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These DIY Cleaning Wipes Are Money-Saving, Eco-Friendly Magic

DIY Reusable Disinfecting Wipes

While there’s no denying the convenience of store-bought cleaning wipes, they’re far from a perfect solution! That’s what motivated me to come up with the homemade alternative I’ll be sharing with you today: DIY cleaning wipes.

We’ll start by exploring some of the things that give these homemade wipes an edge over the store-bought variety, then we’ll dive right into the simple tutorial for how to make them. By the end of this post, you’ll know everything you need to know to make your own reusable cleaning wipes! :-)

For more recipes for DIY cleaning products and tips for using them, check out my eBook Cleaning House! You can buy it in my shop, or get it for free if you’re an OGT Plus member!

Related: This Is What You Need To Know About Cleaning Vs. Disinfecting

Reusable Disinfecting Wipes

The Problems With Store-Bought Disinfecting Wipes

1. They Create Waste

Any sort of disposable product creates waste, and wipes are no exception. While disposable wipes can be a smart choice in high-risk environments like hospitals, they aren’t typically necessary for home cleaning and disinfecting.

Related:  11 Easy Ways To Make Your Paper Towels Last Twice As Long

2. They Contain Harsh Chemicals

You don’t need a laundry list of chemicals to clean surfaces or kill bacteria and viruses. But store-bought wipes feature a lot of them, including synthetic fragrances, toxins, and respiratory irritants.

3. They’re Costly

One container of cleaning wipes doesn’t usually last very long, especially if you clean frequently. Even if you’re paying just a few dollars per container, that can add up fast!

Related: This Is The Best Way To Clean & Sanitize Your Hands On The Go

Reusable Disinfecting Wipes

The Solution? Make Your Own Cleaning Wipes!

But you can avoid all of those drawbacks just by making your own cleaning wipes at home. They’re easy to make, cost-effective, and reusable—what more could you want?

Before we get to the how of making them, let’s quickly review what exactly goes into them. (I’ve provided a few alternatives in the following section just in case you have trouble finding certain ingredients.)

Reusable Disinfecting Wipes

What’s In It? Ingredients For DIY Cleaning Wipes

You only need three ingredients to make your own DIY cleaning and disinfecting wipes:

  • Rubbing Alcohol – Rubbing alcohol is an extremely affordable disinfecting agent and is effective against many viruses at concentrations of 70% and up.
  • Dish Soap – Adding a bit of Dawn dish soap to your homemade wipes enhances their ability to cut through greasy messes.
  • Simple Clean Essential Oil BlendSimple Clean makes a great addition to almost any homemade cleaner. It has a fresh, clean scent and it gives the wipes another boost of germ-killing power!

No Rubbing Alcohol? Try These Alternatives

  • While rubbing alcohol makes an ideal disinfectant because of how cheap it is, there are other options you can use if you can’t find it:
  • Bleach – Add 2 teaspoons of household bleach to 2 cups of water to make a simple yet effective disinfecting solution. (To avoid any potential of creating hazardous fumes, avoid mixing bleach with anything except water.)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – You can use undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide to disinfect hard surfaces around your home.
  • Soap And Water – Good old soap and water will get the job done too! Soap lifts viruses and bacteria from surfaces so you can rinse them away.
Reusable Disinfecting Wipes

How To Make Reusable DIY Cleaning Wipes

Ingredients:

Other supplies:

Reusable Disinfecting Wipes

Directions:

Add the rubbing alcohol, dish soap, and essential oils to your jar. Put the lid on and swirl or shake gently to mix.

Next, remove the lid and add your cloths or rags to the jar. Continue adding more until the cleaning solution has saturated all the cloths, then add one more for good measure.

Replace the lid on the jar, then turn it upside-down for a minute or so. And voila, your reusable cleaning wipes are ready to use!

Reusable Disinfecting Wipes

How To Use Your DIY Cleaning Wipes

You can use your homemade wipes to wipe down countertops, clean up spills, dust your baseboards, and more. If you’re using them to disinfect frequently touched surfaces, pre-clean the surface with soapy water first, then use your cleaning wipe and allow the surface to air dry.

Collect the dirty/used wipes in a container, then when you’ve used them all, toss them in your washer to clean them. Once they’re clean, add them to a fresh batch of the cleaning solution and use them again!

Be sure to thoroughly clean both the jar you store the wipes in and the container you use to hold the dirty wipes between uses too.

Have you tried making your own reusable cleaning wipes?

diy reusable cleaning wipes

Reusable DIY Cleaning Wipes

Jill Nystul
Can't find cleaning or disinfecting wipes in stores? Not only is it easy to make your own at home, but they're cheap, effective, and infinitely reusable too!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 2 minutes
Wait Time 1 minute
Total Time 8 minutes
Cost $20
Yield 8 reusable wipes

Equipment

  • Quart Sized Mason Jar
  • Several Clean Cloths or Rags

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Rubbing Alcohol 70% or higher
  • 1 tsp Dawn Dish Soap
  • 20 drops Simple Clean Essential Oil Blend Or your favorite essential oil

Instructions
 

  • Add the rubbing alcohol, dish soap, and essential oils to your jar. Put the lid on and swirl or shake gently to mix.
    mix cleaning wipe solution
  • Next, remove the lid and add your cloths or rags to the jar. Continue adding more until the cleaning solution has saturated all the cloths, then add one more for good measure.
    add cloths or rags to cleaning wipe solution
  • Replace the lid on the jar, then turn it upside-down for a minute or so.
    soak cloths or rags in cleaning wipe solution

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • Just curious. if a surface is dirty enough to use even home chemicals on, why would you want to keep the cleaning rag around? let alone put it through your washing machine? Although I appreciate & enjoy many Jillee DIY suggestions, when it comes to tis cleaning, the idea is to get the dirt or germs OUT of the house, which means you throw it away. If this idea appeals to you, enjoy it. I buy my wipes when on sale so I can throw out the dirt/germs and not worry about the extra work washing rags cause.

    • The chemicals kill the germs and washing them later removes the dirt. You don’t get rid of germs by throwing them out but by killing them.

  • I was really glad to see the comments about using Tea tree oil. The Simple Clean blend would end up being more expensive for me. I’m fine with Jillee having her own blends. I just have to use what’s more affordable for me.

    • I did actually try this. They worked great. I was trying to find something to use because of the store bought ones being so expensive. I finally found a store brand that wasn’t too expensive. My main issue was l had decided to use a non- Mason type jar for this and l couldn’t find a lid that would fit properly.

  • What kind of rags do you use? It doesn’t say anything about what to use. Cut up Microfiber cloths come to mind as an idea use for this, but I don’t know. Please elaborate on specific they of cloth for this. Thank You.

  • Interesting idea. 2 thoughts about the ingredients:

    1) once you add another liquid to alcohol, it is no longer the same potency (it’s been diluted). So 70% is not achieved. To be safe, use higher (say, 90% ) alcohol to start

    2) Peroxide quickly turns into water when exposed to air and light (in a clear bottle). So probably not a good substitute)

    3) For about 20 years, we’ve kept small rags in a drawer and a spray bottle of peroxide and one of white vinegar under the sink. Just spray your surface with one, wipe it up, spray with the other, wipe it up, and you have a cleaner surface than if you had used bleach.

  • Hi Jillee!! Someone may have already asked this and I’m sorry if I missed it but can you make a really big batch of these? And how long is the mixture good for before it “goes bad”? Thanks!!

      • What essential oils work? I do not have the one you’re suggesting. I do have lemon, citrus fresh, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, thieves. Most of my essential oils are from young living…which is WAY more costly than these! Thank you!!

  • Thank you Jillee! Sharing. On a personal note, howevwr, I can’t afford essential oils, don’t have any, and will follow your recipe but without the essential oils. Where I am, even isopropyl alcohol is very scarce or not available anymore. Some people are buying up vodka to use. Bleach is the best I can do at the moment. I have a washcloth soaking in a water/bleach solution — very handy.on the kitchen counter.

    • PS – I saw a tv ad for a product that disinnfects for 24 hours, but I can’t find it at any store. An article about disinfecting says the clorox and other brand wipes are only useful to disinfect an area about 4×4′ – it may be more, but they aren’t meant for cleaning, only for disinfecting. So clean first, then use the disinfecting wipes strategically on the high touch surfaces.

  • Love this. Our stores are out of the blue Dawn . Any ideas what else I can use. We actually have a tiny bottle with just a little left And also a bottle of the pale one for our soap pumps.

    • According to what I’ve read, yes. You could also add a bit of liquid soap to it if you want, but not necessary, and essential oils are not necessary either if you do not have them.

  • I (… embarrassed gulp…) don’t own ANY essential oils! Would lemon juice work? Thanks and as soon as I can afford it, I’m SO purchasing a membership in your OGT group!!! Love and Hugs!

  • Used wipes and paper towels do double-duty in my house. I give them a quick rinse and squeeze, let them dry out, and stick them in an empty tissue box. They come in very handy for wiping up spills, or messes made by my cats. Also, wipes stand up well in the washer and dryer. The cleaning recipe sounds good…I’m going to try it in a sprayer.

  • RE: ALL DYI CLOTHS

    When you are ready to clean any of your cleaning cloths, put them in a lingerie zippered bag! After they’re washed, you won’t have to separate them from your other wash; you will still have them all together. Love OGT !!!!!

  • I started using this DIY the last time you posted it. I can’t be happier with it. I had just replaced my dish towels so I cut up the old ones, ran a zig-zag stitch around the edges and I was ready to go. I put them in an old baby wipes container kept under the kitchen sink. I rarely use paper towels now. I just used them, and toss them in the wash; so easy It works well and it’s always better to reuse!

  • I may just have to try this as my kitchen dish cloths get icky very quickly and I never buy disposable wipes. Is there a kind of fabric that would be best for this? It looks like you’ve used some cut-up cotton towels, but the closest things I have are old t-shirt rags, which aren’t very absorbent. It would be nice to find cotton cloths I could buy in bulk, but organic cotton can be pricey and I’d hate to buy something new just to cut it up.

    Also, is the use of EO necessary for this recipe? I notice many of your homemade cleaning recipes call for one or more essential oils. I’m completely new to these and have been hesitant to take the plunge, given that one little bottle costs $30 and I wouldn’t know where to begin. Is there a resource you can recommend (book, website) on what exactly these are and how to use them?

    • You could get a couple of towels at a thrift store and cut them up; sew the edges. Or if you don’t sew you could use old wash clothes. I personally don’t use the EO because I can’t afford it. But it helps Jillee as she sells it. If I could afford it I would use it to support her.

      • Natures Truth – it’s a brand sold in stores is a brand l’ve used for most of my Essential Oils. They’re usually about $7.00, when they’re not on sale. The stores near me occasionally have them on sale for 2 oils for $ 10.00. I definitely won’t use brands like Young Living because they are expensive for me.

      • Thanks, but I’d rather avoid synthetic fabrics, partly for the microplastics they generate in the wash.

    • Terry, you can omit the essential oil and they still are great. You can check out my By Jillee Shop. I have many essential oils that are less than $30 and when you click on the “How to Use” section, there are links to my posts that will show you how to use the oil.

    • usually Wallmart sells a stack of washcloths at a reasonable price. THey are thinner and would be good for cleaning. Dont know what they are made of but its worth checking out .

  • This looks amazing! How often do you suggest the need to re-make the solution? Also, after you’ve washed the used rags, is it ok to throw them back in, or would you suggest making a new solution all together?

    • The cloths will actually soak up all of the solution, so you won’t have any leftover once you’ve used your wipes! If you do have a little bit, feel free to toss another cloth in there to absorb what’s left :-)

    • I have an HE washing machine, and I think it would be okay. There are 2 tablespoons of Dawn in this recipe and don’t think it would overload the washing machine. I am going to give this a shot over the weekend, and I will wash the cloths after they are used and see what happens in the wash.

    • I would think if you are worried then rinse out the cloths before putting them in the washer. I hand wash dishes and use dawn all the time and I never really rinse out the cloths before putting them in the washer and I have an HE washer also.

  • I made these today, omitting the ammonia and using 1/4 cup white vinegar instead. I have to say, I am in Love with these wipes. If made using vinegar instead of ammonia these can be thrown in with your regular towel and kitchen rags. Thanks for the awesome tip! Keep them coming!

    • I didn’t see anything about ammonia?? What part of this recipe did I miss? I just went back and checked it again and copied the ingredients …. 2 cups distilled water
      1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
      1 tsp Dawn dish soap
      20 drops Simple Clean Essential Oil Blend
      If something is missing I don’t want to try it until its corrected. Someone help or let me know what I have overlooked.
      I would like to try these.

      • Mary – Jillee’s original formula had optional ammonia in it. I never put it in and I LOVE these. Even my husband will tell me when we are getting low!

    • for those reading later, here is the recipe as I copied it down years ago: 1c water, 1/4c rubbing alcohol, 2T ammonia, 2T dawn (she updated the recipe without noting the changes, so people commenting later are confused by previous comments)

  • I use an old cleaning-wipes container to store the liquid and just wet my dish rag with it when I want to clean counters. I’m leary of keeping rags in there in case they’d get mildew or mold. It’s great!

    • you can try wetting the rags with the solution, fold and roll them up individually, place four to six in a ziplock quart bag then all of the in a gallon bag. grab one four pack in the morning when you are getting ready to clean. I live in AZ so it is hot enough to make this work. Maybe not so good for the colder climates.

      • Essential oils should never be stored in plastic and should always be stored in an opaque container so the light doesn’t degrade them. I would think it would be wise to store these wipes in a glass container wrapped in a paper bag or painted so as to be opaque. Just saying

  • If people want them folded and have an old wipes container lying around, there are cloth wipe folding tutorials on YouTube showing how to fold them where they pop up like disposables. I’m more of a non folding kinda gal too :)

    • I use a natural dish washing liquid with white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide as a more natural and nontoxic substitute for the rubbing alcohol and ammonia.

  • Fabulous idea!
    Super important- many of us have heard it before, but since you used the word “Clorox” and there is ammonia in the recipe, it would be a good idea to mention to NEVER combine bleach with ammonia!
    I am off to make these today, love your blog!

    • My husband did that by accident in our basement stationary tub by pouring almost empty containers out.. He came running upstairs like he was on fire!! Took 4 hours, several box fans, all the windows and doors open to finally clear it out. All 5 of us plus the 2 dogs sat in our car that evening…. He learned the hard way!

  • I love the idea of using the wash cloths.

    I have been using Jillee’s previous “recipes” with essential oils and love them. For disposable, I have been using a $6.00 roll of Bamboo paper towels. I wash the dirty wipes on Handwash in my machine and make the new batch of wipes with the damp towels, no dryer, and they are going on their 5th wash.

  • I am going to try this! I buy extra wash cloths at Walmart for .44 each. After a year or two the color in the cloths is uneven. They would be perfect for this application!

    Thanks Jillee for another SUPER post!

  • I like this idea. I basically just use the Clorox wipes in the bathroom around the floor of the toilet since we have my Dad in the house. It takes care of the guys in the bathroom smell. I also use them when someone in the house is sick. So, I’d rather just dispose of them when I’m done. This idea would work in the kitchen making the wipes reusable.

    • Jillie probably keeps her bathroom cleaner than I do! I feel the same, I use paper towels for around the toilet area. I don’t feel comfortable reusing. Although it just shows her cleaning the top of the lid. I could do that & to wipe the tank, but below the lid will be disposable for me :-)

  • Is this safe for granite countertops? I have been using a granite cleaner , am getting a bone marrow transplant and need them cleaned daily with antibacterial. Figured it would be better to go natural, so this is timely for me!

  • I love this idea! I plan on using the shirt scraps and making them disposable. I already have the jar of t-shirt scraps in use, but as it is now they are dry and you have to wet, use, then throw away. This will save a step. Also, I plan on adding a little bit of antibacterial essential oils to mine. Thanks for the great idea!

    • I would imagine it will depend on the thickness of the material you use whether that be washclothes versus old t-shirts. I was thinking I could adjust the amount of liquid added so that they would just be quite moist but not have to be wrung out. Hope that helps. I really don’t want sopping wet towels but LOVE the idea of making my own and the cost savings. I was wondering if they would work as well at leaving that nice shiney counter top look. Those wipes do such a good job of leaving a nice shine on the counters, faucets, hardware, etc.

      • If they don’t leave your countertops as glowing as you like, try adding a tsp of liquid (called “fractionated”) coconut oil and make the initial mix with hot water. Perhaps have two lots on the go: 1) without the bit of oil to clean up other spills like on the floor and in the bathrooms; and, 2) keep the oiled wipes for the countertops and wooden kitchen table tops. Besides, isn’t the coconut oil anti bacterial or microbial or some such thing?

      • that sounds like a good idea. wonder what Jillie’s thoughts are? I use equal parts vinegar & olive oil to clean kitchen cabinets.

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