How to Make Homemade Wipes

Clean

Save money with these safe, effective recipes for homemade wipes used for disinfecting, cleaning, and personal care.

Store-bought cleaning and disinfecting wipes are pricey, and that’s if you can even find them. Makeup remover wipes and those used to clean baby during a diaper change aren’t cheap, either. Why spend a small fortune when you can easily make your own?

These recipes for homemade wipes are not only better for your budget, though. They’re better for your home because you know what’s in them. If you use cloth instead of paper products, they’re better for the environment, too.

Why You Should Make Homemade Wipes

Homemade Wipes for Cleaning and Disinfecting

It’s Cost-Effective

Cleaning wipes run about a nickel each — and most of us use several at a time. In fact, the instructions flat-out tell us to pre-clean the surface with a wipe. Then they say to use as many fresh wipes as needed to make sure the surface stays wet for 3 to 4 minutes. That’s a lot of wipes.

The same goes for the cost of baby wipes. Who only uses one or two to cleanse their infant during a diaper change? And makeup wipes? They run up to 30-cents apiece, depending on your brand.

It’s Environmentally-Friendly

There’s also a sad environmental impact of using disposable wipes. They all come in plastic jugs or packages which add to the landfill or wind up in the ocean. As for the wipes themselves, most include polyester or polypropylene materials. These materials aren’t biodegradable, so they’ll never break down — including some that claim they’re flushable. (Related: Things You Should Not Flush.)

You Know What’s In Them

Store-bought cleaning or disinfecting wipes contain a lot of ingredients. In most cases, you don’t know about all of them. Manufacturers must disclose active disinfectants or potentially harmful ingredients, but not additives. Those additives are protected by product labeling laws as “trade secrets.”

A container of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, for instance, shows this:

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Alkyl (50%C14,40%C12,10%C16)
dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride…. 0.26%
OTHER INGREDIENTS…. 99.74%

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), that active ingredient poses moderate concerns for asthma and respiratory issues. It also carries risks for developmental and reproductive toxicity. It’s moderately harmful to the environment, too.

You Can Avoid Irritants

Not knowing what’s in wipes can also jeopardize your health in other ways. Many people have allergic reactions or sensitivities to various cleaning or disinfecting products. Without knowing if your wipes contain them, you can’t avoid that problem. (Related: Some Cleaning Products Produce Toxic Combinations.)

I know that all sounds like a lot of scary information, but cleaning products contribute to harmful indoor air pollution. That’s why you need to be smart about what you use to clean your home.

How to Make Homemade Wipes

Step 1: Choose the Material

You can make any of the recipes with paper towels if you like. The single-ply ones from the Dollar Store are particularly good for this. For reusable homemade wipes, cut squares from old t-shirts or sheets that you can launder.

Step 2: Choose the Container

Use a non-metallic container for this. Metal cans or jars will rust, and rusty wipes will make a mess. Reusing an old wipes container is a great idea, or try one of the ideas below. Make sure the lid fits well, so your homemade wipes don’t dry out.

  • A quart or gallon-sized jar with a plastic lid
  • Glass Mason jars
  • Cereal storage containers
  • Plastic food containers (washed well before reuse)

Step 3: Make One of the Homemade Wipes Recipes Below

Whether you’re looking for cleaning or disinfecting wipes, or want to make your own homemade wipes for makeup removal or baby care, there’s a recipe for you below.

Homemade Baby Wipes Recipe

This homemade baby wipe recipe provides gentle cleaning to prevent diaper rash while also soothing baby’s skin.

  • If using paper towels, choose a soft, cloth-like brand.
  • If using cloth, rinse the used wipes in the toilet bowl before laundering, as you would with a cloth diaper. (Related: How to Clean Poop.)

Homemade Baby Wipes

Katie Berry
Get baby clean with this gentle, homemade alternative to diaper wipes.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Servings 36 wipes

Equipment

  • Container to hold wipes
  • 36 individual paper towels or squares of cloth

Ingredients
  

  • 1 roll paper towels
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cups aloe vera gel optional skin protectant
  • 2 tsp. baby shampoo
  • 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar prevents mold and diaper rash
  • 3-4 drops lavender and/or tea tree essential oils discourages yeast, covers the vinegar scent

Instructions
 

  • Place cloth squares or individual paper towels in a container.
  • Combine ingredients and pour over the towels. Shake gently to saturate. Store in a cool place.

Notes

For a no-waste alternative to paper towels, cut old t-shirts or sheets into squares. Launder after use.
Keyword homemade cleaner
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Homemade Makeup Remover Wipes Recipe

These wipes do a fantastic job of removing makeup, including waterproof mascara. Since olive oil is a non-comedogenic moisturizer, it won’t clog your pores. That means you don’t even need to wash your face afterward if you don’t want to. Worried about acne? Don’t! Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties, so it’s a great pimple-fighter.

Homemade Makeup Remover Wipes

Katie Berry
Gently but effectively cleanse your skin and remove even waterproof mascara with these homemade makeup remover wipes. They're non-comedogenic and can help treat acne, too.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Servings 36 wipes

Equipment

  • 36 individual paper towels or squares of soft cloth

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil* lifts makeup
  • 2 drops tea tree oil anti-bacterial, great for skin, and prevents mold

Instructions
 

  • Place cloths or paper towels in the container.
  • Combine the ingredients and pour over the cloths in their container. Shake gently to saturate.
  • To use: wipe face gently with a homemade makeup remover cloth. Hold the cloth softly against your closed eyes for several seconds to loosen mascara before wiping. Repeat with a fresh cloth to ensure all makeup is removed.

Notes

* If you want to use coconut oil in this recipe, melt it first and stir it into the water well.
Keyword homemade cleaner
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Homemade Cleaning Wipes Recipe

Use these cleaning wipes for general, light soil removal. Remember, you must clean surfaces before disinfecting since those are two separate steps. Dirty surfaces can reduce the effectiveness of disinfectants, so use a homemade cleaning wipe first.

Homemade Wipes for Cleaning and Disinfecting

Homemade Cleaning Wipes

Katie Berry
Effective, natural homemade cleaning wipes for nonporous surfaces.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Servings 36 wipes

Equipment

  • 36 individual paper towels or squares of cloth
  • Container to hold wipes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar not apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 drops liquid dish detergent
  • 15-20 drops lemon or lavender essential oil for fragrance and additional grease-cutting power

Instructions
 

  • Place cloths or paper towels in the container.
  • Combine ingredients and pour over the towels in their container. Shake gently to saturate.

Notes

Not for granite, marble, or other natural stone surfaces. 
Keyword homemade cleaner
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes Recipe

You can use homemade disinfecting wipes on kitchen and bathroom surfaces. They’re safe homemade wipe for granite, marble, and other natural stone surfaces, too.

Remember, cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing. You need to clean surfaces first, or disinfectants might not work as well. That goes for store-bought disinfectants, too! (Related: Homemade Bathroom Disinfecting Spray.)

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes

Katie Berry
Suitable for use on kitchen and bathroom surfaces. These homemade disinfecting wipes are safe for cleaning granite, marble, and natural stone surfaces, too.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Course homemade cleaner

Equipment

  • 36 individual paper towels or cloth squares
  • Container to hold the wipes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup 70% rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol OR 120-proof distilled spirits (like Everclear) see note
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid dish detergent adds cleaning power
  • 8 drops tea tree oil disinfectant and prevents mold (see note)

Instructions
 

To Make Wipes

  • Place towels or cloths into the container.
  • Combine ingredients and pour over the cloths. Shake gently to saturate.
  • Store in a cool, dark place. Do not use near open flames.

Disinfecting Instructions

  • Preclean the surface with soapy water or a wipe.
  • Use a fresh wipe and saturate the surface until it's completely wet. Let it air dry.

Notes

Using different essential oils: Do not use tea tree if you have pets. With or without pets, you can use lavender, lemon, or peppermint oils if you prefer. 
Using 90% rubbing alcohol: Do not replace the 70% rubbing alcohol with 90% which evaporates too quickly to allow for disinfection.
 
Keyword bathroom disinfectant, homemade cleaner
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

9 Comments

  1. If you use the cloths do you just throw them in the washer after you use them?

    1. Katie Berry says:

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

  2. 5 stars
    Hi, I realize the other posts are from a few years ago but here’s to hoping someone is still checking this one. I have made homemade daily brush cleaner and just recently started using baby washcloths instead of paper towels. I spray the washcloth and rub the brush on the washcloth to remove leftover daily make up. (I use your recipe for deep cleaning my brushes.) However, I cannot get the washcloths clean. When I pull them out of the laundry there is still visible makeup on the washcloth. What do you suggest for getting this off the cloth?

  3. 5 stars
    Perfect timing! Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re very welcome!

  4. Wendy L Nolan says:

    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. Katie Berry says:

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

  5. 5 stars
    Your great tips for wipes reminded me of a wuick, effective ant/flies/flea repellant I make for use on both my little dog and myself.
    I put 5-10 drops of eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle with 2 c. water and 1/4 c. white vinegar. Works great!

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