This post contains affiliate links & photos. See our full disclosure here.
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!
The Difference Between Cleansing and Disinfecting
There is definitely a difference between cleaning a surface and disinfecting it.
According to Wikipedia:
- “Disinfectants are antimicrobial agents designed to inactivate or destroy microorganisms on inert surfaces. Disinfection does not necessarily kill all microorganisms…”
- “The term cleanser refers to a product that cleans or removes dirt or other substances.”
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.
Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
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.
If you’re worried about germs and illnesses, wear disposable gloves while you clean surfaces.
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)
Note: Again, the CDC and others recommend wiping down frequently used surfaces daily, using a disinfectant with at least 70% alcohol (in order for them to be effective).
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!
*Note that we make no claims about the germ-killing effects of these DIY disinfectant wipes.
How to Make Disinfectant Wipes (Printable)
If you want to learn how to make disinfectant wipes, then you will love this recipe for REUSABLE DIY “Clorox”-style Wipes! They even smell lemony-fresh!
- 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?
I’ve been thinking about doing this! I even have a jar that I got at the thrift store and some bar cloths to use. Just needed a recipe! Thanks!
Perfect! Glad you found the recipe here, Faye!
Thank you for the recipe! I already purchased the white washcloths.
I am relatively new to your blog. I really enjoy it. Thank you for all your time and sharing your information.
We’re so glad you found us and are enjoying our posts! 🙂
love this idea, I love to use these to make the house smell great and with this recipe I know that I will be able to save some money as well thanks for sharing
come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com
Yes! Very fresh smelling!
I’m going to try this! I found you on the Simple Homestead Blog Hop.
Yay! So glad you found us!
So smart! I’m going to make some. Thank you for sharing at the To Grandma’s House We Go DIY, Crafts, Recipes and More link party! Pinned!
This is great, found you on the hop! Do you have some way of making them portable, like what container would you put them if you wanted to use them on the go? Thanks!
Hmm. I would think a ziploc would work well!
You had said once they get dirty to put them in the laundry. Is that after a 1 time use or if they smell bad or visibly dirty?
That’s entirely up to you, Chrystal. And what you’re comfortable with. If you want to use them and wash them once and don’t find you use the whole cloth, you could always cut the cloths up smaller before adding the liquids.
Does it have to be a glass jar?
I prefer a glass jar, but have not used anything else.
Hello ! I’m going to try that for sure !! I’m French, so i don’t have access to Dawm, would any liquid dish soap do the thing ? And I’m worried about residues left by the soap, do you need to rinse or is it all clear thanks to the alcohol ? Thanks for sharing !!!
Hi! I’ve not tried them with any other dish soap. But you could try! I’ve not found any residue, but if you do, just use less soap in your next batch!
When washing these, do you wash them in a separate load or do you throw them in with other clothes/similar colors?
I tend to wash them either separately or with other towels.
I just made this today, a double batch too, because I have almost 30 rages from old T-shirts. I’m just wondering if the cleaning solution is harmful to hands. I’m sure the answer is obviously no. It just checking. Thanks. Ps love it so far!
Woohoo! How fun! In short, it’s not harmful to hands. But it may be drying a bit due to the alcohol. 🙂
Thank you for the reply. Still going strong on the whips! Dries out my hands a little bit, but as soon as I wash my hands it’s ok. They’re great! Have a bit of residue sometimes but I think it’s because I squeeze them out too much so their sudsy. I am so sharing this with others! Especially mom friends! Thank you!!!!
I like this idea but dish soap bottles and rubbing alcohol bottles aren’t very zero waste since they are plastic…
Hi Emma. That’s true. Although I must point out I didn’t say zero waste anywhere at all in this post. I just said less waste. 🙂
How long do the rags last in the jar? Do they get smelly if left too long?
I haven’t noticed any bad smell. But I suppose they could get smelly if you left them in there for years?!
Can you use the wipes for disinfecting your hands?
I suppose you could, but they may be a little harsh. Sort of like strong hand sanitizer. Moisturize well! 🙂
After you use one, do you throw it back in the same jar as the other un-used ones still soaking in the solution? If you use one, you don’t want it to dry out but I’m not sure if there would be any contamination if you threw it back in the solution containing the un-used cloths. Thanks!
NO! Do not put it back in until you wash it! If you want smaller wipes, cut your cloth smaller!
Can I use other essential oils or is there a functional disinfecting dependence on the type of oil used?
Nope, whatever oils you like.
Apparently the concentration between 60% and 90% is the most effective for killing bacteria and viruses, and over 90% doesn’t kill as much bacteria as 70%. According to Lab Pro, a mixture of 30% water to 70% isopropyl alcohol works best.
Comments are closed.