Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Fabulous Tip -- Homemade Household Wipes

As I was reading through blogs ~ I came across THIS post on how to make your own household cleaning wipes! I LOVED this idea! Fabuloso (if that is a word?)

Moneyless Mommas, Tara & Jessica were so creative in coming up with a safe, economical way to make your own household wipes! I found it in particular perfect timing for me, because somehow we ended up with two huge packs of paper towels from Costco! So, I was able to put some of these rolls to good use!

And, then I stumbled across this site and found cleaning wipes too! So, there are several places to find cleaning wipes when you do a google search.

I was inspired to make my own and thus I adapted both cleaning wipe places and came up with this!

Cleaning Wipes

Materials Needed:

  • cylindrical or tall square plastic food storage container, 10-cup capacity. ( I found mine at Walmart - a two pack for 2.99)
  • extra-large roll of paper towels - I used 1 roll bounty paper towel cut in half (my hubby cuts them in the garage with his power miter saw)
  • cleaning agents of your choice (recipes follow)
  • electric drill with 1/2-inch drill bit
  • liquid measuring cups


In the garage or workshop area, place a small block of wood beneath the plastic food storage container lid. Use electric drill to drill a 1/2-inch diameter hole in the center of the container lid.

For best results, select an extra-large roll of good quality paper towels for this project. I used Bounty and that seemed to work very well. I am told that less-expensive towels fray or shred when pulled through the holder.

For cutting the roll in half using the electric knife:
Without removing the paper towel wrapper, use the electric knife to cut the paper towel roll into two shorter rolls. Save the second roll for a refill later. Be patient! It may take up to two minutes to cut through the towel roll and cardboard tube inside.
Otherwise -- bat your eyes and ask hubby to cut it in half for you using his power tool!

Remove the wrapper, and place one short paper towel roll inside plastic food storage container. Using a liquid measuring cup, gently pour one of the following cleaning solution recipes over the top of the paper towel roll.

You will need between 2 and 4 cups of cleaning solution, depending on the size and absorbency of the paper towel product selected. These recipes make about three cups of solution; increase or decrease amounts if needed.

Place the lid on the plastic food storage container, and allow paper towels to absorb cleaning solution for 4 hours to overnight.

Open the food storage container. Gently pull the wet cardboard tube from the center of the paper towel roll and discard. 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.Pull gently on the exposed end to separate the cleaning wipe.


General Cleaning Surface Recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • optional: A few drops of favorite scented essential oil. I used lavender.
Disinfectant Cleaning Recipe:

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

Window Glass Cleaning Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


  1. that is BRILLIANT Laura :) I SO want to do this. However .... I don't have an electric knife & my husband doesn't have any nifty power tools...what's a girl to do in this situation?

    1. Anonymous7:52 AM

      I have done this technique with baby wipes and have always sawed the paper towel roll in half with a serated knife, works perfect!

    2. what kind of solution do u use for baby wipes?

    3. Anonymous1:05 PM

      I also use this technique for baby wipes. The recipe is 2 cups warm or hot water, 2 Tablespoons liquid soap (baby bath or hand soap), and 2 Tablespoons oil (baby oil, coconut oil or even EVOO all work well - NO vegetable oil!) Mix it all up. Do NOT cut a hole in the lid for these! They will dry out too quickly. Just open the lid and pull a few out as needed.

      Use the same paper towels as recommended above - heavy Bounty roll. Put the 1/2 roll in the container, cut side down, add the mixture, put the top on and flip it over! Yes, flip it over or it won't soak up to the top. This will keep your wipes moist but not too moist. If you use more water you have to ring them out before using. Not good!

      :) I hope you enjoy the homemade baby wipes! They really are so much better!


      PS For travel, I just pull out a bunch and put them in a plastic baggie, press out the air, and seal. Voila! Travel wipes! :)

    4. Lauren Dennis10:10 AM

      I also use the baby wipes. They are awesome. I only use 1cup water, 1Tbspn babywash, and 1 Tbspn of baby oil, only because I like my wipes a little more dry. I am excited to use the cleaning wipes! FYI: I didn't see it mentioned above (may not have been looking hard enough), but you HAVE to use Bounty; for some reason, the others mold. Select-a-size works perfectly!

    5. Anonymous10:11 AM

      A non serrated knife actually works much better than a serrated knife I discovered last month. A much smoother cut. So get out your biggest sharpest smooth knife;)

  2. YAY!! Glad you like it! (I have also used a half and half solution of water and my fav. cleaning solution - but still like the vinegar best - because I'm cheap!)

    Hope your girls like cleaning! ;)

  3. ¡¡¡¡¡Fabuloso!!! You are an artist!BICOS

  4. TARA -- You could try and maybe using a serrated knife? I am not sure how long that would take and if it would work. Otherwise, I suppose you could use the whole towel roll and find a container that it would fit into.

    hope that would help??

  5. I'm gonna have to try this! I have heard about making your own baby wipes. I have a big container of Costco's Kirkland brand "environmentally friendly" multipurpose cleaner. maybe I will try what Jessica suggested and use half of the cleaner and half water. Thanks for sharing, I follow you on Facebook and love all your tips!

  6. if you use the vinegar instead of cleaning solution, you can use it on yourself as well. Vinegar is fantastic for the skin! Especially great on your face. (stinky, but amazing)

  7. Matti -- yes! I think that is why I love doing these recipes that are safe -- and even safe for my kids. I add essential oil to the solution --so that it does not smell too much like vinegar! =)


  8. Thanks Laura! I am going to try this out - I'll post back about my experience!

  9. Just found this via pinterest. Great idea! Thanks!

  10. Anonymous10:06 AM

    How do you keep the wipes from drying out without a seal of some kind on the plastic container?

  11. Thanks Amy for the pin!

    Anonymous - well, you need to use a lid to help prevent drying up. The hole on the top of the lid is just big enough to allow the paper towel to go through. There should be enough liquid in the container to keep the towels moist. Sometimes if they do dry up, then I add a little water. But, so far I haven't had a problem. Hope it works for you.


  12. Debra9:49 AM

    You could also use an old *insert name brand here* wipe container, You know, one of the jumbo ones. Or you can use a baby wipe container and pull the wipes from the side, not the center. But you'll probably have to use some of the paper towels off the roll first. or, if you're really annal, you could fold the paper towels back and forth so they stack and then put them in a baby wipes container. If you don't have kids, ask around, I'm sure a parent you know has plenty of extras.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Thank you so much for posting this. I decided to add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil to my vinegar solution for a natural disinfectant and cleaner smell because it's what I happened to have it on hand. I'd like to try the lavendar oil next though. For more info on Tea Tree Oil and it's uses go to
    As always, do your own research on ANY aditives to learn of any safety warnnings that may come with them.

  15. fgs ditch the isopropyl and use vodka (ethyl alcohol or ethanol) for your alcohol.

    United States Department of Labor
    Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Isopropyl Alcohol

    2. Effect on Humans
    "Delayed dermal absorption is attributed to a number of pediatric poisonings that have occurred following repeated or prolonged sponge bathing with isopropyl alcohol to reduce fever. In several cases symptoms included respiratory distress, stupor, and coma [Hathaway et al. 1991; NLM 1992]"

    What Are the Dangers of Inhaling Rubbing Alcohol?

  16. I love this idea! Thank you so much for posting it. I've been trying to find a safer way to clean around my children :D!

  17. I agree with Chef Alicia! This is wonderful- and safe- ! Thank you sooooo much for this!

    You may want to check out an organization that I'm deeply connected to-
    Watch the short clip-
    And thanks again!

    Robin in Israel

  18. Anonymous1:06 PM

    I have used a similar method for homemade baby wipes. I have a daughter with very sensitive skin who would often get raw, red rashes on her bum. I found an ingredient combination that worked for her and have used them every since. As for the facial wipes, I would recommend some solution with witch hazel.

  19. Anonymous10:59 PM

    Oh yes definitely a new version of Baby wipes. I thought the same thing for my job

  20. Anonymous8:03 AM

    So how is this less complicated than just buying cleaning wipes...?

    1. She never said it was less complicated she said it's an economical way to make the wipes. For those of us who are trying to save money this is fantastic!!

    2. It's not just more's healthier too!!!
      Chemicals are not our friends!

  21. What a great find!! Can't wait to try this. One question though...since there is no lid doesn't the paper towels dry out?

  22. Anonymous10:42 PM

    If you let your vinegar sit with orange peel over night then you can use it and have citrus scented wipes... so exciped to actually put it on wipes... I have been useing the citrus vinegar as a spray now I am going to try it on wipes thanks I am so excited

  23. Anonymous9:49 PM

    What about facial cleanser or makeup removal wipes. Any recipes?

  24. Anonymous3:12 PM

    I had a problem with my wipes growing mold after only a week. I used distilled water with my cleaner. What could I do to prevent this. I really liked the wipes until this happened.

    1. Someone earlier suggested only using bounty rolls because any other one molds

  25. Anonymous12:36 AM

    problems with mould? add a few drops of natural antiseptic, like tea tree or eucalyptus oil. anyone tried this?

  26. Thanks for the ideas. Safer to use than alcohol choice witch hazel. Instead of pine power stick with the vinegar and add essential oils to that as well. This was great. I also use hydrogen peroxide instead of any bleach yes it disinfects and yes it bleaches without the harm.

  27. I don't use Pinesol...ever! So I wasn't about to go out and buy something I don't use!
    So, I only use 1/2 cup of Simple Green (lemon scented) and 2 1/2 cups water!
    I also just used some pieces of flannel I had leftover from a sewing project, cut it into decent size pieces and just throw them in an old wipe container (one that's easy to open/close one handed). I just squeeze one out and use it, throw it in with the cloth diapers to wash and toss them back in the container!!!
    I considered going the disposable way, but decided against it.
    When I make my baby wipe solution, I use 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp vinegar (I use white), and 8-10 drops Tea Tree oil (it called for more but I don't care for the smell of it).
    Also using flannel wipes instead of disposable.....then they still go in the warmer!!!

    1. Great idea, love it and going to implement it. Greetings from Guatemala!

  28. Anonymous9:11 PM

    I never used a drill for the opening i use a box cutter and cut an "x" in the middle keeps them from drying out fast.
    I also use vinager and lemon juice.

    1. Anonymous1:05 PM

      Oooo.....I like this idea for both reasons. I was also wondering about the towelettes drying out too fast without a tighter seal, but the "X" cut opening would be less 'open'.
      The vinegar and lemon juice sounds good too---combining the advantages of vinegar's grease cutting and mild anti-bacterial nature with lemon juice's additional grease cutting/cleaning properties.
      For the mould problems some encounter, it may not be your cup of tea, but nothing beats a squirt (or even a few drops) of household bleach to keep things sweet for extended periods.

  29. Tanya4:22 PM

    Love all of these suggestions and ideas. Im all about saving money that way i can spend more in different areas for my children.

  30. Anonymous2:15 AM

    I read you from spain. great idea¡

  31. How do you prevent the paper towels from drying out? Once you cut a hole in the lid, air will get in and the towels won't stay moist.

  32. This is also a great idea for reconstitution of cleaning wipes that have dried out because someone forgot to close the container properly.

  33. This is also a great idea for reconstitution of cleaning wipes that have dried out because someone forgot to close the container properly.

  34. Your blog has given me that thing which I never expect to get from all over the websites. Nice post guys!

  35. Has anyone used Thieves oil? Wondering about the vinegar/ thieves combo....


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