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DIY Disinfectant Wipes

I don't know about where you live, but here in my area, disinfectant wipes are still a hot commodity. We can find toilet paper again (thank goodness), and one can (usually) find a few bottles of hand sanitizer here and there. But, I don't think I've seen disinfectant wipes on the shelves since February. You can find them online, but who really wants to pay what they're charging?

I prefer to use a more natural brand of wipes, and the ones I have bought in the past for around $5 for a large can are now selling for more than double that. At the rate my family uses them, that isn't feasible. We use them multiple times each day, and that would get out of hand quickly.

These are made from ingredients I keep on hand anyway, and they're not full of bleach. Now, they do contain 70% isopropyl alcohol, so they should be kept away from heat and flame as well as away from animals and young children. I recommend washing your hands after using them since alcohol can be drying to your skin. Remember that natural does not always equate to safe.

Also, while I obviously haven't lab-tested these wipes, I feel like they do a good job of killing germs. I cannot and will not say that they specifically kill COVID, but I do know that my family hasn't been sick at all, with COVID or anything else. I feel that if you keep your home clean, these wipes are a great weapon to add to your germ-defense arsenal. If you want to learn more about cleaning your home effectively to kill germs, this page from the CDC has some good information.

So, who's ready for another awesome, money-saving recipe that will help us fight germs during this COVID-19 pandemic?


What will you need?

Supplies to make disinfectant wipes.
Everything you need for DIY disinfecting!

This is another DIY project with a fairly short supply list. It's also pretty flexible. Here's what I used:

  • A glass canister with a lid

  • Two old undershirts, cut up

  • Two cups of water

  • One cup of 70% isopropyl alcohol

  • Two tablespoons of liquid castile soap

  • Tea tree essential oil

  • Eucalyptus essential oil

You will need to keep the water, alcohol, and soap ratios as listed above, but the rest is flexible. The essential oils are optional, but I like these two for this recipe because both are antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial. Win, win, win, win for germ-killing! Check out this prior post to learn more about my favorite and most commonly used essential oils.

In place of the cut-up undershirts, you could use virtually any other small pieces of fabric such as old washcloths or cloth diapers. I like the shirts because they're thin and I was able to repurpose something that otherwise would have been thrown away. Instead of the glass canister, you could use a large jar, an old baby wipes container, a food storage container, or any other container that is big enough and has a tight lid.

Be creative and use what you've got lying around already. That's part of what makes things like this so great- you can repurpose and save money!

How to do it:

If you're using fabric that is already cut up, you can skip this part and move on to the actual preparation of the disinfectant mixture. If you are using old shirts like I did, cut them up first. There is no right or wrong way to do this. I cut the sleeves off first, then cut them into two pieces each. Then I cut down the side seams to the armpits, then cut the entire thing into strips, cutting off and discarding the collar end. You can see this in the photos below. I was able to perfectly fill my canister with the two shirts. Each of my fabric pieces is roughly six inches by six inches, but you could make yours whatever size you prefer.

A pile of cut-up undershirt scraps.
Perfectly repurposed undershirt scraps.

You can see that the two cut up undershirts made quite a few pieces of fabric for wipes. If you wanted to use new cloth diapers. I would say one package of the single fold diapers would be plenty. If you use old wash cloths, you may still want to cut them in half or into fourths to make them easier to use as wipes.

To make your solution, first, measure the two cups of water into a measuring cup. I like to use one that holds at least four cups so that I can mix everything in that one cup.

Next, add one cup of 70% isopropyl alcohol and stir the mixture. Then add two tablespoons of liquid castile soap and stir it again. You can see these steps in the pictures below.

If you plan to use any essential oils, add them now. I added five drops each of tea tree and eucualyptus. Once all the oils are added, stir the mixture well.

Place all your fabric scraps (or as many as will fit snugly but not compactly) in the container you chose, and pour the solution over the fabric. Ideally, you want the fabric saturated but not floating in liquid, so if you don't need all of what you made, that's okay. Place the lid tightly on the container, and you're done. Easy, right?

Using and reusing the wipes:

You can use these just like you would any other disinfectant wipes. I like to wipe down surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, toilet flushers, and refrigerator door handles every evening after dinner. We also wipe down bathroom surfaces each night after the kids brush their teeth. Each kid does their own bathroom then places the wipe in the basket to wash.

The great thing about these is that they're reusable. I simply toss them in the washing machine with our other kitchen towels and dishcloths. Once the jar has been emptied, I make a fresh batch of the solution and start again. By the time the wipes have been used enough to need replacing, you'll likely have another few undershirts that have reached the end of their lifespan. Then you get to do some more repurposing!

Do you make your own disinfectant wipes? What are you doing to combat the COVID cleaning supply craziness? I'd love to hear your tips!

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