June 17, 2005

Home Workshop-made Baby Wipes

papertowel_wipes.jpgAs Make's blog post notes, there are all kinds of sites that tell you how to make your own baby wipes by cutting a roll of paper towels and saturating it with a homebrew of solution.

But when they give advice on the topic at all, most of those sites suggest using an electric kitchen knife to cut the paper towels in half.

Forget that. Bryan Horling has published step-by-step instructions for making your own baby wipes using a table saw.

Horling reasons, "Now, a box of 384 premade wipes costs around $10. A bulk package of 8 paper towel rolls costs around $5, and makes somewhere around 900 wipes. So the former runs around 2.6 cents per wipe, while the latter is about 0.6 cents per wipe. Plus you have the intangibles, like a personal feeling of accomplishment and the fact that you get to use the table saw."

While no one can argue with the intangibles, I do have to question two things: his recipe and his numbers. Those hi-falutin' store-bought wipes have things like aloe and lanolin, too, not just water, oil and soap. If you're gonna try this at home, search around for another, butt-friendlier recipe [there are a bunch on this Indiana home birth site, for example].

Now cost: We get the best wipes around at Costco, where a case of 576 wipes (6 packs of 96) costs around $17, or 2.9 cents/wipe. But an 8-pack of paper towels for $5? Where's that? Costco? If you can go to Costco for paper towels, you can go to Costco for wipes, especially when they're superior. And you can still cut all your paper towels in half on the table saw just for fun. It's win-win.

The paper towels I see are easily twice that much, which would raise the cost of homemade wipes from 0.6 cents to 1.2 before you start adding in the cost of that calendula oil, aloe gel, and tea tree oil your baby's butt deserves. [Of course, if you're a hippie, you may already have this stuff around the yurt. Good for you.] And anyway, if you live in a city, how're you supposed to move around giant fridge-sized packs of paper towels? And unless you throw a doily on top and call them a sidetable, where are you gonna put them? A single roll of Bounty costs two bucks at Duane Reade, so making 200 wipes at a time ends up costing the same as Costco's.

Conclusion: Making your own baby wipes is a lifestyle luxury, an indulgence available only to the country (i.e., suburban) gentleman.

Homemade Baby Wipes [mobry, via make blog]

[Update: Don't have a table saw? With the money you save making 25,000 wipes, you could buy yourself this fine DEWALT DW744S 10" Portable Table Saw, $499.99 at Amazon.]

6 Comments

If I make my own baby wipes, can I still use the baby wipe warmer we got as a shower gift? If my kidís butt deserves aloe and all sorts of good stuff, then it certainly deserves a warm wipe.

I am all for using a table saw any chance I get. Oh wait, I too live in NYC and donít have a table saw lying around my apartment.

We make our own wipes because we like them better. They don't dry out as much as the storebought. They are also easier to rip into smaller pieces thus you only use what you need.

P.S. We are definately city folk although being the Minneapolis variety we do have room for a table saw

I've been looking for a good excuse to head to Home Depot to buy a table saw. Question is: Will my wife understand that we'll have to move the crib out of the apartment to fit the thing in here?

mmm, why cut the paper towel in half? Can't you just use toiletpaper, handy tear-off size and exactly half the size of a papertowel..

I don't get it, but then I'm living at the silicon farm in CA.

Yuo can't use TP for the same reason you can't use cheap paper towels: they disintegrate when wet.

As for why you couldn't just use good, old-fashioned toilet paper, there's usually more cleaning/washing to be done than a few dry sheets of TP can accomplish. Plus there's the 10x day factor. But you're welcome to try. Let us know how it goes.

I always used the backup solution of buying the slightly-more-expensive but more handily proportioned "select-a-size" paper towels, and simply running them under the sink when I needed them wet. Might not have actually saved any money, but I didn't feel bad about flushing them, and I was buying them anyway, so it felt like I was "cheating the system".

Screw the Huggies/Pampers/Luvs Man anyway.

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