February 23, 2007

Drawer Pulls, and a Diaper Wipes Recipe

Last night Paul got out a drill and finished the drawer-pull-replacement project. On one hand I am grateful to him for fixing a problem. On the other hand it is so typical of him to come along for the fun part at the end: he didn't just drill bigger holes, he also installed the new pulls. Installing the new pulls is the best part.

Well. Moving on. Here is the bureau first with the old pulls (white, black-screwhead center), and then with the new (brushed antiqued coppery brown metal):


An unanticipated happy thing is that the new pulls coordinate almost exactly with the frame of a mirror we have above the bureau. But I am still not certain these are the Right Pulls. They seem small. I like them better than the old pulls, but maybe big loopy rings would be even better?

This morning I have been doing very boring tasks indeed. First, Elizabeth broke the household record for "how soon after getting dressed will Mommy have to change an item of clothing due to pee" by being soaked through when I picked her up out of her crib and cuddled her. So both crib sheets got changed, and both twins got baths. Then as I was dressing the babies, I noticed I was using the last diaper, so I refilled the bin. Then I thought I'd better make more diaper wipes, considering we'd been out of them since yesterday and I was starting to push my luck. YAWN. This motherhood gig: so rewarding, so fulfilling.

Those of you who would have need of a homemade diaper wipes recipe have probably already run into this one. Nevertheless, I will post it here. When I first encountered this recipe, it was presented not only as a way to save a few pennies, but as a way to custom-make your own wipes if your baby happened to be sensitive to commercial wipes, or if you wanted to better control the ingredients. I grew to prefer them, and so even though they're a small hassle to make, they're worth it to me. But I also keep the commercial kind on hand for times when I've run out of the homemade kind and don't get around to making more right away, and also for in the diaper bag.

First you need the right container. I bought mine at Walmart. It's a Rubbermaid Servin' Saver, 3 quart. It's a squarish cylinder shape. I have four of them, because it's less trouble to make these wipes if you make a bunch at once.

Next you need the right paper towels. Apparently they have to be Bounty Big Roll. I tried a couple of other kinds (I was assuming that the recipe was put out by Bounty, and that the kind didn't actually matter) and they turned into pulp. I get the regular sheet kind, but maybe select-a-size would be good, too, I don't know. Depends on how customized you want your diaper wipe experience.

Use a big sharp knife and cut the roll of paper towels in half so you have two short rolls. Wiggle and twist the inner cardboard tube until it comes out (it usually brings part of a paper towel with it in a little tufty fountain; that's fine). In the container, combine 1 tablespoon of baby oil, 2 tablespoons of baby shampoo, and 2 cups of water. I don't think exact measurements are crucial. If I'm in a hurry, I just pour in a slog of baby oil and two slogs of baby shampoo, then put in two bathroom-sink cups of water. Swish it around with your hand to mix it, then put a half-roll of paper towels in. Put the lid on, wait about 15 seconds, turn the whole thing upside down, and let it sit for half an hour or so. Then turn it right side up and use wipes by pulling them out from the center.

Cost information: Around here, a 2-pack of Bounty Big Roll paper towels sells for about $3.30. Each roll makes two containers of wipes, so a 2-pack is enough for four containers at about 83 cents each. Each container is 90 wipes. Then you'd have to add a little for whatever the cost is of the oil and soap you use. I like to use store-brand baby oil, the kind with something nice like aloe, and Johnson's Baby Shampoo or Baby Magic. Choosing those parts is the benefit of this recipe as far as I'm concerned: it's nice to choose a scent I like (Johnson's lavender baby shampoo is nice), and it's nice to be able to add more oil in winter, or more/less water if the wipes seem too dry/wet.

Something that raises the cost in our household is that Paul can't seem to wrap his mind around the "paper towels" concept, and instead thinks of the wipes as toilet paper. He pulls out a big long loop, maybe five or six wipes in a big handful, and uses that for a diaper change. If he needs a second wipe, he takes out another big handful. He claims this is because it's "impossible" to rip off a single sheet, but I can personally testify that it is indeed possible, and that once you get the hang of it you can easily do it one-handed.

21 comments:

Tessie said...

So obviously you keep the lid on the "batch" of wipes until you need one...can you get this off with one hand too?

I've never seen a "recipe" for diaper wipes, but I can definitely see how mixing and matching scents would be fun. I like the lavender wipes but they don't have those in the cheap Target brand I buy.

Swistle said...

Yes, the lid comes off easily one-handed--in fact, when I first made this recipe I thought the water mixture was going to come pouring out when I turned the container upside down. (It doesn't.) It's not the kind of lid that curves down sealingly and needs to be pried off, it's the flat kind that almost perches on top and can be peeled off.

Mommy Daisy said...

The dresser turned out nice. I hate when my hubby does the "fun" part too. You did most of the work, you should have been able to get the gratification of finishing it. Oh well, it's done and looks good. I agree that maybe something bigger would fit better, though. Just a thought. Like I should talk. We have a dresser in our room that is missing 5 of its 8 pulls. My husband brought it from his parents' house when he moved out years ago. And we've just lived with it ever since. I can't remember how many times I've told him that we need to get pulls for it. Because, I'm the one that has to mess with is twice as much when I'm putting all HIS clothes away.

About the baby wipes. I NEVER thought of making my own. What a great suggestion. I will definately do a price comparison to the wipes I buy and consider doing this myself. (Right now I've found that there is only one brand of wipes the I like, so it costs me more of course.) Thanks for sharing.

rene said...

Delurking to say LOVE the dresser. As a suggestion, why not just replace the 2 on the top drawer with loops. I think all loops would be too much. Just my 2 cents.

Shelly said...

I've never heard of making your own wipes either, but I am totally going to try it now. Thanks for sharing!!

Devan said...

we make our own wipes solution, but we cloth diaper and use cloth wipes so we just make it in a spray bottle and spray on and wipe with the cloth wipes.
Yours sounds similar to ours. I usually skip the oil though, doesn't seem to mix well with cloth dipes. I always use the lavendar baby wash. It smells so nice. :)

el-e-e said...

I am not very granola-y or even very good at doing little things to save money, and I have to say, this intrigues me. I have never heard of making your own wipes before! Darn good idea. :)

el-e-e said...

Oof, I.... hope the "granola" comment didn't sound the way I think it sounds. really, i love the wipes and i wish I WAS more granola in many ways. sorry if it came out wrong.

*going back to my work like I should be doing anyway, slink*

nowheymama said...

Hmm... interesting. I read a recipe for those wipes on the notjustbeans.com website awhile ago and thought about it, but then I started to have a reaction to that website's author similar to my (spoken in a whisper) flylady reaction and never tried it. You have convinced me to try again.

Swistle said...

el-e-e-- Ha ha! No, I know exactly what you mean. And in fact, it occurs to me that when "everyone" knew about this recipe, I was living on the west coast, a very granola-y area indeed. Moms used to make the wipes with bottled water and organic baby oils/soaps. Plus of course the bleached, resistent-to-breaking-down, plastic-wrapped paper towels.

Devan-- We used cloth with our firstborn, and I found the same thing: the shampoo-water mixture was good (the hospital gave us the most perfect squirt bottles ever, and I keep hoarding them with each baby even now that we use disposables, just because they were so perfect), but the oil seemed to get all icky, and was hard to mix in (there should be an expression for that, something about oil...and water...and not mixing...). And I worried it might somehow kill the detergent in the washing machine...or something.

aoife said...

you could make a really nice scent if you substituted rose water for some of the regular water... mmm.. That would smell great. (hint: cheap rosewater is at the international grocery -- middle eastern cuisine uses rose water a lot in food)

Lucy's Mom said...

You have inspired me. I have a dresser that desperately needs new handles. I've had "half-handles" and "no-handles" for a very, very long time. I'm going to Home Depot tomorrow. I swear.

Kelsey said...

A friend of mine does the same thing, but never got around to giving me the recipe. Seems easy enough! Although we are (hopefully) headed out of the diaper stage for now. Maybe I'll tuck the recipe away for the theoretical next child.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that the wipes start to smell funny after a couple of days? Every time I've tried this, after about 3 days the wipes start smelling musty =(. Maybe it's just me...

Swistle said...

Anon- It's a funny coincidence you would mention this now. I've never had a problem with them smelling musty, and in fact I have four wipes containers so I can make four and put three aside for later, and they've always smelled nice--like baby soap. BUT! The last batch I made, ALL FOUR CONTAINERS smelled musty after a few days. I thought I was imagining it, but then they MILDEWED: grey and pink spots. EEEEEEWWWW. I washed out the containers carefully and made just one containerful, and this one is still fine after a few weeks. I'm wondering if some weird little spores snuck in with the last batch? I had washed the containers out with a sponge, and I've heard bad things about sponges and their capacity to harbor ickies. This time when I washed out, I used soap and water and a paper towel.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I wonder. I tried just putting the wet mixture in a spray bottle and spraying right before I used the wipe, but even the mix in the spray bottle started to smell funny. So then I looked up different recipes on the web, and some talked about boiling the water first to kill anything that might grow, or adding a little vinegar or tea tree oil...but I had the same results. I can't remember though if I ever actually washed the containers out in between each use...I probably just figured that I had put clean, soapy water in and so it should be fine. I'll have to try again with the "washing things out between each use" idea and see if that works =). I haven't made it totally through your archives yet (you know how it goes: 4 children = not being able to sit at the computer all day), but I'm dying to know if your husband got you a good sparkly for your anniversary =).

Swistle said...

Anon- This may be unrelated, but: usually I use Johnson's baby shampoo for the soap, and the time it got musty I used Baby Magic. But I THINK I've used Baby Magic successfully before. Boiling the water is a really good idea--and maybe swishing the container out with boiling water, too.

I'm dying to know about the sparkly, too! Anniversary is coming up.

Anonymous said...

Seems like I used Baby Magic when I started, but I know I used something different the last couple times. Oh well! I'll see if the rinsing the container thing out will work. I should really come up with a name so that I'm not just "anonymous who's commenting about homemade wipes" =), but I can't think of anything so very cool as "Swistle". How did you come up with that (if you can tell me without blowing your cover ;-) )? Sorry if you covered this somewhere already; I'm caught up through April, and although I want to keep reading tonight because your posts are HILARIOUS, you are such a talented writer, and you are so nice to respond to all of us strangers who are enjoying a glimpse into your life, I really should go to bed before the baby wakes up. You really do have a way with words! Is it so fun to have perfect strangers telling you how cool you are =)? I don't know about you, but I'm surrounded by my kids all day and don't get much in the way of positive reinforcement from them. No, "Mom, thank so much for the time you put into that new chore chart; you are awesome!" or "Mom, that new behavior modification chart is just brilliant; thanks for coming up with that!" or "Thanks for keeping the cookie jar full!" or "Wow, it's so nice to have clean clothes every time I open my drawers!" Silly kids =)!

Swistle said...

Anon- Before I had a blog myself, I used my own first name as a commenting name--but that doesn't work as well for all the Jens! You're right that telling the story of "Swistle" is tricky because of cover-blowing, but the simplified version is that it's a twist on a childhood nickname, so it's a name that's highly anonymous but still feels comfortable, like it's my real name.

YES, it is VERY FUN to have people telling me how awesome I am, especially when I am sitting here in my uncleaned house with toenail polish flaking off onto the carpet and an 8-year-old arguing with me that I don't know ANYTHING. I highly recommend blogging if you can string sentences together, which clearly you can. The best part is writing something like, "Ug, this particular situation is making me NUTS" and having people say, "OH ME TOO!!"

Anonymous said...

Yes, I could just use my first name, but it's so fun to be a little mysterious =). But today's one of those days where the only "meaningful/mysterious" names I can think of are things like: "not quite the mom I thought I'd be" (which seems a little long) or "this isn't what I signed up for" (again, long, and a little depressing) or "exhauseted momma" (maybe a little redundant there) or "some people only get ONE child like this...how did I get THREE out of four"...but those all seem so negative, so maybe I should go for something like "Doing my best"; short and sort of positive, even if it isn't just inherently cool like yours =).

I especially love it when my 8 year old asks me every question that pops into his head all day long and then argues with me when I answer! I'm thinking, "If you weren't going to believe me, WHY DID YOU ASK?"

Blogging seems like a very interesting thing, but I am so behind on so many other things (all of those pesky housekeeping things, of course, but more important things too like actually getting the pictures OFF of the digital camera), there are SO MANY blogs out there and I don't think I could really add anything meaningful to the blogging world, especially when there are people like you who are just GIFTED at writing, and I just can't quite seem to think straight still even though the baby (16 months) is mostly sleeping through the night...3 or 4 days a week.

I'm almost caught up on your archives, but I'm going to have to give it up for the night because it is 12:30 (I'm so going to regret this in the morning!), but I have been enjoying laughing all evening =), and your kids are beautiful! And I think you're great for answering your commenters even though you have so many!

Swistle said...

Anon- I think we have the same 8-year-old!