DIY: Make your Own Disinfecting Wipes + More!

With flu season upon us, I thought this would be a could post to re-blog. It was originally published August, 2012 for cincysavers.com and this blog. 

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I don’t know about you but I can really go through those tubes of disinfecting wipes, which over time, can begin to add up! So when I went on my cleaning spree this past weekend, I hopped on Pinterest first to see if there were any alternative solutions or creative ideas for cleaning. I came across the idea of making your own disinfecting wipes. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, thinking the paper towels would tear, dry up or they just wouldn’t work. But, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and love using them!

Here’s how to make your own disinfecting wipes. I also provided recipes so you can create your own glass cleaner or a more natural cleaner using vinegar. I used Pine Sol because I had it and enjoy the fresh smell.

Supplies Needed:

  • Pine Sol or Vinegar (Recipes are at the bottom of this post for various types of cleaners you can create)
  • Sturdy paper towels (I choose Bounty)
  • Water
  • Glad or Ziplock Container that is large enough to fit part of a paper towel roll in ( I found the Glad Designer Bowl at Target–Two for $2.99)
  • Serrated Knife
  • Something to cut a 1/2″ hole through plastic (I used a 1/2 inch drill bit- that worked well)
  • Measuring cups
  • Bowl
DIY-disenfecting-wipes

1. Cut your paper towel role length-wise so it will fit nicely in the plastic container you’ve selected. I used a large serrated knife and it cut through the paper towels just fine!

2. Next you will need to cut a hole in the top of the plastic lid so you can easily pull the paper towels or should I say, disinfecting wipes, out. I asked my husband for a 1/2″ drill bit and used that. But because the plastic you are cutting through is so thin, I think a knife or even sharp scissors will work just as well. Just be careful and use a cutting board.

3. Mix your desired solution.

Here are several recipes you can use:

Disinfectant Cleaning Recipe (this is the one I used):

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of pine cleaning solution such as Pine Sol
  • 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cup of water

General Cleaning Surface Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Optional: A few drops of favorite scented essential oil to cut the vinegar smell

Window Glass Cleaning Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
4. Once you have the solution mixed and your paper towel roll set in the plastic container, pour the solution over the paper towels. Put the lid back on the plastic container and allow them to sit overnight.
5. Once the towels have sat overnight, then the cardboard tube in the center of the paper towel roll should easily come out (See the bottom right photo above).
6. Carefully pull the end of the paper towels from the inside, where the cardboard roll had been. Thread the end of the towels through the hole in the lid, and replace the lid.
TA DA! You now have your own homemade household cleaning wipes. As I mentioned earlier, I was a tad skeptical of this project, but am happy I tried it because 2 1/2 years later, I still refill my plastic tub on a regular basis.
Here’s a short news segment I did about the wipes from FOX 45 in Dayton: http://fox45now.com/shared/news/features/morning/stories/wkef_vid_2895.shtml
What do you think? Are you up for making your own disinfecting wipes?

[This post was originally posted August 2012.]

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Comments

  1. Sara says:

    I love this idea, but I was wondering what do you do to stop the wipes from drying out? Maybe store it in a large ziplock bag?

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      Because the hole in the top of the lid always has a paper towel sticking out of the top, it helps prevent them from drying out. I thought the same thing, but have been using them for several weeks and have not had a problem as of yet!

      1. KMARTIN says:

        I WOULD JUST TRY CUTTING A LARGE X IN THE LID TO TRY THAT FIRST INSTEAD OF A HOLE. MAYBE IT WOULD WORK. DON;T KNOW FOR SURE.

        1. Megan Fenno says:

          I’ve tried the “X” and it tends to tear the paper towels as you pull them through which resulted in just putting a simple hole in the top. The towels don’t dry out and they don’t tear. :)

          1. Elizabeth says:

            I used a single hole punch instead of cutting and then I put a piece of medical plastic tape over the hole with an x in the middle works like a dream.

      2. chris says:

        used my empty wipes contain

        1. Patti Stevens says:

          This is what I am planning to do :)

          1. Megan Fenno says:

            They are awesome! You’ll love them :)

      3. tammy says:

        I took a whole roll a 2 gallon zip lock and did it that way perfect and bigger wipes.

        1. Megan Fenno says:

          That’s not a bad idea! Thanks for sharing :)

      4. Earline Dance says:

        I have some purchased disinfecting wipes which have dried out in their containers. I will mix this solution, pour in and revive the dried out ones.

    2. Heather says:

      going to make mine today!!! thank you!

    3. Judy says:

      How about bathroom wipes like SCOTT or COTTONELL

      1. Heidi522 says:

        Bathroom wipes aren’t as sturdy

  2. Katie says:

    Because you have a sheet that is always sticking out, do you end up pulling that out to get a wet towel underneath? In other words, do you end up using two sheets at a time – tossing the dry one to get to a wet one?

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      No, it is just the very tip that is dry. The wipes are pretty wet, you’d be surprised how much moisture they hold! I was weary of them drying out as well, but I promise, there is no need to store them in a zip lock bag or anything. They work great the way they are :)

  3. Maria Rosenthal says:

    I love the idea of leaving the paper towels in a roll. When my kids were little I made wipes but I tore each paper towel sheet. AWESOME sollution. I think I may cut a circle on the plastic lid and leave it hinged on one side.

  4. Kelly says:

    I’ve heard for the stomach flu the only thing that works is 10% bleach solution. Might try and make 10% bleach wipes!

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      That’s not a bad idea, Kelly!

      1. Lyn C says:

        Bleach solution has to be fresh to stay strong enough to kill flu germs. You can depend on it for only 24 hours, so I wouldn’t suggest this for bleach wipes.

      2. Laurie says:

        Vinegar is already a disinfectant. Forget the bleach; use the vinegar recipe (or even straight vinegar) and add some essential oils. Lavender also disinfects, as does Rosemary or Lemon. Bleach does not keep it’s disinfectant properties long.

    2. Dorene says:

      You can make a disenfecting solution with Rosemary and lavender oils and water that is supposed to be as good as hospital disenfectant.

  5. ramona says:

    Did you get two or three cuts on the paper towels? I assume it would depend on the container you use, and since the roll is taken out, could this work in a diaper wipe container by laying the towels flat?

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      I cut the paper towel roll twice, but only used two pieces and had a very small section left over. Next time however, I think it would be best if I cut the roll in thirds. It just depends on what container you decide to use. I found the container I used (it came in a pack of two) at Target for $2.98.

      As far as using a diaper container, I don’t know if that would work because the wipes stay pretty wet and expand. Plus I assume you’d have to take the paper towels off the roll, and that would take some time. Hope this helps :) Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Amanda says:

        Baby wipe containers don’t work well for this. I tried it and i kept having to take the whole roll out just to tear out a piece of paper towel. They expand too much and you have to really smash them in the wipe container! I have a huge round container from clorox wipes, i’m going to see if i can get the paper towel in that!

        1. Megan Fenno says:

          Thanks for the info! I didn’t think it would work out well–putting the paper towels in a baby wipe container, but some people are so creative you just never know :) I bet that Clorox container will be perfect. Let us know!

  6. Shan says:

    Is this cheaper than store bought disinfecting wipes?

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      Yes, for sure! Initially, the cost will run about the same because you’ll have to invest in the plastic container(s) and the Pine Sol or Vinegar. I am on my third round of wipes as of right now (my family had a stomach virus so I went crazy with disinfecting over the past week!) And to refill it costs just a tad of Pine Sol or Vinegar and 1/2 roll of paper towels, which breaks down to less to less than $.50 for me. Not to bad!

  7. Barbara says:

    Any thoughts on a make up remover solution. Halloween is around the corner and I use a lot of make up and body paint for the little ones.

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      That’s a good question! I am not 100% sure but would be happy to do some research. I know a lot of people would find that information helpful. :D

    2. Jean says:

      Maybe a solution of baby wash and water, possibly with a little baby oil mixed in, would make a good make-up remover.
      I haven’t tried this, but I’ve used baby oil to remove eye make-up and baby wash on my face.

      1. Megan Fenno says:

        I’ll try it out this weekend and let you know. I am curious now!

        1. Erin says:

          Here you go! And homemade baby wipes are the BEST at getting makeup off. Bonus note- you don’t have to use baby wash if it’s for you! Rock some of your favorite body wash and you’ll be awesome!! :D

          1. Maya says:

            Late to the party but I use a mix of 75% witch hazel to 25% olive oil to take my makeup off daily and it works a treat!

  8. Deidra says:

    Wouldn’t it work to use an old disinfecting wipe container also? Love this idea!

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      A normal paper towel roll doesn’t fit in an old disinfecting wipe container because it expands, unless you have one of those jumbo disinfecting containers… I bet that would work!

      1. Becky says:

        How about replacing your half-used kitchen paper towels with a new roll, then using the remainder for the wipes, which might fit more easily into a used wipes container?

  9. taramara says:

    thank you so much for this brilliant idea! will be doing for when the little ones come along! :D

  10. gaby says:

    Does it have to be pine sol or can i use a different one ? I have mr clean right now an d i would like to finish that up before i buy something else and when it comes to cleaning im a bleach fanatic, do u have a recipie that uses bleach???

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      I think Mr. Clean would work fine. I also have other recipes listed within the blog post if you are interested in any of those. I just chose Pine Sol for the same reason, I had it and wanted to finish it up, plus I like the smell :)

      If you decided to use bleach I would really dilute it. I am thinking just a couple of table spoons mixed with the water..otherwise it might be too strong (as in smell).

      Let us know what you decide to do! I am on my third batch of these DIY disinfecting wipes and am never going back to the store bought ones! I love these things!!

    2. Pricella says:

      If you use bleach its 1 tbs bleach to 1 quart of water. That’s what child care centers use. It’s safe enough around children and strong enough to disinfectant.

      1. Megan Fenno says:

        Thanks for the helpful info, Pricella. Good to know!

  11. Julie K says:

    Something to keep in mind, BUY QUALITY PAPER TOWELS!!! I decided to save a $1 and get a store brand that I thought might be ok… HUGE mistake!! They are usable but they’re too thin and weak to pull thru the hole in my container. I’m using them (open the top and gingerly pull a few out at a time) but that will NOT happen again!! Learn from my mistake!! :)

    1. Lori Sarchet says:

      When I made baby wipes it had to be the Bounty paper towels. The others would just turn to mush. It’s worth the money to have the higher quality of paper toweling.

  12. Daniel says:

    Love this idea. I am going to share it with the lunch staff at my niece’s school. Good way to save some money on cleaning supplies and they sound like they work very well!! Also, going to use them for home!

    Thanks!! Such a great idea!!!

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      No problem! They do work really well :)

  13. Sheila says:

    For the Halloween makeup, you can use homemade baby wipes. I used them when my kids were little bitty and went through diapers and LOVED them. My husband even commented that he liked them better than store bought. The only problem I had was when they didn’t need changed as often the wipes would end up souring before I could use all of them.

    This is very similar to the recipe I used. I didn’t boil the water. I just used straight tap water. You can find a rubbermaid contain that fits a half of a roll of towels better than the one pictured. :)
    http://www.homemademamas.net/2010/07/homemade-baby-wipes.html

  14. Kat Davis says:

    Love the post… and they have the Bounty Brand of paper towels on sale every other week at Lowe’s and Menard’s. 15 rolls for $10. Can’t buy them that cheap at Wal-Mart. I go through a ton of them with chronically ill hubby… tis all we use in bathroom and kitchen for hand drying… and now… disinfecting…

  15. Lissa says:

    Large plastic coffee containers (like Folger’s or MaxHouse) brands work very well for these wipes. I like using Murphy’s All Purpose with a teaspoon of tea tree oil for disinfecting wipes.

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      Thanks for sharing! :)

  16. Donna K says:

    I always made my own baby wipes. Then I moved on to lysol wipes. I use a larger container, no hole in lid although I like that idea, and cut the roll of bounty in half. For baby wipes, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 Tbs baby shampoo and 1 Tbs baby oil. They were better than any store bought wipes and I saved a fortune with 4 children.

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      Thanks for sharing Donna! I want to try and make the wipes this weekend, great idea!

  17. Heather says:

    If you want to reuse an old “Clorox” container or something similar, I would suggest using a partial roll of paper towels. This is my plan at least, cuz I love the container! :-)

  18. Claudia ward says:

    I have tried this and i found that a folgers coffee container works great for the wipes, i just slit and X on the top and pull wipes thru. Works great. I asked my neighbors to save me their un wanted plastic containers so i dont have to wait to buy them, plus im recycling so i save money that way. It works.

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      Thanks for the words of wisdom Claudia! That’s so smart!

  19. Linda says:

    Just made a batch! I used a Folgers plastic coffee bucket (free), had Pine Sol and I bought VIVA towels 1.97 for 68! I cut my roll into 1/3′s – I have little strength in my hands, so I used my electric knife! PERFECT!! Can’t wait to use!

  20. Jill says:

    I found this post via Punterest and I was intrigued by the disinfecting wipes but I’m a little confused….Pine Sol is not a disinfectant, it’s a cleanser, meaning it only removes dirt and deodorizes. Do you know of any recipes for disinfectants to use with these homemade wipes? I would live to try them for the kitchen and think they could be really handy in the bathroom, but really need them to kill germs. Any ideas?

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      Hi Jill,

      Pinesol is a cleaner and disinfectant. Here is a link to their website so you can read more about it: http://www.pinesol.com/products/original-pine/
      I was under the same impression as you, where I thought it was only a cleanser at first :)

      1. Sarah says:

        Some varieties of Pinesol such as the Citrus scent IS just a cleanser. The original scent is a disinfectant as well as a cleanser.

        1. Megan Fenno says:

          Thanks for the heads up Sarah :)

          I went on the website to check out all the PineSol varieties (I didn’t realize there were so many!) and here’s the link to the original Pinesol: http://www.pinesol.com/products/original-pine/

          I would definitely recommend using that if you are looking for a disinfectant.

  21. sara says:

    I love this idea. I am using a pitcher with a lid on it. So I didn’t have to cut the plastic and I can close it to keep them wet still!!!

  22. amartin says:

    I used a coffee can— worked GREAT

    1. Terry E says:

      I used a Folgers 29.2 oz coffee container and 1/2 roll fit beautifully! It also has a nice built in handle :) I did not cut the lid, I just pull them out from the middle- easy peasy!

      1. Megan Fenno says:

        Thanks for the tip, Terry! That’s a great idea :)

  23. amartin says:

    Oh— and I used the round thing (blade straightener) thing that is in my knife set to pierce the lid.

  24. Vonnie says:

    I was thinking that the big plastic coffee containers would work if you needed/wanted a larger towel. I use the large red plastic coffee container the Folgers comes in with an X in the top for plastic bag container but I think my Hubby would like it if I did this with one of them for him to keep in the garage. Thanks for the idea!

  25. Anna says:

    Genius, only today was I thinking about how much I love cleaning wipes but not so much the cost :-)

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      I totally agree! There is just something about them that are more appealing than using cleaner and a paper towel. :)

  26. Jessica says:

    I tried this today and while I was doing so remembered that I’d done it before when I was going to make baby wipes a few years ago… and failed.

    I found when cutting through the paper towels with two different kinds of large serrated knives, it took a LOT of elbow grease to cut through and it made the towels all shredded along the edges… a lot of wasted paper towel fluff.

    It’s highly possible my knives are terribly dull, but do you have any other suggestions short of a circular saw? :D And I used Bounty, but not “Basic” They’re “Designer”… whatever my husband picked up. :)

    Thanks!

    Jess

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      I have continued making these wipes and since my husband isn’t always around with a circular saw, I use a sharp knife. The paper towels will fray a little on the ends where you cut it with the knife, but it shouldn’t take too much elbow grease. I used a serrated knife as well. Hope that helps Jess!

      1. Amanda says:

        I use a non-serated sharp chef’s knife and that works great.

  27. Dorene says:

    I found a natural cleaning solution recipe that uses vinegar that has had orange or any citrus peel soaked in it for 5 days, this could be used instead of plain vinegar.

  28. Diana says:

    Sorry I am new to this and I’m not sure where to find the other recipes you have. Can you please tell me whether you have a recipe for baby wipes.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Amanda says:

      Use 2 tbsp baby wash, 2 tbsp baby lotion, and 2 cups hot water. Mix well with a wisk to break up the lotion. Pour over half of an extra large bounty roll half that is already in an old round wipe container. You will need to pull the cardboard insert out of the roll with needle nose pliers first and also pull up the center of the roll. Then pour in the liquid and let set until it’s absorbed by the towel. It helps to flip it over.

  29. [...] [Click here to see the original blog post & full tutorial] [...]

  30. Colleen says:

    I understand Tea Tree oil is a disinfectant also.I think that would be less chemicals and healthier. I like the coffee can idea.

  31. amartin says:

    I use lemon scented pinesol and when I throw the wipe away, it also helps keep my trash cans spelling a little fresher.

  32. Tinabug says:

    Do you know of a recipe for flushable wipes? Or is it ok to flush a half of a paper towel down the drain?

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      I wouldn’t advise to flush the paper towel down the toilet but let us look into the flushable wipes!

      1. Amanda says:

        Paper towels do not break down as toilet paper does. Thus it will clog your toilet.

  33. [...] Click here to find out how you can make your OWN disinfecting wipes [...]

  34. [...] Here is the site where I got my direction from. I did just what she said except, I did however change a few things up: [...]

  35. [...] Make your Own Disinfecting Wipes + More! by blogs.cincysavers.com Comments commentsPowered by Facebook Comments Filed Under: 00 s, Cleaning Tips, General Tagged With: disinfecting wipes Sign Up Now forFree Updates [...]

  36. Leah says:

    For flushable wipes? This might work…

    I’m beginning to cloth diaper and the company I bought mine from also sells flushable liners. They are probably spendy (100 for $5) but at least their flushable! They probably won’t soak up as much fluid though and they are a thinner material, so I don’t know how well they will work. If anyone decides to try, the site is below and please post to let everyone know how it works!

    http://www.alvababy.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=21_22&products_id=325

    1. Amanda says:

      How is this any different than just using disposable diapers? Just stick with cloth and then covers. I’ve also used baby wash cloths instead of disposable wipes, kept in the same container and washed with the diapers.

    2. liz says:

      DO FLUSH THESE DOWN THE TOILET! We just had a new sewer line put in and the owner said that everything and anything on the market that says flushable is NOT and will not break down. This includes a single baby wipe, feminine wipes and flushable liners. They can get caught on anything whether its a tree root or a loss of grade in your line and it could cause your entire system to need replacement.

      Just throw them in a trashcan!

  37. Christie says:

    If you wanted to save some more money, you could also use old tshirts cut into squares. It would take more time to wash them and set them up, but you wouldn’t have to worry about paper towels.

  38. [...] Click HERE for complete instructions. Share this:FacebookPinterestTwitterPrintTumblrEmailLike this:Like Loading…   Leave a comment [...]

  39. Erin Lunger says:

    If you take a glass jar and fill it with vinegar and orange peels and let it sit sealed for 2 weeks the solution will smell like citrus. Orange oil has natural cleaning/disinfecting properties as well as vinegar. I love this all purpose cleaning solution.

  40. Amanda says:

    I’ve done this with baby wipes. I used to make my own and then stick them in used round wipe containers. For all of you that have concerns about the ‘wipes’ drying out, think of the wipes that originally came in the container, whether you’re making baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, personal wipes, etc. They didn’t dry up in their container, did they? Then neither will yours. And for making them in the round containers, pull the dry cardboard center out with needle nose pliers BEFORE you wet it. Squish the roll, pulling up the center corner first, into the container, then dump the liquids in and close. And use any brand of paper towel that is cloth like. Have fun!

  41. [...] a fanpage retirou a receita deste site: http://blogs.cincysavers.com/diy-tuesday-make-your-own-disinfecting-wipes-more/ google_ad_client = "pub-1662250046693311"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; [...]

  42. [...] How to make your own disinfecting wipes [...]

  43. Chelle says:

    I found this link thru Home Tips World on FB n this site is great!! Im in New Zealand so dont get Pine Sol etc that you get in the US but I reckon Dettol will work brilliantly! Im goin to give this a crack this weekend as I love using wipes in my bathroom (especially the loo coz I have a 12 yr old boy lol) so thank you very much for sharing! You’re goin to see me round here a lot now LOL

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      Hi Chelle!
      Thanks so much for leaving us a comment and I’m glad you can find something similar to PineSol. Best of luck to you and looking forward to seeing your comments again :)
      Megan Fenno

  44. Debbie says:

    How about re-using a previous wipe container instead of purchase one.

  45. Laurie says:

    I’ve been making my own wipes since I first read this idea but I struggle with cutting the paper towels without mangling them, anyone else?

    I also don’t use quite so much liquid as mine had so much pooling in the bottom I was able to use the residue for a second bowl of wipes.

    I love the idea that I can use whatever scent/or no scent that I choose. Brilliant idea!

    1. Megan Fenno says:

      Hi Laurie!
      Try using a super sharp knife. If that doesn’t work, you could also use a hand saw, just a small one should work fine. I now have my husband hooked and he made some. But instead of using a sharp kitchen knife, he used his little hand saw in the garage. Regardless, there will always be little shreds of towel where you cut them. I just pull those off. Hope this helps! Megan Fenno

  46. Chelle says:

    A sharp craft knife should work ok Laurie, maybe squish it down a bit before cutting n use maybe a steel ruler etc if you want something to lean against or keep the blade straight? Im wondering if 3 ply loo paper (the quilted stuff) would work? Possibly not strong enough tho?

  47. joanne says:

    I use to make this when my kids were little and I needed mucho baby wipes!! I would use baby wash and water!! loved it and sooo much cheaper!

  48. [...] el blog de Cincysavers nos explican todo lo que necesitamos para hacer unas toallitas desinfectantes. Los [...]

  49. [...] HERE is the link to how to make your own wet wipes. I bet you have the ingredients for this project in [...]

  50. Angela says:

    I do this also to make my baby wipes.
    2cups warm water, 2TBS baby wash, 2TBS baby lotion. a couple drops of alcohol (optional, if you use lots don’t need at all, is to keep it from molding.)
    Cut towels in half. The cardboard paper comes right out as soon as you have poured the liquid over the towels It smells good and you know what you are using on yourself/baby (makes an awesome makeup remover as well.) I add a tad of baby oil too, just because :)

  51. Katie says:

    I used a container of large Cool Whip and cut my paper towels very large! Will know tomorrow if it works. love the idea!

  52. Christine Pfeifer says:

    I make my wipes using Bounty napkins. I bought a square plastic container at a garage sale for 25 cents. I use coconut oil, water and a tbls of baby wash to make baby wipes. The solution works well to remove make-up. I use vinegar and water with some tea tree oil for cleaning.

  53. […] MeganFenno – Make Your Own Disinfecting Wipes […]

  54. […] do though to help keep germs down and chances of spreading germs is to disinfect the house often. Disinfecting wipes can be purchased at your local store, but they can also become costly if you are disinfecting […]

  55. […] MeganFenno – Make Your Own Disinfecting Wipes […]