How to Make Homemade Wipes

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Use these simple recipes to keep a supply of homemade wipes on hand for disinfecting, cleaning, hand-sanitizing, and more.

Person wearing a latex glove uses a homemade disinfecting wipe to clean a stainless steel refrigerator handle

There’s never been a better time or more important reason to learn how to make homemade cleaning and disinfecting wipes. You’ll know exactly what’s in them, and you’ll also save money. More importantly, you’ll know you can take care of your home and family regardless of what’s in stock at the store.

Lately, we’re all more concerned about cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces in our homes. Many of us have also experienced the shock of going to the store and realizing our favorite cleaning products were out of stock.

Early on, the shortage was thanks to people swooping in to clear the shelves and create their own stockpiles at home. Nowadays, the shortages are usually due to other causes, like problems with the supply chain. Once you know how to make your own cleaning products, those things won’t affect you.

How to Make Homemade Wipes

Use the recipe for homemade disinfecting wipes as a starting point to making other kinds of wipes, too. After you’ve got the basics down, it’s easy to make variations for cleaning wipes, baby wipes, and makeup wipes. You can even make homemade hand sanitizing wipes that you can stash in your purse or backpack.

Choose your material: If you want to make disposable wipes, use paper towels cut into squares. For reusable wipes, cut an old white t-shirt or sheet into squares. Don’t use colorful materials, though, or their dyes may run.

Choose your container: You need a tight-sealing nonreactive container. Jars with plastic lids, air-tight canisters, and even old wipes containers work well as long as you’ve washed and dried them thoroughly. Avoid metal containers or lids since they’ll rust and create a mess.

Choose your recipe: The basic recipe for homemade disinfecting wipes is a great starting place. Then try the other variations below. Just be sure to label your containers — you wouldn’t want to mistake a homemade hand-sanitizing wipe for a homemade makeup remover cloth.

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes

Time to make: 2 minutes

Supplies Needed

  • Paper towels or squares of undyed cloth
  • Non-metal container with a lid
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Dish Detergent
  • Tee Tree essential oil

Directions:

1. Put squares cut from paper towels or old white t-shirts in a nonreactive container with a tight-sealing lid.

2. Stir together 4 oz. water, 12 oz. 70% rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol, 1/2 tsp. liquid dish detergent and 8 drops of tea tree essential oil.

3. Pour this mixture over the squares of material, close the container tightly, and turn it over repeatedly to saturate the wipes.

4. To use, clean the surface with soapy water or a wipe. To eliminate germs, saturate the area with a fresh homemade disinfecting wipe and let it air dry. Discard or launder used wipes — do not put them back into the container.

You don’t have to limit yourself to making homemade disinfecting wipes. Using the same type of materials and containers, you can easily make other kinds of wipes, too.

Homemade Cleaning Wipes

Combine 8 oz. each distilled white vinegar and water, 2-3 drops of liquid dish detergent, and 15 drops of lemon or lavender essential oil for fragrance and additional grease-cutting power.

Homemade Hand Sanitizing Wipes

Gently stir together 6 oz. of 90% isopropyl alcohol, 3 ounces of aloe vera gel, and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. To make wipes easier to use, roll each one separately, tuck it into the container, and pour the mixture over the top. Keep out of sunlight and away from flame.

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Homemade Baby Wipes

Combine 16 oz. water, 4 oz. aloe vera gel (protects skin), 2 tsp. baby shampoo, 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar (prevents mold and diaper rash) and 3-4 drops lavender essential oil.

Homemade Makeup Remover Wipes

Shake together 2 cups warm water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 4 drops of tea tree essential oil (helps clear up acne, kills bacteria, and prevents mold). Pour over wipes.

FAQs About Making Homemade Wipes

Below are some frequently asked questions about making your own wipes. If you have questions not covered in this article, feel free to ask them in the comments!

Can’t I Just Pour Bleach in the Container?

The proper way to use bleach for household disinfection is by combining 2 tablespoons of bleach per 1 quart of water and applying it to clean surfaces, so they remain wet for 5 minutes. Diluted like this, bleach loses effectiveness after 24 hours, so it is not suitable for use in homemade disinfecting wipes.

Can I Switch Isopropyl Strength?

It’s best to stick to the strength recommended above. For example, with homemade disinfecting wipes, the surface must remain wet with the solution long enough to kill germs. Using a stronger concentration of isopropyl like 90% would result in faster evaporation and less germ removal.

What Can I Substitute for Isopropyl?

If you can’t find isopropyl alcohol in the first aid section of the store or pharmacy, you can substitute a “neutral spirit” or “rectified spirit” as long as it’s 120-proof. Everclear is one brand that’s available at package stores in most states.

Can I Reuse the Wipes?

If you’re using fabric wipes, you must launder them before re-use. Wash them with your towels or in their own load using a hot temperature setting, then run them through the dryer or line-dry them. It’s okay if the edges look curled when they’re finished drying — once you pour a fresh batch of homemade wipes solution over them, they’ll flatten again.

Can I Use Other Essential Oils?

The essential oils I’ve recommended all contain anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and they provide cleaning power and keep the wipes from getting moldy during storage. If you choose to switch essential oils, your results may vary.

How Long Can I Store Homemade Wipes?

You should store your homemade wipes away from sunlight in a cool, dark spot. Use them within a month. Keep all homemade cleaners containing isopropyl or spirits away from heat and flame. Also, store them out of reach from kids and pets.

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6 Comments

    1. Yep! Wash them on their own or with a load of towels in hot water to kill germs then run them through the dryer.

  1. 5 stars
    I added just a few drops of Essential Peppermint Oil to mine just so it wouldn’t smell too medicinal, but they work just fine. I used GA Pacific paper towels, like the ones you would find in a business setting or bathroom. They seem to hold up well. I wiped my kitchen counters to try them out and the paper towel actually stays wetter twice as long as Clorox or Lysol wipes. I am very pleased! Thank you!!! You saved me money and provided a much more natural way to clean!!!

    1. I’m so glad you like them, Wendy. Adding Peppermint essential oil sounds like a great idea!

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