I’m all about finding safer, less expensive ways to do things. Call me a bargain hunter, call me cheap, call me paranoid, call me whatever you want, but know this:
I’m always willing to try new things.
So when I started reading up on how storebought disinfecting wipes aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be, I decided it was time I start making my own cleaning wipes for the house.
With a ton of livestock, a messy dog, and an even messier husband hanging around the house, it’s pretty easy for the grime to start building up. So I decided to research a few different options for making my own home cleaning wipes, and wanted to pass these on to you at home.
Ready to get to cleaning?
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The Danger of Storebought Cleaning Wipes
Sure, they’re inexpensive and they’re easy to find. You can buy them in bulk and store them in the cupboard for years on end.
Disinfectant and antibacterial cleaning wipes are super popular, and they’re used all over the place – like in hospitals and schools. However, you really don’t need the level of disinfecting that’s provided in hospitals in your kitchen.
When you’re simply engaging in routine cleaning, like wiping down your countertops, you don’t need disinfecting wipes. You just need cleaning wipes. Disinfecting wipes are needed for things like cleaning up after cutting up raw chicken or when someone in the house has the flu.
Cleaning removes germs, while disinfecting kills them. However, the chemicals used in disinfecting wipes are not only no better at preventing illness than cleaning with soap and water – that’s according to the FDA – but they are incredibly harsh and can cause skin and eye irritation.
Here are some of the dangerous chemicals found in your cleaning wipes:
- Benzalkonium chloride
- Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride (C12-14)
- Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chlorides (C12-18)
- Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (C12-16)
- Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (C14 60%, C16 30%, C12 5%, C18 5%)
- Didecyldimethylammonium chloride
- Benzethonium chloride
- Dioctyl Dimethyl Ammonium chloride
I can’t even pronounce any of those – do you think I know what they are?
Plus, exposure to too many antibacterial agents can be risky. You need to come into contact with some healthy bacteria – this can strengthen your immune system and prevent the development of superbugs, or bacteria that cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Simple cleaners are best, helping to keep your family happy and healthy. And while I’m not ready to forego antibacterial cleaners altogether, I decided to whip up three simple batches of DIY cleaning wipes so that I’d be ready to go when the urge to clean struck next.
Some Tips Before You Get Started
Here are some things to keep in mind before you start whipping up batches of DIY cleaning wipes.
- All of these are safe to use on granite countertops, but you will need to omit the soap.
- Most of these wipes will last for a few months as long as they are sealed properly. You might need to re-dampen them if they get dried out, though.
- You will need a container to store your paper towels. You can purchase a large canister like this or you can rip the roll up into individual sheets and place them in large glass Ball jars. You could also recycle old Clorox wipes containers – you just might need to cut the rolls in half.
- Essential oils will give your cleaning supplies a nice scent and an additional germ-busting boost, but are not required.
- You will want to invest in some pretty sturdy paper towels – you’ll want ones like these that can hold up to the heavy moisture.
- Once your paper towels have absorbed all the moisture, you can pull the cardboard tube out of the center. This will allow you to pull out one wipe at a time, just like you would with commercial cleaning wipes.
- If you want to be even more eco-friendly, you can use old rags instead of paper towels. You might need a bit more cleaning solution to soak through the dense material, though.
Recipe 1: Simple DIY Cleaning Wipe Recipe
- 1 roll paper towels
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup of vinegar
- 1 tsp liquid dish soap
- 5 drops essential oil of your choosing (optional)
Start with a high-quality paper towel that won’t fall apart when it gets wet. Viva is a good choice. If you need to cut your paper towel roll to get it in the container, use a serrated knife to do so. Place your paper towel roll in your container.
Mix up your cleaning solution in an extra-large measuring cup. Pour it over your paper towels, shaking the container occasionally to make sure the entire towel is saturated. Let the liquid settle, then reach in and extract the cardboard tube. Start cleaning!
Recipe 2: Antibacterial DIY Cleaning Wipe Recipe
This is a great DIY wipe to make if you’re tackling the cold or flu in your home and really want to knock out those germs for good. It’s also good to use if you’re cleaning up after butchering chickens or have another germy mess to deal with.
- 1 roll paper towels
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon dish soap
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol or bleach
- 10 drops essential oil of your choosing (optional)
Combine all ingredients. Pour over a roll of paper towels in a sealable container. Let the paper towels soak up the liquid and then use it on any hard surface.
Recipe 3: Glass Cleaning Wipe Recipe
- 1 roll paper towels
- 2 cups of water
- ½ cup rubbing alcohol
- ½ cup vinegar
- 3 drops of lemon juice to remove hard stains (optional)
Combine all ingredients. Pour over a roll of paper towels in a sealable container. Let the paper towels soak up the liquid and then use it on any glass surface.
Now, if you’re cleaning a glass surface with accumulated stains or build up, like a shower door, you might want to add a few drops of lemon juice to the mixture. This will help get that grime and hard water residue off – no problem!
What Essential Oils are Best for Cleaning?
I mentioned in the resicipes above that essential oils are optional when you are making your own DIY cleaning wipes. However, the benefit of adding essential oils is that they not only smell great, but they also offer other health benefits, too.
Here are some of the best essential oils to consider – many of which you may already have growing as herbs in your backyard!
- Lemon – antiviral and antibacterial
- Wild orange – cuts through grease
- Tea tree – kills bacteria and viruses
- Rosemary – antibacterial and antiseptic
- Lavender – antibacterial
- Eucalyptus – germicide
- Peppermint – antibacterial
- Cinnamon – antibacterial and antiseptic
- Pine – smells great!
- Thyme – kills germs
- Oregano – kills germs & supports immune functioning
Tips for Cleaning
Use the cleaners I’ve described above only when necessary – if you don’t need a disinfecting wipe, don’t use one, and opt for the basic cleaner instead. And if you do need an antibacterial wipe, let the bleach remain on the surface for at least ten minutes – this will make sure the germs are actually killed.
When you use a wipe, don’t use it again on a separate surface. For example, don’t wipe down the toilet and then use that wipe to clean the counter. It can spread bacteria. Throw your wipes away immediately after use and wash surfaces that have been disinfected before using them again.
That’s all there is to it! Hopefully you’ll head into this next cold and flu season a little healthier – and a little less stressed about your cleaning regimen!
What other recommendations for all-natural cleaners do you know? I’d love to hear about them! Be sure to let me know in the comments.
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