Homemade Reusable Disinfecting Wipes – All Natural

Making your own reusable disinfecting wipes is so easy, you’ll probably be hitting yourself for not trying it sooner, especially with my no-sew tutorial! Not only are they all-natural, they are also super cheap to make and are green since you can resuse them, reducing trash not only from the wipes themselves, but the container and packaging they come in from the store.

Homemade, All-Natural Disinfecting Wipes Tutorial

I stopped buying disposable disinfecting wipes once I jumped on the green train and realized just how much paper I was throwing away. Then, I learned later on just how harmful they are to my health. Take this popular brand of disinfecting wipes – according to the Environmental Working Group, it gets a grade of D for asthma and respiratory problems. That doesn’t even compare to the toxicity in the wipes with bleach, like this one. It totally fails the toxicity test and gets a big fat F for moderate concern for cancer, high concern for developmental and reproductive toxicity, some concern for skin allergies and irritation, and high concern for asthma and respiratory problems. Sounds like a good thing to avoid to me!

However, I must say that I’ve really missed the convenience of disinfecting wipes as I used to use them all the time to clean up boy pee off the toilet, floor, baby potty…you get the idea! So, I had to make my own that are non-toxic and reusable, and I found a great solution!

So, let’s get started! You’ll need:

  • 2 cups white, distilled vinegar or citrus-infused vinegar (see my tutorial)
  • 30 to 50 drops of a disinfecting essential oil or a blend of oils such as: Tea Tree, Lavender, or Lemon. Or try a blended oil to make it easy – Thieves (Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon, and Eucalyptus), or Purification (Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree (Melaleuca, Myrtle, Citronella, and Lavandin) (where to buy high quality essential oils)
  • Cloth rags cut to be as wide as an old baby wipes container
  • Empty baby wipes container

Upcycle Old T-Shirts to Use as Disinfecting Wipes

Upcycle Dingy Tees Into Rags

I had quite a few T-shirts that were covered in stains, so I used these as rags. This made my project almost free, and so totally green! Jersey cotton, like the material used to make T-shirts, is the best fabric to use as it is absorbant (fleece is not, for instance) and doesn’t unravel. So there’s no sewing involved! I cut them to be the width of my baby wipes container, which is 8 inches wide, and then made then 10 inches tall.

How to Make the Solution

Make The Wipe Solution

I like to use a brownie pan in which to make my wipes (I do it the same way to make my cloth baby wipes). Here’s how I did it:

  • Pour about 2 cups of white vinegar into the pan
  • Drop in the essential oils (tea tree is the most important one since it is a powerful natural bacteria-fighting machine)
  • Take each rag, one by one, and soak it in the solution.
  • Squeeze out the excess and fold it into the wipes container.

How to Fold In the Wipes

I was able to get the wipes to come out of the container just like the store-bought ones do by folding the top layer of the wipe only 3/4 of the way to the long side of the container. Then, take the next wipe and place it underneath that top layer of the previous wipe and continue folding it on top, then repeat. The top wipe pulls out the wipe beneath it if you follow this method, making these wipes even easier to use!

For more ideas on how to go paper-free, see my no-sew tutorials on ditching the paper towels, switching to cloth baby wipes, making your own cloth napkins, cloth diapering guide, and for the very brave, ditching toilet paper for cloth!

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

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About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. JoAnn Eby says:

    You may not know this but you and I just became bff ! I come to your site almost daily to see what new wonderful things you have posted. I do not have small children at home but I do have grandchildren that I use your crochet patterns for. And I have been wanting some good solid ideas on going green as far as cleaning goes so I have really been reading about how to make yours and applying it to my house. Today’s cleaning wipes is a miracle for me. you see, my husband thinks he has to clean everything off with bleach every day and is about to kill me with the smell. now I can make him some disinfectant wipes. I will also be looking through your cleaning supplies to find a solution to clean my adult son’s clothes in. Seems as though he finds a need to woller around in grease and transmission fluid whenever he works on vehicles of any kind and ends up making his clothes, the house and the washer and dryer smell awful. Thank you for sharing all this wonderful information.

  2. I also made a great all natural home made cleaner using lemon oil ,cinnamon ,cloves ,rosemary and eucalyptus oils its great for mold , virus’s and bacteria..safe around you children and animals ….great on counter tops ,windows ,and also with a little modification also as a furniture polish ..=0)

  3. Sarah Edelson Baskin says:

    Any concerns about how long before you use the wipes up? I tried cloth wipes with my first son and ended up with some mildew stains on the wipes. I was only using water at the time…so perhaps the vinegar and tea tree oil won’t have the same issue.

  4. I don’t have baby wipe container.. do you have suggestion for something else that would work nicely?

    • Hi Myrna! If I didn’t have a baby wipe container, I’d just put them in a tupperware container and open the lid each time to take one out. Or you could even cut a slit in the top for easy access, but you’d want to cover it when it’s not in use so the wipes don’t dry out.

    • Robin prieter says:

      the plastic containers that you can get at the dollar store, work the same .

  5. Miranda Hessel says:

    What brand of baby wipes did you originally have for your container? The container I have would let everything dry out 🙁

  6. I have the same questions as Linda, above. How many times can you use one of these wipes? How often do you wash them?….etc. Thank you!

  7. I am I think totally in love with you! These wipes are sooo amazing. I am spreading your greatness to as many people as possible. Even my husband is impressed and he is not impressed by a lot! CLOROX you suck compared to these mighty wipes!

    • Your comment totally made my day! I shared it on my Facebook page. Thanks so much for taking the time to write something encouraging. I love your last sentence about Clorox!!

      • You are welcome, they work so well and have already taken the place of products I would have used in the kitchen i.e. Clorox wipes, stainless steel wipes etc etc (I love wipes!) I used wipes for nearly everything! They were the one thing that was stopping me from going completely green! I just find them so easy, so this has helped me a lot. Plus I picked out some great fabric from my fabric bin that my kids love! So they now want to help me do stuff as they get to use the magical wipes that I have never let them use before. So win win, use great wipes that are kid and earth friendly, cheap and don’t come in a plastic container that I have to recycle! i.e less trips to the recycling center = less gas = happier bank manager i.e. my husband! LOL am I looking into this way to much! PLUS they were invented by a fellow red head! Red heads rule!

  8. so I’m thinking about keeping a bunch of these handy to wipe the kids down when they come in from playing outside. I was hoping that they would clean them up, as well as disinfecting them, and even cooling them down a touch.
    What do you think??

    • That’s a great idea, Janelle, but I’d tweak the recipe because the vinegar burns the skin. When I use it to clean the house, I wear rubber gloves, otherwise, my skin gets very irritated. So, I would remove the vinegar and just use water or witch hazel and the essential oils. Hmmm, I think you’ve just given me an idea for a new post! 🙂

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  10. Hi! I’ve been trying some of your recipes and have really loved them! I did have two questions though. These smell really, really strong and my husband wrinkles his nose whenever I pull one out. For that reason, I’ve been keeping the used ones in a tupperware container until I’m ready to do a load of towels/dish towels. I’m thinking that if they don’t mold in the baby wipes container, they should be mold free in the tupperware container while waiting to be washed. What do you think?

    My second question is, what do you do with the remaining solution? I actually cut the recipe in half because I was pretty sure that there would be solution left over. By doing so, I had the perfect amount to adequately soak all my wipes without having any leftover solution. Do you have leftovers when you make a full recipe and what do you do with it? Thanks!

    • I keep using all the wipes until the solution is used up, so I don’t throw any solution away. So, it’s the vinegar smell that so strong, or the EO’s? Either way, you can reduce the amount of either one until the smell isn’t as strong. Tea Tree oil has a very strong scent, so you could use less of that or cut it out all together and use lemon or orange instead. They are both strong antibacterials.

      • So are your “wipes” really well soaked, or do you pour the remaining solution into the wipes bin?

        It’s the vinegar. The first batch I used sweet orange oil, and it did offset the smell a bit, but it still smells overwhelmingly of vinegar. The second batch I tried lemon oil and while it was a different overall smell, still smells strongly of vinegar. I’ve gotten used to it and I’ve been telling my husband that the commercial wipes don’t smell any less strong. It’s just a scent he’s used to so he doesn’t notice it anymore. Hopefully over time, he will associate the smell of vinegar with “clean”.


        • You’re a smart lady, Myndi. I think you’re right – we are so used to “clean” smelling like artificial, toxic chemicals and it’s a transition to associate them with vinegar. You could try diluted vinegar and add some more essential oils to lessen the smell. It won’t be as strong of a cleaner, but the extra essential oils will add a good boost. Just be sure to put it in a glass container or stainless steel and not plastic.

  11. I have been thinking about this because I find it easier to grab a wipe in the Kitchen to wipe down the cabinet but just haven’t got around to it yet even saved a few containers just for it, guess today would be a good day to start! thanks for sharing your recipe as it seems the best yet! Emma
    Emma Dorsey recently posted..Babies, Peepers, and Bloomers, It’s Finally Spring!My Profile

  12. Could I use flannel vice the old shirts? I bought lots of flannel last year when it was all on sale, so its what I have in abundance…

  13. Hello! Just found your website. I have been looking for a good natural cleaning wipe to use. I do have a couple of questions. What is the ratio of vinegar to oils that you use? I want to make sure that I am actually disinfecting my house. Also, which of the oils do you recommend overall?

    Thank you.


    • If you are using really potent oils like Young Living, you only need a 1-2% dilution of oils! Amazingly little. I recommend Thieves, Melaleuca Alternifolia, even Cinnamon, Oregano, Lemon, Orange, Clove – all of those are excellent germ killers.

  14. My question is similar to Myndi’s about the vinegar being an offender. It bothers my husband’s asthma (and yes, we are sure it is vinegar). I noticed the comment you gave Janelle about switching ingredients…

    Can I switch the vinegar out for Vodka or Witch Hazel and still have a good disinfecting formula? Straight vodka would be hard on the skin – so I would need gloves. Or can you mix vodka and witch hazel? I might be able to get away with a Tablespoon or 2 of vinegar in the formula, if it dried fast enough (and he didn’t use it).

  15. Hello!, thaks for the idea. How to make the reusables wipes is clear. But I really do not understand how to use them :(. After I take and use one wipe, what it supose I make with that one?

  16. I’m new to trying cleaning the green way so I have some really stupid questions. What do you do after using one of the wipes? Reuse during same day? Do you save used cloths to wash all at one time? Hand wash each day? Resoak? When?
    I’ve wanted to try reusable, homemade, cloths to go with my swifter type wet mops, but have some of the same questions.
    Can you help me understand this better? Thanks, I like the ideas & formula & have old t-shirts from my husbands work undershirts.

  17. Hey Linda! Your questions aren’t stupid at all. On the contrary – you’re smart to ask! I made these wipes to use only once, but I suppose you could use them more than once if you’d like! So, here’s my routine. I use them once, then keep a small, plastic trash can nearby and drape them over the sides until they dry. Once dry, they go inside the trash can. Once the trash can is full OR once all the wipes are gone, I wash all of them at one time. I also use cloth towels and rags all over the house, so my trash can fills up every couple of days.

  18. Bethany Peterson says:

    I had those exact same questions, thank you! Making them right now 🙂

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