Friday, October 5, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes - Save $150 a Year!

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Babies are expensive. I've heard this my whole life but I kind of brushed it off until I was watching my own bank account dwindle.

As a newlywed, I would look at other people's babies and think "Oh, how cute. I can't wait to have one of my own." Then I worked in a preschool and thought to myself "I can handle 16 kids at a time - 1 would be a breeze."

Questions that did not stream through my brain while I was consumed with baby fever:
* If diapers cost x, wipes cost y, and formula costs z, how much money will I have left for anything remotely fun for myself? Answer: Negative 14 dollars.
* When the baby starts crying, who can I hand it back to if I am the parent? Answer: one.
* Will I ever be able to leave the house on a moment's notice or bring a purse that doesn't have eleven pockets and doesn't set off the seat-belt alarm when it's sitting on the passenger seat? Answer: Nope...unless the hubby is on baby duty.

Yes, babies are adorable. Yes, I love mine dearly. However, they cost a small fortune. So, today I will share with you one way I save money so that I can use my negative $14 on something coffee...or a smaller purse that I will be able to use in 18 years.

Today's topic...
You can make your own baby wipes! I swear it is super simple and it can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your baby's diapering days.

What You Need:
1 paper towel roll (Pro-Tip: I like to use Viva choose-a-size because they are cloth-like and you can take a little or a lot. You will only need 1/2 of the roll to make the wipes and you can save the other half to make another batch later on.)
1 plastic container
1 tablespoon of baby oil
2 tablespoons of baby wash
2 cups of water

Step 1: Find a plastic container (with a lid) large enough to hold half of a roll of paper towels. There is no perfect container and I will tell you I struggled to find the perfect one for me. This is where I had the hardest time. I tried a few containers until I found one that was just right. It was long enough ago that I couldn't even tell you where I got it (most likely Wal-Mart), but it is a tall, generic brand of tupperware. Basically, bring a paper towel roll with you when you go into the plastic container aisle and eyeball it to see if it will fit half of a paper towel roll inside. It really doesn't matter so long as it fits and seals.

Step 2: Pour in your liquids and swish them around a little bit.
1 tablespoon of baby oil
2 tablespoons of baby wash
2 cups of water

Step 3: Cut a roll of paper towels in half. I use a bread knife to do this...unless I lazily just pick up the nearest steak knife and start sawing away. You may want to incorporate this into your daily work out because it takes some muscle to saw through a roll of paper towels! Yes, it will look like a rat got into your stack of paper towels and left shreds all over the counter. This is normal. Then put your 1/2 of a paper towel roll in the container with the liquids, with the crazy shredded side on the bottom. *Leave the cardboard tube inside the roll for now.*

Step 4: Seal the container and flip it upside down. Let it sit there for about 10 minutes so that the paper towels can soak up all of the liquids.

Step 5: Open the container and pull out the cardboard tube from the middle.

Step 6: Get it ready for easy use. Here's where my method is slightly different from what other moms seem to do. Some people like to pull from the middle and keep their wipes in the same container. I, however, prefer the easy plastic containers that individual wipes packages come in. I clean it out and put my homemade wipes in it. Basically, I take the homemade wipes out of the tupperware container and fold them over on each other back and forth so that they will fit inside my wipes container, pulling the last wipe through the top of the container. This process takes a bit of time but when you have poop on one hand, you're holding the baby on the changing table with the other hand, and you have to use an elbow to open up the wipes container, you really want it to be as easy as possible. If it works for you to use the tupperware container, then please do. If you're a picky diaper changer like me, you can try what I do.

When I make them, I get approximately 100 wipes (sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on if it's the regular size roll or the giant roll).

Let's do the math.
1/2 roll of Viva Choose-a-Size paper towels: $.56
2 tbs of baby wash: $.13
1 tbs of baby oil: $.06
Total cost of homemade wipes: $.75 (<$.01 per wipe)


1 name-brand container of wipes, 64 count: $2.37 ($.04 per wipe)

I read somewhere that people use, on average, 1.5 containers of baby wipes per week. That's 384 wipes per month. So you can either continue using store-bought wipes for $15.36/month...or use homemade wipes for $2.88/month.

You could save yourself about $150 a year!!

That's a lot of coffee.

*Where I got my mathematical figures:
My local price for Viva Choose-a-Size paper towels is $1.12 per roll, but you can save even more if you catch them on sale and/or with coupons.
I used generic brands of baby wash and oil.
Of course, there is an investment hidden cost. You'll need some kind of container to put the wipes in while you make them. The one I found was not too expensive (because I went generic)...maybe $5 total spent.


  1. Congrats Rachel! The blog is awesome.... I don't need wipes anymore but I might make these just for fun. :-)

    1. BTW, this is Tatiana (Owen and Tiago's mom).

    2. Thanks!! Wipes are still useful for cleaning faces, dirty hands, fingerpaint, etc. You could probably even add different smelling oils to make them whatever scent you like.

  2. Walmart has a perfectly fitting canister with a lock lid that works great! We actually take the cardboard roll out of the middle first then put paper towel in canister and add ingredients It pulls from the middle and the wipes stay moist with the lock lid.
    You can make boogie wipes using the vapor bath from J&J too!