OK, admit it.
Some of y’all thought we were crazies when we wrote about our cloth diapering venture.
But today I am putting the final nail in the coffin for you because I am going to share why we also make our own cloth wipes. I swear we aren’t turning into Colorado hippies despite how with each passing year we get more and more crunchy…hmmm.
You are also going to get a taste of just how nerdy we are with all our calculations, equations, and measurements. I’ll be honest, we primarily cloth to save money. Sure there are other reasons in there but if it wasn’t going to save us moolah, we probs wouldn’t be doing it. Same goes for cloth wipes. It had to be economical for us to consider it.
Making the leap into cloth wipes sort of happened on accident in the beginning. I bought lots of barely used cloth diapers on Cragslist for a hella good deal from a lady who was so utterly sleep deprived (she had a sleep trainer at her house when I stopped by) that she threw in a bunch of extra baby stuff, cloth wipes being one of them. Then another friend saw we were cloth wiping early on and passed along some she didn’t plan on using. We invested $0 into cloth wipes so it was a no-brainer to try them out.
Eventually we ended up doing some traveling and had to buy disposable diapers and wipes and all I can say is OUCH!!! It was really pricey compared to the virtual nothing we were used to spending on cloth. That got me thinking…I should sit down and figure out in a concrete way just HOW much we’re saving with cloth diapers and wipes.
So today I bring you our cloth wipe geeky cost-savings calculations.
Let’s start with what I use to make wipes: Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap from Costco, Kirkland brand coconut oil, Bumkins flannel cloth wipes, and boiling water.
Now lets take a peek at the cost breakdown is per batch of wipes.
Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap
This costs $9.79 at Costco. It’s a 40 ounce bottle, which converted is 1183 ml per bottle. We use approximately 1 tbsp (15 ml) of soap per batch. Doing the math, we can get about 79 batches of wipes per bottle. Taking the total cost of $9.79 divided by 79 batches leave us with a grand total of 12.4 cents per batch.
Kirkland Coconut Oil
The oil costs $25.99 for two tubs. Each tub is 1200 grams. We use approximately 1 tbsp (14 grams) per batch. Doing the math, we can get about 85 batches per tub, multiplied by two comes to 170 batches for the set. Taking the total cost of $25.99 divided by 170 batches comes to 15.3 cents per batch.
Bumkins Flannel Cloth Wipes.
These were given to me FREE so really, I don’t need to calculate this in but for the sake of other’s we will pretend we purchased them. The wipes cost $9.79 per pack of twelve. I feel that four packs, or 48 wipes, would be what is needed. The cost of four packs of wipes comes to $37.72, or 78.6 cents per wipe. That seems high per wipe but we will demonstrate the amount of mileage you can get from this inital invesment later.
The amount of money used on this a few times a month is negligible and not even worth doing math over. This won’t be what makes or breaks cloth wipes for you.
When you add together the cost of the above items, your first batch of 48 wipes will cost you 79.2 cents per wipe. That’s really expensive compared to store bought, but again, we see the savings over the long haul as the wipe cost disappears and cost gets spread out over time.
Subsequent batches (now that the hard cost of wipes is out of the equation) cost 27.7 cents to create a batch, or .58 cents per wipe from that point forward.
Assuming you make two batches of wipes per week, in two years’ time you spend $95.62 total.
Getting a Comparison.
Just for fun, let’s compare this cloth wipe system to Costco’s Kirkland brand pack of 900 baby wipes, which sell for $19.99 or 2.2 cents per wipe…which is a great deal in the ‘sposie wipe world unless you strictly coupon or use some form of reward points.
Let’s also assume, that you use 96 wipes a week to keep the numbers the same. (Which is VERY CONSERVATIVE since disposable wipes tend to disappear MUCH quicker than cloth!) That means the box would last you 2.3 months before you would have to purchase more.
The 11 packs of 9,900 Costco wipes costs $219.89 over the course of 2 years.
The difference saves $124.27 over a two year period…which only increases the longer your kiddo is in diapers. At three years, the difference would be $215.25! Then if you happen to have more than one kiddo the cost savings continue to grow!
No, that amount of money isn’t anywhere close to what you save on cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers…but it’s something! Again, our estimations were very conservative since in our experience cloth wipes are not used anywhere near as fast as disposable wipes…so in reality the savings are likely larger.
A final note: Cloth wipes also just make life easier when you’re already cloth diapering because you can just toss them all in the wet bag together opposed to throwing just the diaper in the wet bag AND then taking the dirty gross wipes to a trash can where they stink things up since they aren’t wrapped up in a disposable diaper. The reverse would be true if you use disposable diapers…what a pain then to have to wash cloth wipes without having to wash the diapers!
A final final note: This post above made me realize we may or may not have a Costco addiction. EEP!
Would you minda sharing how you make the wipes? We’re pretty much sold on cloth diapers but I didn’t know this was an option and am super curious how to make them!
Sure thing Vicky! First I boil water and then pour 2-3 cups in a liquid measuring cup. Then I add the tablespoon of Coconut Oil and when it dissolves in the water, I add a tablespoon of soap. Then I mix it all together and pour it over my wipes from the bottom of the container to the top. I also fold my wipes in such a way that they are easy to pull out, just like disposable wipes! Hope that helps!
Agreed. Cloth wipes are a great investment along with cloth dipes. I did them with my youngest … He is now 5 (sniff). I used baby wash cloths … Perfect size and just toss in with dipes then wash all together.
Thanks for the math! Our cloth wipes are still packed away since we moved, but it’s time to break them out again. I always just use water – no solution or anything – so it’s basically free after paying for the wipes! And I had fun sewing my own flannel wipes!
Awesome! I have two in diapers and cannot stay at home. We do cloth diapers and cloth wipes part time. This means that I mix in disposables for survival purposes, but use mostly cloth when I am home with them. I also do not require my daycare provider to do cloth because I love her so much! Anyway, for all of you ‘do a little of both people’ I too started using cloth wipes. I cut them out of old t-shirts or stained onsies. I started throwing all of my cloth wipes into the disposable wipes bin with the disposable ones (when they are fresh out of the wash). They sop up the extra solution in the bag. I store them in there with them. This way I don’t have to make anything at all. Cloth wipes save SO MUCH MONEY!!!! Seriously and they fit so well in the load of diapers, they really don’t require any extra effort. Thanks again for this post, Amanda! Awesome! Glad I am not the only cloth wiper out there!
Ali – good idea with the baby wash cloths! I have like a zillion in the closet with no purpose since we don’t ever use more than one in the bath. Thanks for the idea!
Sarah, someone on FB also mentioned doing just water and it seems like a great idea! I’ll for sure try that when I am in a pinch!
Karissa, I totally understand why you would cloth at home and sposie the rest of the time! Lots of people do that and I admit I do have a few sposies in the drawer for when I am in a pinch! 🙂 Great idea to use old tshirts and stained onsies! I’ve been needing some more wipes and wanting to make my own, so this is a good starting place! Thanks girl!
Hey Amanda, What do you store your cloth diapers in? And could you share some photos?
Also, do you have any suggestions, tips or resources you can share about how to handle dirty cloth diapers and wipes and how you wash them? What’s your process? That’s the most overwhelming thing to me.
I store the wipes in an old pampers case in her bedroom and in a to-go wipes container for her diaper bag. As for sharing pics…not sure how to do that in comments. 🙁
Oh! And how much water do you boil when you make a batch?
I usually use 3 cups of water or however much to saturate the wipes but not leave a giant puddle in the bottom.
That’s super easy! Thanks Amanda!!
There’s a huge part of the COST factor that is left out of this analysis and that is the cost of washing and drying the wipes, that is the electricity, and the cost of the water used to wash them. I am interested in a TRUE cost analysis and the fact of the matter is that electricity and water are a big part of the expense of cloth wipes and there would be zero cost for electric and water for disposable wipes.