Homemade Natural Cleaning Wipes that Disinfect

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Homemade DIY Cleaning Wipes

These homemade DIY cleaning wipes are perfect for cleaning and disinfecting your home. Just whip up a batch, store under your sink, and grab when needed.

Homemade Cleaning Wipes

We can all appreciate an ingenious marketing strategy, right? Here’s one for you, disposable cleaning wipes – absolutely brilliant.

Companies will have us believe that we need wipes for everything – our countertops, our toilets, our faces, and our babies’ bottoms. Yeah, I admit that I was a consumer who bought into this one. You could find disinfecting cleaning wipes under every sink in my house, once upon a time. Right beside the paper towels and the harsh chemical cleaners.

Here’s what happened – I finally realized all these things were wasteful, costing me wads of cash, harmful to our health and the environment, and could be easily replaced with more natural homemade cleaning wipes. Whatever happened to the days when a good old rag, washcloth, or sponge could be used for anything? Oh, those days are long gone as far as multinational corporations are concerned, because they can’t make any money if we knit our own dishcloth (learn how here!), cut up our old t-shirts for rags, or disinfect our sponges to be used again.

Commercial Wipes

The average person spends over $70 on disposable cleaning wipes every year – packaged in wasteful plastic and eventually tossed in the trash. I prefer reusable over disposable, and can easily make homemade cleaning wipes with old t-shirts or rags that I already have. (The word FREE is music to my ears.)

Besides being expensive, commercial cleaning wipes usually rely on harsh chemical ingredients, like bleach, to disinfect. While bleach definitely kills germs, it has some well documented harmful side effects that have been known for decades.

How about a homemade cleaning wipe that will disinfect with natural ingredients like white vinegar and antibacterial essential oils? Want wipes that can be washed and re-used? How about a wipe that can be made with the material of your choice, in the size you prefer for wiping up messes? Guess what? It’s time for DIY cleaning wipes!

Homemade cleaning wipes are an absolute cinch to make and will become your go-to cleaning helper around the house. Our recipe for citrusy vinegar wipes will leave surfaces shining, save you money, and won’t pose a health risk to your family. Feel free to use the essential oils in the recipe, or another antibacterial/antiviral essential oils of your choice.

Homemade DIY Cleaning Wipes

You will need:

  • wide-mouth quart-size mason jar with lid (or other 4 – 6 cup capacity container with a tightly-fitting lid)
  • 15-20 pieces of pre-cut cloth (we use cotton t-shirts cut into 10-inch x 10-inch squares)

Homemade Wipes 1



To make your homemade cleaning wipes, combine your liquid ingredients in the mason jar or other container of your choice. (Glass is best because essential oils will react with plastic.) Swirl or stir to combine. Add pre-cut cloths to jar and press down firmly to soak up the liquid. Secure lid and tip jar upside down if needed to further moisten wipes.

Store wipes in a cool dark cupboard to preserve the properties of the essential oils.

Homemade DIY Cleaning Wipes 2

To Use

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.

DIY Cleaning Wipes for Many Tasks

Since these wipes don’t contain any harsh chemical ingredients, they’re safe to use just about anywhere, and on almost any surface. They’re great on glass, stainless steel, tile, linoleum, porcelain, and more.

Keep a jar of homemade wipes in the kitchen for disinfecting countertops and wiping up spills. Use them to clean the stovetop, sink, microwave, floors, faucets, and refrigerator messes.

A jar of homemade cleaning wipes should always have a home in the bathroom. They’re great for wiping down sinks, mirrors, toilets, floors, shower doors, and faucets.

So use up the rest of those expensive cleaning wipes you have under your sink, and replace them with a new, effective DIY version!

References and Recommended Reading:


About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

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DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.


  1. Ashley says

    I don’t want to use lavender in this. My brother has GERD and when I researched lavender one of the things it does is cause and/or exasperate GERD. Is there anything else I can substitute for it that won’t do that?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Ashley! You can most certainly use other essential oils for this recipe. In fact, I included a link in the last sentence of the “Why you don’t need commercial wipes” section – it will take you to a list of essential oils. Just look for oils that are antibacterial/anti-viral & choose one you like.

  2. Allie says

    This reminds me of another idea I found recently – when you peel oranges, put the peels into a jar of white vinegar and leave for a few weeks until you get a lovely orangey vinegar that you can use for cleaning. This would be as an alternative to essential oils. My jar is smelling good and about ready to use 🙂

  3. Regina says

    I love this idea. My only issue is I have tile in all of my bathrooms. What will the oils do to the plastic? I’m thinking of reusing old baby wipe tubs or “disposable” ziploc containers. That way if the kiddo who cleans the bathroom drops the container I don’t have glass everywhere.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      You can certainly use plastic with these wipes for safety reasons. The essential oils “react” with plastic, making it cloudy and sometimes discoloring it. So just don’t be alarmed if this happens. 🙂

  4. Meg says

    Hi. I’m new to your site, and I really like the idea of making my own wipes, although I have yet to trust if it will really clean up raw chicken juice well enough. That’s my primary use of disinfecting wipes. That, and in the bathroom. Anyway, I ‘m curious to see if you know that the first article you link to in your further reading articles listed at the bottom of your post says that cleaning with bleach actually helps protect children from crud in the air: “House cleaning with chlorine bleach appears to protect children from the risks of asthma and of sensitization to indoor allergens.” It says after that that it increases the risk of bronchial problems, but only when mixed with cigarette smoke. Was this your intended post? This seems like good evidence to continue using bleach. Curious about your opinion. Thanks!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      At the very end of the article, just above the “You may also like” section, you’ll see the little social icon buttons. All you have to do is click on the facebook icon to share it. Thanks so much for passing it along! 🙂

  5. Kristi says

    How about for the car/truck/on the road? I like to have moist wipes handy for messy fingers and am tired of buying the plastic wrapped ones from the local mart.
    I’m not worried about the glass but keeping them in a cool dark place might be tricky since we’re moving into summer (thank the heavens! finally) and my truck can move into the triple digits in one hour.


    • Betsy Jabs says

      For wiping messy hands in the car you can just mix water with a tiny bit of liquid castile soap in a large re-sealable bag or tightly-sealed container. Add small baby washcloths or pieces of cloth to the solution, and you’ve got moist wipes! Leave out the essential oils and you won’t have to worry about storing them in a hot car. 🙂

  6. Jo Whitson says

    Thanks for this great information. Can I substitute rosemary for the bergamot and orange for the lemon? I already have these, and would like to use them first.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Absolutely! Those are both antibacterial oils, so they’ll work nicely. Check the link in the article for more ideas on good essential oils to use if you like. 🙂

  7. Janey McKeever says

    Thank you so much for this post! What an awesome idea! I jumped up and made it! I love it! Awesome!!!!!!!!!!
    Again- one step closer to completely green cleaning thanks to you!

  8. Tami says

    White distilled vinegar is hard to find where I live. Will apple cider vinegar work fine, especially in laundry? (My concern is staining.) Thanks for the information! I’m so glad to have found this site!!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Apple cider vinegar IS a powerful disinfectant, but I never recommend it for cleaning purposes because the color of it could stain porous surfaces (especially fabrics). Have you looked for a good deal on gallon jugs of white vinegar online?

  9. Pat says

    Thank you so much, Betsy!! I was actually going to look up a recipe for disposable wipes, but then became super excited when I opened my email this morning with your link for this recipe! I have already cut one old tee-shirts and made me a batch. Going to make up another so I can have one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom!! You can be sure I will be making some to take to school this fall. 😀

  10. Megan says

    Hi! I love this! Thanks so much =) Do you happen to have a recipe for DIY baby wipes? I’m at the tail-end of my commercially-made supply and would love to try making them myself. I have a toddler and another baby on the way, so we use loads of wipes.
    Thanks so much! Love your blog and your site :0)

  11. Gitana the Creative Diva says

    I’ve been using your recipes for laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent. Thanks. Regarding the wipes, would the essential oils leave streaks on Windows and glass? I like the idea of using a spray bottle as suggested elsewhere in the comments but I hear what you’re saying about essential oils reacting with plastic. Do you know where to find glass spray bottles? Thanks again.


    • Mya says

      @Gitana the Creative Diva, you could re-purpose your glass bottles by screwing the spray nozzles to them while in use, then storing them apart after rinsing them.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      One idea is to repurpose glass vinegar bottles. I think Heinz makes a white vinegar in a glass bottle…and spray bottle nozzles fit perfectly on them. 🙂 We haven’t found a source for large glass bottles, but haven’t looked very hard either.

  12. Jessie says

    What can I use as an alternative to lavender oil? It makes me sneeze, itchy eyes, etc.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Jessie,

      Check the link in the article (right above the recipe) for some other ideas of antibacterial/antiviral essential oils you could use. There are many! 🙂

    • Janelle W says

      I was wondering if 100% pure essential oils like doTERRA or mountain rose do this? Pure lavender oil is a natural antihistamine so it’s suprising it would have this effect on you. Maleluca is a natural antibacterial/antiviral you could use.

      • Jaclyn says

        As much as I love lavender (even have it planted outside – in a remote area, I like watching the butterflies it attracts from the house), I’m allergic to it as well. It makes me sad. 🙁

  13. Claudia says

    Sounds great. I’m going to make these. But, as a caution to others, I read that vinegar should NOT be used on granite countertops. I will use these wipes on everything else.

    • Nancy says

      I agree. I would like to find something similar that you could use on granite countertops!

  14. France Geek says


    Clever idea – thanks for sharing! Would you happen to know if when one puts something with lavender or other essential oil in the clothes dryer, it’s not going to leave any oil spots in the fabric? I want to add lavender drops to my laundry detergent and am concerned the oil will coagulate and stain the fabric.


    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi there,
      This is a very common concern. However, if you purchase PURE essential oils there will be no spotting in the laundry. You don’t really need very much in the laundry either. In a double batch of detergent I probably put about 50 drops of essential oil in mine…and that’s very liberal.

    • Jan says

      I put lavender essential oil in my laundry all the time, and have never had a problem with spotting. I just put about 3-4 drops in along with the detergent – smells great and provides disinfecting properties.

  15. Charlene says

    I love this idea, but tried a similar recipe before and it started growing in my cool dark cabinet. The spray bottle seems to hold up longer. Have you had any trouble with this? I never double dipped my rags?

      • Charlene says

        Hmm, off the top of my head. Vinegar, dish soap, baking soda or borax, and water.

        • Hayley says

          I think that if you kept it just vinegar you would have less of a problem with mold growth. I’m no scientist, but mold does not like a low pH. Adding those other ingredients raises the pH.

        • Jaclyn says

          The baking soda and vinegar react and neutralize each other. They shouldn’t be combined until JUST as you’re ready to use it. You can sprinkle some baking soda on your counters and then use an acidic spray (like this recipe, in a bottle) on tough counter stains, etc, and it will help to lift them – the same can’t be said if it’s pre-mixed and likely this neutralization explains the “growth” in the cupboard.

  16. Sari says

    I whip up a similar concoction in a spray bottle and use on countertops, sinks, high chair etc… Leaves surfaces fresh, clean and disinfected!