DIY Natural Disinfecting Wipes for Home Cleaning

Companies will have us believe that we need wipes for everything – our countertops, our toilets, our faces, and our babies’ bottoms. They may be convenient, but those wipes can wreak havoc on your health, your home, and the environment.

While store-bought disinfecting wipes may be handy for quick cleanups, they’re definitely not eco-friendly or good for your respiratory health. Numerous studies have shown that common household cleaning products, including store-brand sanitizing wipes, can actually induce asthma or other respiratory problems in otherwise healthy individuals.

Commercial wipes contain many harsh chemicals that come with some well documented harmful side effects. To add to the confusion, manufacturers are allowed to keep consumers in the dark about exactly what’s in their cleaning products. Now of course there are safer commercial alternatives out there, but you’d be surprised at what you’ll find when you dig a little deeper into the brands you know and love.

Many people prefer using natural or organic cleaning products to keep their homes clean, and these DIY wipes fit the bill perfectly. But even if you don’t mind using commercial cleaners, you really can’t beat the convenience of these homemade wipes! When you’ve used them up, all you have to do is wash your cloths and they’ll be ready to be reused. No need to make an extra trip to the store, and no need to spend money at all if you have a couple of ingredients on hand!

This recipe is simple and uses 3 key ingredients to make homemade disinfecting wipes.

1. Alchohol

Alcohol is a natural antibacterial and antiviral.    How does alcohol kill viruses and bacteria?  Alcohol damages the cell walls of organisms.  That allows the alcohol to enter the organism and destroy them.

According to the CDC, you want to use alcohol that is at least 70% alcohol to disinfect surfaces.  You can use either ethanol (that’s what in the alcohol that you drink) or isopropyl alcohol (that’s what’s commonly called rubbing alcohol). 

The key is to use a product that is at least 70% alcohol

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection suggested that viruses could be “efficiently inactivated” with disinfectants that contain alcohol and .5% hydrogen peroxide.

3. Essential Oil

Studies have shown that many essential oils do have antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral benefits. The following essential oils (in no particular order) fight bacteria and household odors.

It’s important to note that essential oils are only a supplement to the disinfecting properties of the alcohol.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Clove
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Palmarosa
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Bergamot
  • Peppermint

Surprisingly, numerous studies have shown that cinnamon is actually the best performing antibacterial essential oil.

DIY Natural Disinfecting Wipes for Home Cleaning

1. Mix the following in a large measuring cup

  • 3 cups alcohol (see note below about which alcohol to use)
  • 3/4 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide (3% hydrogen peroxide)
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil
  • 15 drops clove essential oil
  • 10 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil

Here are just some of the alcohols that you can use to properly disinfect surfaces for viruses and other germs:

  1. 70%+ ethanol products — Look for 140 proof or higher drinkable grain alcohols.  You’ll find these in the grain alcohol (or vodka) section of your local liquor store.
    • Everclear (190 proof, 92.4% ethanol)
    • Spirytus vodka (note: While most vodka sold in the United States is only 80 proof or 40% alcohol, Spirytus vodka is 192 proof, 96% alcohol.  When using vodka in this homemade “Lysol” disinfecting spray make sure that you choose a vodka that is at least 140 proof)
    • Golden Grain (190 proof, 95% alcohol)
  2. 70%+ isopropyl alcohol – You’ll find these in the pharmaceutical section of your local Walmart, Target, or drug store.  Look for bottles labeled isopropyl alcohol, also called rubbing alcohol.
    • 70% rubbing alcohol
    • 91% rubbing alcohol
    • 99% rubbing alcohol

2. Pour about 2 cups of the alcohol/hydrogen peroxide/essential oil mixture into your wipes container

3. Prepare the cloths for your wipes

  • Old white t-shirt cut into squares 
  • Microfiber
  • Cotton cloths

4. Cut them into identical squares or sizes and lay them on top of each other

5. Fold the stack of cloths and add them to your wipes container

6. Turn the wipes container on its side and swirl the disinfectant liquid around the wipes so that they all get wet.

7. Pour the remaining cup of disinfectant over the wipes trying to get all the wipes wet.

Tip:  You should have some liquid at the bottom of your wipes container.  This liquid will help make sure that your wipes stay properly moistened as you use them in the future.

How to use these wipes to disinfect surfaces

  • If the surface is visibly dirty, pre-clean surface with an all-purpose cleaner or cleaning wipes
  • Pull a disinfect wipe out of the container, making sure that the wipe is wet with a disinfecting solution.
  • Wipe hard, non-porous surfaces with the wipe until the surface is visibly wet.
  • Leave surface wet for a few minutes and allow to air dry.

Wring excess liquid from homemade cleaning wipes before using. After using, rinse the cloth out with clean water and use it to wipe the surface again if necessary. Wipes can be machine washed after using and returned to the container to be used again.