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Reusable baby wipes + baby wipe alternatives: What to use if you can’t find baby wipes at the store during COVID-19 + other emergencies

out of baby wipes covid-19 - baby wipes alternatives - reusable baby wipes

During the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, while sooo many of us are self-isolating and staying home with baby(ies), our local grocery stores are running out of things like hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Now, stores are running out of baby wipes, and some babies are suffering from the use of the wrong wipe.

I've collected some tips from some of our Certified Coaches and trainees and our Instagram and Facebook followers to help you find an alternative to baby wipes today, including reusable baby wipes and other creative options.

Let's not let this "pandemic" take away good baby hygiene! (And see this post for info on alternatives to disposable diapers, in case there is a diaper shortage as well.)

baby wipe alternatives

4 alternatives to disposable baby wipes

Let's first take a look at what our GDF Coach Trainee Aysia Platte has to say.

Right now, families are discovering shortages of disposable baby care items like baby wipes, which can feel scary if that is the product that your family is most accustomed to using. We can help with some strategies, using household items you may already have (or even none at all… read on!).

1. Use time at home, practicing social distancing, to attune to your child’s rhythms and offer the potty

Babies have an innate desire to keep bodily waste away from their bodies, so respond to that instinct and avoid the need for wipes altogether.

Spending time at home together allows for ample observation time to begin an elimination communication practice.

Our free Easy Start Guide has all the information you need to get started today.

cut up washcloths to make reusable baby wipes

2. Repurpose clean washcloths

Old washcloths you have around your house have soft enough fibers to protect the baby's delicate bottom, while being durable enough to be used for wiping.

Bonus— if you have a peri bottle left over from your child’s birth, it can be used to spritz water before you wipe.

3. Cut flannel into squares

Flannel withstands washing, however if single-use products fit your family’s lifestyle best, natural fiber-made flannel squares are a fully biodegradable option (unlike most disposable wipes).

4. Order washable cloth wipes

If you are a professional providing vital community aid, like a healthcare professional, and your child is in alternative care during this time, consider supplying your care provider with mama-run companies’ ready-made products like GroVia cloth wipes and a Tiny Undies wet bag to store them in for ease of transport.

grovia-reusable cloth wipes

We know that you are a resourceful parent who will do whatever they can to promote their child’s wellbeing, so if you need more help establishing a routine that fits your family’s lifestyle while facing diaper insecurity, please consider reaching out to a Go Diaper Free Certified Coach. We are happy to give virtual support.

2 more tips on reusable cloth wipes

Next, let's hear from our Certified Coach Malissa Moench.

Here are a couple tips on cloth wipes:

•In a small spray bottle, put in a tablespoon of soap (I use Dr Bronners) and a drop or two of lavender essential oil. If you have fractionated coconut oil, put in a teaspoon of that. Fill the rest of the way with water. This is a cloth wipes spray. Spray cloth wipes and/or baby's bottom and wipe baby clean.

•Bath washcloths can be used for cloth wipes. Alternately, cut and hem flannel receiving blankets to use as cloth wipes.

Even more ways to get through a baby wipes shortage

Finally, let's hear some tips from our Instagram and Facebook followers...

I posted this question to our @godiaperfree Instagram and Facebook pages today and got the following responses on IG. Scroll down to read through all of the amazing advice from our community.

Now, we'd like to hear what you have to say.

In the comments below, please share:

What disposable baby wipes alternative are you using during the COVID-19 pandemic? Or has this situation caused you to re-think and switch to reusable baby wipes?

As always, thanks to our coach and trainee contributors and our Instagram and Facebook followers - and to you for reading with us today!

xx Andrea


PS - here's the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)


  1. Avatar Mara on March 18, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Hey there :-) I just wanted to say that you should think over that cloth wipe spray twice, as this way the soap will stay on your babies skin which is no good as it can dry it out and even destroy its natural protective coating. Also you should keep in mind that essential oils can be really dangerous for babies and toddlers and should be used in moderation and only if you plan to use it on your babies bottom (not to wipe her face after feeding for example).
    Think of what you want your wipes to do: they should clean away messes and possibly even disinfect a little bit and they should take care of babies skin. My personal tip is to take a big jar or a lunchbox and to fill it up with approximately 12 cloth wipes (you can cut out squares of a Flanell bedsheet and sew two of them together). After that you boil some water to sanitize it and fill up a mug with that. Now you wanna dissolve a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil in that, wait till it is a little colder, add 2 drops (or 1 drop for newborns) of tea tree oil and pour it over the wipes. Wait for about 1-2 hours and use them as you normally would. Wash on a hot cycle and do it over and over again. The water cleans, the tea tree oil sanitizes and the coconut oil will naturally care for your babies skin (no cream needed anymore). Been doing this for our two little boys for a year by now and I am really happy I ditched the disposable wipes and all that chemical stuff that comes with them :-)
    Take care!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on March 22, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you for the info Mara!! It sounds like you have a great system figured out, I appreciate you sharing it with us all. xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Judith on March 22, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    We have actually always used plain water (with reusable wipes) to wipe our sun’s bottom and it works just fine. It’s very clean and there’s no risk of allergies. In my opinion it’s not really necessary to desinfect anything. We don’t do that neither after going to the toilet, right? And if you’re ECing you do it immediately after the pee or the poo, so there has been little or no contact with the skin anyway.

    • Avatar Mara on March 23, 2020 at 3:06 am

      I totally agree with you Judith and would do the same thing for my kids too! Unfortunately the EC-idea came way too late for my partners sons and now they are really stubborn when it comes to potty training (they are three and five and live part time at their mothers place which makes it even more difficult as she finds it pretty normal to still diaper them and even tells them there would be no need to go potty). However the first thing when I moved in was to ditch the reusable wipes and the second was to put the smaller one into cloth diapers when he is with us. The smaller one always had issues with diaper rash which has become a little less by now, but he still needs a little coating of “cream” (coconut oil) for if not his butt would probably look like a raspberry. Same thing goes for the tea tree oil. It seems he needs that skin-soothing effect. So for 100%-EC-babies your totally right but for part-timers or diapered ones the recipe might be helpful. :-)

      • Avatar Judith on March 23, 2020 at 11:51 am

        Wow, it seems like a difficult situation there with their mother not really supporting you. Good luck, and indeed, in their case a softer lotion will be nice!

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on March 23, 2020 at 1:49 pm

        That’s so sad Mara. It’s good that you are working on potty learning when the boys are with you. Hopefully their mom will get on board soon! xx Andrea

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on March 23, 2020 at 1:48 pm

      That’s easy peasy Judith, thank you for sharing! xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Mara on March 24, 2020 at 2:46 am

    Thank you both for your support! It might be complicated but somehow we’ll get there! ^_^ Happy pottying you guys :*

  4. Avatar Rose on May 10, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    I use cotton washclothes as reusable wipes, but my husband prefers disposable wipes that he can pull out of a box for poops so I dampen a bunch of (unseparated) Bounty napkins and put into old Huggies wipes boxes. You have to pull harder than store bought wipes to separate the sheets but it works very well, and is of a larger size so great for cleaning poop.

    Only thing to keep in mind is home made wipes dont have “preservatives” so if kept damp for too long (over a week?) it may go mouldy. So I only do 10 sheets a time and have two boxes I alternate between, and make sure each box gets finished and is let dry completely in between uses:)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 11, 2020 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Rose! Thank you for the suggestions, those are great ideas!! You are right, you don’t want to make too many napkin/paper towel wipes up ahead of time. xx Andrea

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