This summer I’ve started using reusable wet wipes, and I wish I had done it sooner!
I’m not one for New Years resolutions, but I began this year wanting to be more eco friendly and to reduce the amount of plastic we use as a family. I’ve been making changes to the products we use and reducing the amount of meat we eat, and this summer I decided to switch to reusable wet wipes.
Wet wipes are bad for the environment, they contain non-biodegradable plastic and should never be flushed down the toilet. You might have heard recently about their contribution to sewer ‘fatbergs’ and they have also been found in our oceans and riverbeds.
“River-cleaning teams have found that the hundreds of thousands of wet wipes flushed down toilets in London have actually formed a new riverbed in the Thames. As in other rivers around the world too.” (https://friendsoftheearth.uk/plastics/wet-wipes-keeping-them-out-our-seas-and-sewers).
Even though I’ve never flushed a wet wipe down the toilet, the idea of all that non-biodegradable plastic going into landfill really didn’t sit well with me. So it was time for a change, and I really wish I had done it sooner.
After just day one of using reusable wet wipes I was completely converted. Not only are reusable wipes so much better for the environment, they are much better at cleaning up poop and wiping mucky hands and faces than regular wet wipes. It’s a lot cheaper too!
If you are thinking of making the swap I would really recommend it. I bought an all in one kit from cheekywipes.com for £43 but there are other companies out there offering different reusable products, so do a bit of research first if you are thinking of investing.
Or, if you’d rather save a bit of money and use what you can find around the house, you can always set up your own kit!
Creating your own reusable wet wipe kit
What you need
- Two tupperware boxes with lids – one for clean wipes and one for dirty wipes at home.
- Two zip or drawstring bags – one for clean wipes and one for dirty wipes out and about. (Something like a makeup bag will do, preferably water resistant and wipeable).
- A drawstring mesh bag.
- Lavender oil* for soaking fresh wipes, tea tree oil for soaking dirty wipes.
- Squares of old material – cut up old towels would work best for bums and pillow cases or t-shirts for faces and hands.
How it works
- Fill your two tupperware boxes with some water (this might take a few tests to find out how much water to use) and add a few drops of the lavender oil into the clean wipes box and a few drops of tea tree oil into the dirty wipes box. Place the mesh draw string bag into tupperware box for dirty wipes.
- Put your clean wipes into one box and make sure they are saturated.
- When you need a wipe, take it out and squeeze out any excess water
- Put the dirty wipe into the drawstring bag in the dirty tupperware box to soak.
- When you are ready to wash, simply pick up the drawstring bag and pop it in the washing machine.
When you’re out and about:
- Take a few of the clean wipes out of the clean box and pop them into your clean bag.
- Once used, pop the dirty wipes into the dirty bag
- When you get home transfer the dirty wipes into the dirty box to soak OR empty straight into the washing machine to wash.
Cleaning the wipes:
I pop the wipes in with my regular washing at 40 degrees – there is hardly any poop on the wipes as you have used the nappy to wipe most of it away and it’s been soaking in the dirty box with tea tree oil. I add Tesco antibacterial laundry cleanser too to kill any germs. Then once a week I wash them all at 60 as well. I would also recommend changing the lavender soaking water every other day to keep the wipes fresh.
If you are thinking of investing in a Cheeky Wipes kit check out their FAQ’s page for more information about keeping your wipes clean and fresh.
Once you have it all set up, it’s so simple!
*If you have a newborn it is recommended to only use water on your newborn for the first 6 weeks. Please check with your health visitor, midwife or GP before using any essential oils.
If you would like more information on reducing your plastic waste Friends of the Earth have commissioned a report from research group Eunomia on Reducing Household Contributions to Marine Plastic Pollution. It’s a bit of a lengthy read but has some really interesting and useful facts.
Shopping plastic free & eco can sometimes be a bit tricky, Babipur is a great online eco shop for little ones.
Further information on wet wipe pollution: