapy. Have to wipe w/ a wet washcloth after. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance, Taylor
Katie - Wellness Mama
You can reduce the soap by a lot and only add a few drops if you’d like.
Thank you. Are these ok to use as face wipes?
Where can I find these ingredients in the large jugs?
Katie - Wellness Mama
I bought the ingredients for this recipe and just noticed I bought aloe Vera juice instead of gel–I threw away the recipt. Is it bad if I use the 100%aloe Vera juice instead of gel?
That should be fine!
Hi thank you for this. I have just returned some recalled baby wipes to a Sam’s Club store. After, I needed to buy wipes after I returned these wipes when I found out the wipes had a ‘pneumonia causing bacteria’ found in them back at home in this article.
How this all began with me is I had gone to buy diapers at Sam’s Club and the diapers were all gone. I asked a manager if they were done selling their brand of diapers and he said no. He replied the reason the diapers were recalled was because the wipes had been recalled and the company gave samples of wipes in the diaper’s to try them. They seem to be good diapers (I use to use Huggies) and the wipes seemed to be good also. I had no idea…
Anyways, my grand daughter kept complaining of irritation or “ouchy” when I changed her diaper. I looked but saw nothing red or irritated. Then she was coughing and gagging like she had something in the back of her throat hitting the gag reflex section of her throat. Her mom took her to the doctor and nothing was found. There is a cough and you can hear the fluid in her chest but nothing the doctor thought serious. I also have a cough with a very minor sore throat which has me taking Goldenseal root herb to help take away the infection that may be coming on. It works for me and usually keeps any bug from making me sick.
In the end I came home and a friend on FB shared this recipe with me when I had told the story of what happened and I wanted to thank you for your sharing of this.
I also was wondering where you would buy the grapefruit seed extract? I have tried to find a liquid not in a gel capsule but haven’t found it. I did find grapefruit essential oils. Is this what you were saying we should use?? Thanks
You can find GSE on vitacost.com for a great price.
I love this recipe I have been making them for months just for bathroom use and everyone that tries them out loves them. I’m due with my first today and plan on using them on baby too. Thank you for the great ideas. My Christmas list was as follows: arrowroot powder, shea butter, coconut butter, more vit E oil, more aloe, beeswax, and essential oils….
I wanted to leave an updated comment because we love these wipes so much. My husband will let me know if we are running short on wipes because these are the BEST! We have tried about 10 different brands and these wipes are number 1 hands down. They are smooth and clean extremely well. You can clean up a huge mess with just one wipe if you fold them correctly but they would so much better than store bought. I have kept them in the roll for round containers. I have also unrolled and folded to fit in a normal wipe container. I will NEVER use store bought again. I have the recipe memeorized and make them for our bathroom and Baby. I place in a ziplock bag for the diaper bag. TIP!!! When you are cutting your papertowel roll use a fish fillet knife. It will give you a nice smooth cut very easily.
Just a heads up Katie that although no issues have come forward within a year that both lavender and tee tree oil are estrogenics and there are studies by Dr. Williams linking them to hormonal issues in both boys and girls when used topically. In some studies baby boys have even been growing actual breast tissues by age 2 with prolonged exposure.
I wouldn’t suggesr using those 2 ingredients, I won’t use them on my boy and I know health is very important to you and you wouldn’t want to mislead your readers!
That claim is completey unfounded tara & the ‘studies’ you refer to are very misleading, containing too many variables & not enough peers.
Unfounded or not – the use of Lavender in soaps/lotions, etc. caused hormone issues in one of my friends children. He was having issues (breasts enlarged, etc.) that were found to be directly related to the lavender. After removing all lavender from any products touching her sons skin, the issues stopped and now, a couple years later, all is still well.
I would not want readers to think that these studies are completely false as I have at least one example when lavender was proven to be the direct cause of the hormone issues. It DOES in fact, cause hormone issues in some cases – I’ve seen it happen.
Hello! I am looking into making these wipes but I had a question first. If I leave out the essential oils I wouldn’t need to replace with anything else, correct? I was just afraid of my son’s skin not agreeing with the oils. Thanks!
I’d like to thank you for sharing all of your diy all natural ideas! I’m interested in making the baby wipes but was wondering, since I have a lot of store bought Baby wipes on hand, if it would help to maybe rinse them out (would that be effective enough in washing out the harmful chemicals??) and then adding your recipe to them…your help is much appreciated!
I think that rinsing disposable wipes might cause them to deteriorate to the point where they cannot be used, but you could certainly test it. It’s unlikely that you will remove *all* the chemicals, but you might get a bunch out.
It does seem that that would be more trouble than starting fresh. 🙂 Sorry about the wasted wipes, though. (Sometimes it’s useful to have a few that pack more easily…I had to break down and buy diapers and wipes on an almost-week-long trip. So maybe leftover conventional wipes could be used for that?)
What are the brands you have in the picture for the witch hazel, allow be hell and the castle soap? I would like to be able to purchase in bulk like you have pictured
Thank you for sharing. I am determined to try it. Question tho.. the witch hazel link you send us to, is not pure. Its mixed with aloe. Is that still okay to use?
Katie I’m excited to try your recipe! Just wondering if these wipes could be made without the soap? I use water wipes and it’s just grape seed extract and water. I worry about the soap staying on the skin and drying it out? Let me know your thoughts! I am excited to save some money and keep my babies little bottoms safe!:) I love your blog so much and value your opinion! Please let me know asap!:)
You can omit the soap 🙂
Would grapefruit seed oil work in place if extract ? I can’t find it anywhere. I do love these wipes. Even my husband does and he wasn’t excited at first !!!
Could you use coconut oil instead of aloe?
I made these on cloth wipes without the witch hazel (bc I didn’t have it) and they began to smell like mildew within a few days. I’m going to try with witch hazel – think that will make the difference?
Can you please let me know any other brands from which i can buy the Witch hazel extract and the Aloe vera gel
Katie - Wellness Mama
I’d check a local store or corner store like walgreens…
I was wondering if the amount of essential oils you use deteriorate the plastic container? I know that essential oils do deteriorate plastic, tin, etc.
I’ve never had a problem with this. Since it’s such a small amount of essential oil diluted in a large amount of liquid, it shouldn’t have too much of an effect.
Well, I don’t have a recipe to share and I am sure my wipes don’t smell that yummy, but I use cloths diapers and wipes and so I just use water on my wipes (cheap baby washcloths) in an old wipes container. I should try this recipe though because I do miss the smell of disposable wipes! Thanks for sharing!
I found them to be a little too soapy so I decreased the soap to 1 tablespoon.
The original recipe calls for one Tablespoon as well, Sheila. Did you mean that you reduced it to one teaspoon?
I was wondering if you can use foaming hand soap and baby lotion
Its only 1 tsp of Castile soap.. Not a Tbsp.. this soap is very concentrated.. I used the Lavender.. its smells heavenly. I loved this Recipe.. I went to Walmart and got two containers.. and this recipe is Awesome.. I am using them for myself as I am having lots of issues with my Hemorrhoids and I need some healing. I used many essential oils for healing. I love how these turned out.. and its so much cheaper and better for the body.
I agree – I cut up a bed sheet into wipe sized squares and just soak them in water or chamomile tea and a bit of olive oil. Easy! The latter fixes nappy rash.
Thank You! Yes, I have read the ingredients on wipes and despaired of every finding anything. Wish I had seen this when I was still being treated for colo/rectal cancer. I can still use this idea though as some days, I still need wipes. Here’s hoping for a no burn wipe.
Awesome recipe. My only concern paper towels they probably have some bad ingredients too.
This was my concern too because I know they bleach to make the paper towels white