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Help! My Washable Wipes Are Falling Apart

Reusable wipes are a great alternative to disposable baby wipes or toilet wipes.

They're eco-friendly and kind to your family's skin. And they'll save you a lot money too which is so important at the moment with the cost of living crisis.

After your initial outlay (£49.99 for our kit with 25 bum wipes PLUS 25 hands & faces wipes), you shouldn't have to buy anything more for at least 6 months. And even then that will only be a top up of essential oil or our spray bottle of wet & wipe spray.

Happiness Guaranteed - Love our wipes or your money back

We reckon swapping to reusable wipes could save you £200 a year, even with the cost of washing and drying.

But sometimes we hear this question from a customer. "Help, my reusable wipes falling apart!"

Here's why your reusable wipes might be falling apart:

End thread fraying

This top picture is what we hear about mostly. Once you have washed your Cheeky Wipes for the first time, the end overlocking thread may fray a little.

That's absolutely normal and has no impact on your reusable baby wipes at all. You can simply trim the end thread with scissors if it's bothering you.

Wipes which are 3 years old which have an overlocker hole in them

Overlocker missed the edge of the wipe

This happens less often but in a production run of 100,000 wipes, it does occasionally occur. The overlocked which seals the edge of the wipes hasn't quite caught the edge of the wipes correctly. When the wipes are put through the washing machine it creates a hole at the top of the wipe.

The picture you can see above is from Erika, one of our Customer Services team.  These wipes were purchased in 2020 when she fostered a baby boy for a year before he found his forever family.  One of the wipes had an overlocker hole.  It never got worse and has survived many washes since. 

Nevertheless, if this happens to one of your wipes, please contact us and we'll replace as many wipes are affected.  We want all our customers to be 100% happy with their wipes.

Wipes aren't being dried between washes

Knackered Bamboo Wipes - Rotted Through

This happens VERY rarely and it always slightly astonishes us when it does....

How on earth does a set of wipes get into this state?

But if you leave your wipes wet all the time, not drying between uses, they will rot. It's more likely to happen with bamboo wipes which aren't as sturdy as cotton or organic cotton. The wipes shown were bamboo wipes.

We recommend keeping your cloth wipes soaking in the fresh wipes box with water and some wipes solution to make them nice smelling.

Then use your wipes for hands & faces or cleaning bums, whichever.

Pop the dirty wipes into the mesh bag in the mucky wipes box and then wash at 40c or 60c, depending on the type of wipes you have.

Once your wipes are cleaned, you should dry them before next use. It's OK now and again to just immediately resoak them, but if you do it regularly, your wipes may rot through.  As seen above!

Using bleach on your cloth wipes

If you use bleach on your wipes, you will also damage them. Some cloth nappy forums recommend using bleach to sanitise nappies or wipes. PLEASE don't follow this advice. You'll damage your wipes and nappies beyond use and invalidate your warranty.

Washing wipes with nappies which have velcro tabs

If you use cloth nappies and don't close the velcro tabs, these tabs will stick to EVERTHING in your wash. This can create a huge tangled ball which all rubs up against one another in the machine. This can destroy your wipes too. Literally shredding them to pieces in the wash.

Close your reusable nappy tabs before washing!

How long do reusable wipes last?

This is a little bit of a how long is a piece of string question. We say on average that reusable wipes will last for 18 months to 2 years.  However it depends on:


Which fabric your reusable wipes are made from

Generally, microfibre and cotton wipes will last longer than bamboo wipes. Bamboo terry is made from bamboo viscose and cotton terry and generally isn't as sturdy as the other fabrics.

In saying that however, I have some bamboo plush wipes amongst my toilet paper wipes and they are as good as new 4 years down the line!

'We are a large nursery setting that use the microfiber wipes for hands and faces. They are used and washed daily but last incredibly well, so well we have just brought a new set after 4 years of use!' Emma via Trustpilot

How often you wash your cloth wipes

We recommend washing your wipes every other day. This is the optimum balance for longevity of your wipes. If you wash them every day, they will wear out faster. If you only wash them every 3 or 4 days, the ammonia in the pee can start to wear out the wipes!

How long your wash cycles are

As the Nappy Science Gang reported back in 2016, wear and tear in the washing machine is what eventually wears out your nappies, rather than whether you use bio or non-bio.

Bio powder is recommended as it does a better job at lower temperatures so is better for your nappies and the environment.

However you'll need a decent wash length to get your wipes clean. My Samsung washing machine generally does a good job of my wipes in the hour long daily wash cycle.

If you're washing with your cloth nappies and wet bags you may have longer washes which is fine but you may need to replace your wipes slightly quicker. Remember to always close your velcro tabs!

It's also worth remembering that even after your wipes are a bit threadbare, they can still be used for a multitude of other uses.  Messy play clear ups, food spills, sticky fingers....

We hope this has reassured you that it is worthwhile investing in reusable wipes.  Aside from the money saving element, you'll know exactly what you're putting on your baby's bottom.  Plus you'll be reducing your waste HUGELY.

If you found this article interesting, you may also enjoy:

Can Baby Wipes Cause Eczema

5 Tips for making reusable wipes easy


About the author: Helen Rankin is a Mum of 4, who founded Cheeky Wipes, the original reusable wipes kit back in 2008 after disposable wipes caused her eczema to flare up. She went on to develop their range of 'Simple Reusables' to include period pants, reusable sanitary pads and finally reusable two part nappies and pocket nappies.

The Cheeky customer services team love helping educate customers to make the switch to reusables.  They just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long! The Company was recognised for their hard work in developing environmentally friendly products with the Queens Award in Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.