around here, we don’t have too many paper products. in fact, the only paper product you’ll find is toilet paper and even then, part of the household uses cloth wipes for that as well.
i make two sizes of wipes for our general use (in addition to chinese prefolds which rock the world for absorbing spills like there’s no tomorrow). i make 11 x11 for general wipes…runny noses, dirty hands, to clean eggs off with, wipe up watercolor paint spills, etc. and, i make 5 x 5 for the controversial toilet paper replacement.
to make both, i use old flannel sheets. these can be picked up cheaply at thrift stores and garage sales for very reasonable prices and they come in a large variety of colors and designs. i prefer white or light colors, not sure why but that’s what i have so that’s what i use.
to make them, first cut your sheet into strips…the strips should be about 1/2″ larger than you want the finished size to be so for the large wipes, i cut 11 1/2″ and for the small wipes i cut 5 1/2″. there really is no hard and fast on this, just make sure you give yourself a seam allowance for each edge. 1/4″ usually does it for me because i only fold them over once. if you want to completely hide your edges, you’ll want to allow at least 1/2″ for each side. i find this to be a tedious and unnecessary step to completely hide the edges so i don’t.
next, cut those strips into squares.
now, you’re ready to begin sewing. i set the machine to zig zag stitch since i don’t own a serger. i first fold over the edge of the last side i’ll be sewing and then fold over the edge of the first side i’ll be sewing to create the corner. this part i place under the sewing machine foot.
then, i sew down the side, folding over the edge before i get to the end to turn the fabric and sew the next side.
once i’ve gone all the way around, i finish off the stitches by reversing it for a few and then, viola! one wipe is finished.
i used to be fun and sew different colors on the edges but now, i use whatever is in the machine. this time it happened to be a mix of green and brown.
i stash all of these in a rectangular basket i found at the thrift shop. it keeps them all neatly in place and hides them from unsuspecting guests who would freak at the thought of using a reusable wipe. i keep a thunder mug beside one toilet to stash the used ones in and a trash can style basket with a plastic liner next to the other toilet, discretely out of site from guests.
i generally wash these in with the diapers. now that my last one is mostly potty trained, the diapers are used to wipe up messes. i wash them in hot water and use vinegar instead of fabric softener. i also have one of those ‘wonder clean pressure washers‘ that can be purchased from lehman’s. if i need to just wash the wipes, i can do so in there. once we stop using diapers all together, i’ll be washing them all the toilet wipes like that (the general purpose wipes can usually be thrown in with the napkins).
to dry them, i simply shake each one out and stack them all up into a huge stack. in the summer or warmer days, i hang them one the line using a single clothespin to hold up about 7 at a time. in the winter, i lay those stacks on a drying rack behind the wood stove to dry. once a season or so, i will soak these in a sink with oxyclean to brighten them up a bit and remove any funk that might have settled in to them. otherwise, no special treatment is needed.