Well, we’re five weeks in, and if you were hoping for some deep and meaningful insights on fatherhood then you’re going to be disappointed — I can barely remember my name half the time. I do have some complex thoughts waiting to be written up (including some cycling stuff, you’ll be delighted to know), but for know you’re going to have to put up with something that requires significantly less brainpower on the part of the author.
A review of the reusable baby wipes produced by Cheeky Wipes.
Why would anyone want reusable baby wipes?
…is no doubt your first question.
Firstly, you can save money in the long run. A quick rummage through Tesco.com (other grocery stores are available) suggests that the average disposable baby wipe is between three and four pence when bought in bulk. Assuming you use a couple of wipes each time, you’re looking at around ten pence per bum-change. Call it ten changes a day to make the arithmetic easy, and that’s a quid every day on cleaning the backside of your beloved infant. £365 per year.
You can get 40 washable wipes for £19.50 from Cheeky Wipes, which is plenty for full-time use over that year. Spend the difference on some rewarding bottles of wine – you deserve it.
Second reason. They work really well! I don’t want to get too graphic in case you’re eating, but the average disposable wipe tends to smear more than wipe. Washable wipes have a nice towelled surface that lifts the poo away with panache, style, and the minimum amount of distribution…
Lastly; the usual environmental gumph about not throwing away vast amounts of wipes and nappies.
Why Cheeky Wipes?
Quite a few folk now offer reusable wipes of some form or other. Cheeky Wipes stand out in selling complete kits of everything to make life around the changing mat slightly more straightforward.
Forty quid gets you the full set, consisting of:
- 25 wipes
- Two big tupperware boxes; one for clean, one for dirty
- Two ‘travel bags’ – again one for clean, one for dirty
- A bottle of scented oil to give the clean wipes a nice smell
- Another bottle of tea tree oil that you could put in the mucky wipes box
- A free double wet-bag, as you’re spending over £25.
You can’t avoid the fact that £40 is an awful lot for something you could basically reproduce with a couple of plastic supermarket tubs and a cut up towel. You’re paying for the convenience of everything working nicely together.
Let’s look at what you get.
The cheeky wipes
Oddly, there’s not a great deal to say about the actual wipes. They’re 15cm square (you can upgrade to 20cm square, but then they wouldn’t fit in the box very well), with a terry towel surface on one side, and a softer fleece side on the other. Theoretically you’d use the gentle side for cleaning hands and faces, but I gave up differentiating after a week as Owen didn’t seem to care either way. The label is on the fleece side, but it’s still not immediately obvious which side is which — making them different colours would be a definite help, if Cheeky Wipes are reading this…
They wipe well. Better than disposable wipes.
They are maybe a little fragile – we’ve got two where the hem is starting to come away. Perhaps 1400 was too high a spin speed on the washing machine – certainly after dropping down to 1000 it hasn’t happened again. Still, this is a bit of a shame.
This is the reason you’re buying the kit, rather than just the wipes.
Happily, then, the boxes are very good and well thought out. For example; the clean wipes box is just a tad smaller than the mucky, so if you’re heading away for a few nights one stacks completely inside the other.
The closures are chunky — secure enough to make them watertight, yet a doddle to open with one hand (which is important when your other hand is full of baby’s ankles). There’s a rubber gasket around the rim of both to make sure nothing leaks, and the boxes themselves are very solid, so they don’t flex even with water in.
The mucky wipes box has a mesh bag that hooks onto the rim, which means you avoid having to handle poo-ey wipes from box to washing machine. Just grab the drawstring and lob the whole bag in.
Not as good. For a start, they’re not actually waterproof as the seams aren’t taped and the top is just a drawstring, so you need to be careful when putting them inside your changing bag. We had one occasion where daddy failed to fully squeeze out some clean wipes before packing for an outing, and as the fabric bag with baby’s clothes in ended up next to the clean wipe bag, everything got a little damp. This was Not Good.
They’re also a little on the small side. In their defence they’re big enough for the wipes, but you wouldn’t be able to get a real nappy in there as well.
The mucky wipes bag has a mesh insert that zips out so you can throw it straight in the wash, but I’d swap the convenience of that for properly waterproof seams and a roll-and-buckle closure at the top.
The free double wet-bag with stars has zip closures (one of which is a bit of a faff to open and close), and again leaks through the seams.
I suspect we’re going to have to buy some little dry bags for outings, as these aren’t really up to the job.
According to the many pamphlets we’ve received from the NHS you’re only meant to use water on baby’s bum. However, a bit of gentle lavender never hurt anyone, eh? Anyway, it says they’re essential oils, which is clearly a good thing.
A few drops of the oil in the clean wipes box gives all the wipes a very subtle, pleasant scent. Go for it – we won’t tell the midwife if you don’t.
The wipes in action!
Yup, they work really well.
If you’re really interested in our ‘wipe utilisation process’, read on. Otherwise skip to the next bit.
- Wipes come out of the washing machine. Check the barrel carefully – they tend to get lodged in odd corners.
- No need to dry; they can go straight into the clean box. If any are getting a little stained, hang them up in bright daylight for 24 hours. They’ll be good as new.
- Before filling the clean box, add a few drops of oil, then fill to the line with fresh water. This blasts the oil apart and avoids it all soaking into one wipe.
- Add your wipes to the clean box. I make sure the softer side is uppermost, but that’s more my slight OCD than for any practical purpose… Return the mesh bag to the mucky box.
- As you use wipes, lob them in the mucky box. I’m not going into detail on bum wiping…
- When you’re running low, hoik the mesh bag out of the box, and lob into the washing machine. For us, this is every other day when we also wash our nappies, but you could combine with any other wash. 60 degrees, and remember to knock the spin speed down to no higher than 1000. No fabric softener, and a moderate amount of non-bio. Too much apparently clogs the fibres, or something.
You’ll get less poo on you than using disposable wipes. Honest.
Would we buy them again?
It’s hard to get too excited over what is, after all, a glorified piece of cloth and some plastic tubs. However, it makes keeping Owen clean slightly easier, and saves up a few hundred quid a year. What’s not to like?
The bags are disappointing, but I’m sure you could find a use for them. If Cheeky Wipes ever offer a cheaper kit without the bags, I’d heartily recommend getting that and then picking up some cheap small dry-bags online. If you’re also using real nappies I’d think about getting colourful wipes rather than white, as it makes it slightly more straightforward to pick apart your laundry!
Consider grabbing some extra wipes at the checkout, as 25 is a little on the low side if you’re slightly slow with the washing and a few might fall apart over the months when you forget to adjust the spin speed…
If you can afford £40 amongst the other masses of expenses as your child is born, go for the full kit. You’ll make your money back after a few months. If not, Google for washable wipes and grab the cheapest you can find, and pick up some plastic tubs from the supermarket. It won’t be quite as easy, but it’s still better than faffing around with the little sticky tab on the packet of disposable wipes. Which you inevitably forget to seal at 2am, and dry out the entire pack.
See? I managed a whole review on ‘things to wipe away poo’! And they said I was mad to try…
Brace yourselves for another one on nappies.
P.S: if, shortly after ordering these wipes, your bank calls you up to confirm a few transactions (because of something completely unrelated, I hasten to add), I can say with complete confidence that the person on the end of the phone will be sure that ‘Cheeky Wipes’ is some kind of deviant sex thing. It is to the credit of the lady at Tesco Bank that she didn’t snigger out loud.
P.P.S. It does mention on the site that Cheeky Wipes are also ideal if you’re considering going without toilet paper. I know it’s the same principle, but I can confirm that is not something we’ll ever be doing. Just in case I invite you round, and you’re now panicking.