I thought to blog about this because as I was changing Z2 (he is very and I mean very regular today) I noticed that the wipes are getting really thin and worn and I do get asked this question a lot.
It just makes sense that if you're reusing the diapers, you could reuse the wipes. Once you're done cleaning up, you just toss the wipe in the diaper pail along with the diaper and they all get laundered together.
Any place that sells cloth diapers will also sell cloth wipes. My personal favorite place for cloth diapering supplies is Abby's Lane. There, you'll find a large selection of relatively inexpensive wipes. (It's also where I got my diaper sprayer and wet bag.)
But me, being the frugal mama that I am, didn't buy wipes. Nope. I tried a few things. First, I made my own wipe solution. I would fold up Bounty paper towels and then soak them with the wipe solution. But it was really hard to separate the wet paper towels (and I was getting tired of folding all those darn paper towels) so I put the solution in a spray bottle. When it was time for a diaper change, I'd spray the paper towels with the solution. That worked for a few months until I got tired of making the wipe solution. Then I would just wet up a paper towel with plain water under the faucet. That worked for a while until I realized that it was just plain wasteful to be using all those paper towels. But I didn't want to come out of pocket for some cloth wipes. So . . . I went to Costco and bought a heap of plain white washcloths for about $10.00. I kept half the stack for use as actual washcloths. I took what was left, got out a pair of sharp scissors and proceeded to cut each washcloth in half. There was some fraying but after about 2 or 3 washes, it wasn't an issue any more. If I had a serger, I could have eliminated the fraying with just a quick stitch up the side. Also in my collection of wipes are cut-up flannel receiving blankets (which frayed very little) and those baby washcloths that you usually get a whole bunch of at baby showers. So it's a mishmash collection of wipes that I have but they work well--far better than disposable wipes. It generally takes about three or four disposable wipes to do the job of one cloth wipe.
When we're out and about though, I do use disposable wipes. Earlier on, I used cloth wipes and had a peri bottle (which came with my birth kit) with water in it. I'd wet the wipe and get the job done. But it was messy and wet. So now on the go, I use Seventh Generation wipes . I get the refill packaging since that travels a whole lot better and is cheaper. Using disposable wipes only when we're out means that I buy wipes maybe 3 times a year. Since I don't use them much, I keep them in a Ziploc bag to help keep them wet. They're also good for cleaning up sticky messes that children are bound to make (think spitting out half-chewed raisins).
So basically, just like every other aspect of cloth diapering, there are many ways to do it. You could go super cheap and make your own or add a little luxury to the mix. If you cloth diaper, using cloth wipes just seems like the most sensible way to go.
Z2 is almost out of diapers now so I don't think I'll need to invest any more into diapering him--at least I hope not. But if I do, I'll be on the lookout for creative ways to save money while getting the job done.