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In this post: If you want to learn how to make DIY disinfectant wipes that can be washed and reused, then you will love this recipe for REUSABLE DIY “Clorox”- type wipes! They even smell lemony-fresh!
The great thing about store-bought disinfectant wipes is that you know you are getting something clean when you use them. The bad thing about those same wipes is that they can cost a fair amount and they are going to our landfill because they can’t be reused. They have a place and a purpose for sure.
But if you want to learn how to make cleaning and DIY disinfectant wipes that can be washed and reused, then you will love this recipe for REUSABLE DIY “Clorox”-type wipes!
Table of Contents
The Difference Between Cleansing and Disinfecting
There is definitely a difference between cleaning a surface and disinfecting it.
According to Wikipedia:
If you want to make household cleansing wipes and aren’t worried about disinfecting, here’s a quick DIY:
Mix 2 cups of water with 3 teaspoons of Dawn dish soap and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Pour over washcloths in a sealable glass jar. Use as needed to clean surfaces. Then wash and remake.
5 Types of Household Disinfectants
Of course, you can use store-bought disinfectants to clean and disinfect hard surfaces. But if you can’t find any, here are some guidelines for the ingredients you need when making your own (according to the CDC).
Solutions made of regular ol’ bleach can be used to disinfect, if appropriate for the surface.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using bleach and make sure you’re in a space with proper ventilation.
To make a DIY bleach cleaner, mix:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Leave DIY bleach mixture on the surface for at least 1 minute.
Any DIY cleaners or disinfectants need to contain at least 70% alcohol. (Conversely, hand sanitizer needs to contain at minimum 60% alcohol.)
See below for making reusable disinfectant wipes.
Where to Find Alcohol
I know that a lot of places have recently been sold out of rubbing alcohol, so even making your own disinfectant wipes can be tricky.
Here are some suggestions of places to look for alcohol:
- your local grocery store
- the drugstore/pharmacies
- your corner store
- online places like amazon (they have been working to reduce price gouging and to increase stock of essential items)
- office supply stores, like Staples
- hardware stores
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide of 3% or higher can also be used as a disinfectant cleaner for most surfaces. Choose food-grade hydrogen peroxide for surfaces like cutting boards and even kitchen counters.
Vinegar is a great disinfectant for many surfaces including bathrooms, kitchens, and even fruits and veggies. The only downside really is the smell.
TIP: Avoid using vinegar on granite, marble, stone floors or surfaces, hardwood floors, and iron. The acid in the vinegar can break down the natural stone, wood, and iron. [source]
Vodka at 140-proof or higher can be used as a disinfectant as well. Vodka is a natural deodorizer as well so it’s great on fabrics. It is flammable though – so be careful.
What About Essential Oils?
Some essential oils are said to have antiviral properties, along with antibacterial and antifungal properties.
An article in the American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products suggests that some essential oils may help fight flu viruses, though more research is necessary [source1, source2].
However, I’m including a list of possible antiviral/antibacterial/antifungal essential oils here, in case you’d like to add them to your wipes for their scent or potential anti-germ properties:
- bergamot oil
- eucalyptus oil
- red thyme
- cinnamon leaf
- tea tree
How to Make DIY Disinfectant Wipes – for Hard, Non-Porous Surfaces!
*Please note: these disinfectant wipes have not been lab-tested. Use good judgment and always practice good cleaning and hygiene.
- 2 cups rubbing alcohol (at least 70% alcohol)
- 2-3 tsp Dawn dishwashing soap (adjust the amount to suit)
- 10 drops Lemon (or other) Essential Oil (for scent)
- 10 Washcloths
- Glass jar (with sealing lid so alcohol doesn’t evaporate)
1. First decide how large you want your DIY disinfectant wipes. I cut most of my washcloths in half, but I left some full size for larger jobs.
2. Fill your jar with the washcloths.
3. In a bowl, mix together, rubbing alcohol, dish soap, and lemon essential oil.
4. Pour the cleaning mix into the jar over the washcloths.
5. Put the lid on and use wipes as needed. After your rags are dirty, just throw them in the washing machine and remake them as necessary!
How to Use Your DIY Disinfectant Wipes
To use the wipes, wipe down high-touch, hard surfaces and leave ten minutes to dry.
Surfaces to Clean with Disinfectant Wipes
The following are surfaces that are frequently touched throughout the day, and as such should be cleaned often:
- light switches
A Note From Shannon
Okay, so here’s the thing. I’m not a scientist or a doctor. I’m just a wife and mom. My heart is to provide what little help I can in all this.
This wipes recipe was created years ago, before everything that’s currently happening. The wipes definitely clean surfaces. And I’ve updated the “recipe” with the latest info.
Does that mean they will kill everything? Not necessarily.
But they can help if you don’t have or can’t get the store-bought disinfecting wipes.
And they are washable, so they save waste.
I know we are all confused and stressed and doing the best we each can. Please use common sense and use what resources you have well. If that means you increase the alcohol to make yourself more comfortable, by all means, do that.
Regular soap and warm water is said to destroy the current bug, so that could work too.
I really don’t have all the answers. But I hope the projects and things I have created here help you.
The Original DIY Disinfectant Wipes Recipe
Some of you have emailed to ask me for the original version of this recipe. You know, the one from before we needed all the rubbing alcohol. So, I’ve added it here just in case you still want to make it the old way:
- 3 cups distilled water
- ¾ cup rubbing alcohol
- 6 tbsp Dawn
- 10 drops Lemon Essential Oil
- Glass jar
Mix everything together and pour over the washcloths in the jar.
After your rags are used, just throw them in the washing machine on a hot water cycle and then remake them as necessary!
- First decide how large you want your wipes. I cut most of my washcloths in half, but I left some full size for larger jobs.
- Fill your jar with the washcloths.
- In a bowl, mix together rubbing alcohol, Dawn and lemon essential oil.
- Pour the cleaning mix into the jar over the washcloths.
- Put the lid on and use as needed. After your rags are dirty, just throw in the washing machine and remake as necessary!
*Please note: these disinfectant wipes have not been lab-tested. Use good judgement and always practice good cleaning and hygiene.
To use wipes, wipe down hard, non-porous surfaces and leave ten minutes to dry.
Have you ever made your own cleaning or DIY disinfectant wipes?