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.
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 Tea Tree Oil or other essential oil with antibacterial properties like cinnamon and lavender.
- Cloth rags cut to be as wide as an old baby wipes container
- Empty baby wipes container
- Optional – a combination of other lovely essential oils to distract from the vinegar and tea tree oil smell – I used orange oil and peppermint (really brightens it up). Other oils that would be pleasant include rosemary, ylang ylang, bergamot, lemon, and cedarwood.
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.
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.
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!