If, like me, you’re among the childless but yet have an endless stream of friends who are having kids, it can be a struggle to give thoughtful gifts for baby showers and to new parents that you know they’ll actually use.
So earlier this year, with several baby showers imminent, I decided to do a (very scientific) Facebook survey of all my friends with kids in order to find out exactly what it was that made their lives easier in those first few weeks after welcoming a human cub into their world. The overwhelming top answer of meal delivery wasn’t that surprising, but the second most popular new-parent gift was: Baby Wipes. LOTS of them.
Apparently between the lack of sleep, feedings, and just generally trying to keep a fragile newborn alive, every mom and dad I spoke to found themselves in the precarious position of not having any extra diaper wipes at least once in those first few weeks of parenting. Not only that, but many new parents also stress about the chemicals they’re putting on their baby’s delicate skin, so I decided to take to the kitchen and recipe test dozens of homemade, organic baby wipe recipes from Pinterest and elsewhere around the internets. I don’t think I’ll ever buy commercial face, body, or house-cleaning wipes again, it was seriously that easy.
The best part, though? By changing just a few ingredients, you can use this same step-by-step process for making practically any type of wipes just by changing up the type of essential oil. For body/face wipes, especially helpful for new parents who struggle to find time to shower but don’t want to smell like spit-up, swap out the chamomile and lavender for something stronger smelling, like a solid perfume. For face wipes, just swap in tea tree oil. For house-cleaning wipes, swap in your favorite concentrated cleanser, like my a few cups of my DIY lemon-rosemary-vinegar cleaning solution.
Make all three types of wipes (baby, face/body, home) and add to a “Parental Emergency Basket” along with some organic diapers and gift cards for your friends’ favorite takeout joints (preferably for meals they can eat with one hand while juggling a baby!) along with a tag and a link to this tutorial. They’ll never go without baby wipes again, and you’ll most likely jump to the top of their favorite-people list. Make that definitely.
DIY CHAMOMILE LAVENDER BABY WIPES
Time: Approximately 30 minutes
Yield: 102 wipes
- 1 roll select-a-size paper towels (VIVA works best)
- 3 cups water (distilled by boiling) or witch hazel
- 1 cup whole organic chamomile flowers
- 2 TBSP virgin coconut oil, melted
- 10 drops lavender essential oil (or about ½ cup dried lavender)
The only non-organic part of this recipe is the paper towels themselves. Unfortunately, post-consumer recycled paper towels just don’t hold up to the job, so I found (as have many other DIY-ers in the blogosphere) that VIVA or Bounty paper towels work best. Le sigh. Everything else is totally organic, so it’s a net positive, right? Right. Take your roll of paper towels and cut in half crosswise using a serrated bread knife, leaving the cardboard center in place. Set aside in a half gallon glass or plastic jar with a tight-fitting lid or sealing ring (to keep wipes fresh).
I really wanted a Weck jar to work, but unfortunately the paper towels didn’t fit so I used an Anchor Hocking half gallon glass jar with a decorative lid in half these photos. Afterwards, I found a much more practical hard plastic half gallon round storage container with flat, sealing lid at Goodwill for a few bucks, which I liked MUCH better. (Check out OXO or Container Store for something similar.)
To make the wipe solution, boil 3 cups of water on the stove to distill the water (1 cup if you’re using witch hazel). Once boiling, add the whole chamomile flowers (as well as whole lavender, if you’re opting out of essential oil) and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the infused distilled water through a paper sieve, to remove any solids from the flower buds and stems, and cool completely. (If you can make this a few hours to the night before and cool in the refrigerator, it will keep the inside of your jar from showing condensation!)
Once cooled, add your witch hazel (optional, for longer shelf life), melted coconut oil, and lavender essential oils (if you haven’t used whole lavender), and whisk to combine. Pour the entire mixture over the paper towels in your container and flip upside down for 5 minutes (if you’re using a decorative jar, you can cover the jar opening with a dinner plate — messy, but it works, and just return any runoff back to the jar when it’s righted). Flip the jar right side up and wait another 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cardboard center of the roll, at the end of which will pull up the center of the paper towel rolls for easy dispensing. Voila! Homemade wipes.
Store in a cool, dark place or in the fridge for best results. Will keep up to a week, after that the distilled water and organic material (chamomile, lavender) may start to mold. If you want to make a longer-lasting, less high-maintenance wipe, opt for witch hazel and chamomile/lavender essential oils instead and omit the infused distilled water entirely, those will last much longer.
I chose chamomile and lavender because they are A) considered safe for children under 3 months old, and B) also have natural skin-soothing properties, good for preventing diaper rash. If you’re going to make all-over body or face wipes for new parents, I suggest doing a lemon, lavender and eucalyptus (for stress reduction!) or tea tree oil and rose water (for face). If you’re making home-cleaning wipes, simply substitute 3 cups of this recipe for 3 cups of our homemade citrus cleaning spray as a pour-over for your paper towels.
Practical & all-natural!
Have you ever made homemade wipes before? What’s your favorite recipe // essential oils combination? Do you make wipes for yourself or your home, too? Love to hear from you, please leave me a note below in the comments!