While store-bought disinfecting wipes may be handy for quick cleanups, they’re definitely not eco-friendly or good for your respiratory health. It’s actually much safer to make DIY disinfecting wipes at home using non-toxic ingredients such as vodka, castile soap and antibacterial essential oils.
Numerous studies have shown that common household cleaning products including store-brand sanitizing wipes, can actually induce asthma or other respiratory problems in otherwise healthy individuals. Additionally, the fumes from many store bought cleaning products can trigger an attack in those already suffering from a respiratory condition.
Undisclosed Ingredients in Commercial Disinfecting Wipes
To add to the confusion, manufacturers are allowed to keep consumers in the dark about exactly what’s in their cleaning products. Unfortunately, current guidelines do not require that ingredient information be disclosed on the product’s label.
Recently, more and more cleaning product companies have begun to provide some ingredient information on their company websites. However, often these lists are not specific.
The Environmental Working Group site is a go-to for the ingredient lists manufacturers are allowed to leave off their labels. The EWG also provides consumers additional info — such as the side effects and potential toxicity of each ingredient.
Here is a handy list of many popular commercial wipe brands and their ingredients.
Anyway, if reading about the toxic chemicals in cleaning products comes across as fear-mongering, or you’re thinking, “but how are these homemade wipes going to disinfect my counters?” Well, studies have shown that many essential oils have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral benefits.
Top Antibacterial Essential Oils
The following essential oils (in no particular order) fight bacteria and household odours without any of the negative side effects of store bought household cleaners. You can substitute the essential oils in the recipe below for any other combination of antibacterial essential oils from this list:
- Tea Tree Oil
My DIY Disinfecting Wipes Ingredients
I always use vodka in my DIY disinfecting wipes which is a more natural disinfectant. Vodka also acts as a non-toxic preservative and prevents the formation of mold.
I do not recommend substituting vodka for isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol). Isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable, easily absorbed through the skin, and its fumes can cause dizziness and headaches. Also, isopropyl or rubbing alcohol is highly toxic if consumed, while vodka (or ethyl alcohol) is safe for human consumption.
Not that you will be drinking your wipe mixture, but if you’re going to wipe down surfaces where little mouths will be, it’s safer to use vodka.
I’ve recently seen DIY wipes recipes containing both vinegar and castile soap, but mixing vinegar with castile soap will cause your mixture to curdle. As well, the acidic vinegar and alkaline soap will neutralize one another, rendering their cleaning abilities useless.
Additionally, vinegar is not safe for stone countertops so if you have stone countertops, be wary of a DIY wipe recipe containing vinegar. That said, vinegar is still a great natural cleaner and it’s safe for other household surfaces.
Save Money with Reusable Cloths
You can also save money by making these DIY disinfecting wipes, as the t-shirt squares (or cloths) used in this recipe can be washed and then reused in a subsequent batch. This also means that these wipes are compatible with an eco-friendly, low-waste lifestyle.
If you don’t have any old t-shirts on hand or if you would prefer a thicker cloth, there are also many varieties of reusable cloths available depending on your preference. Heavy-duty microfibre cloths, cotton wipes and biodegradable bamboo cloths are just some of the choices.
Pour the vodka into your sterilized mason jar.
Add the essential oils which will combine easily with the alcohol. Shake vigorously. Next, add the distilled water and shake again.
- Add your soap and then gently swirl it into the mixture. Please note, shaking will cause the castile soap to sud.
Roll your cloths as shown in the photo and place them in the mason jar.
- Replace the lid and again swirl gently so the cloths become soaked with the liquid.
- Store your sanitizing wipes with the lid tightly secured in a cool, dark place such as under the kitchen or bathroom sink.
Your DIY sanitizing wipes should last approximately 3-4 weeks if stored correctly.
We do not recommend storing products with high concentrations of essential oils in plastic bottles or containers. We use glass storage containers for all of our DIY products with essential oils, as essential oils are extremely potent and can leach toxins from plastic containers.
Please consult with your health care provider about using essential oils, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, have allergies, or have small children in your home. Certain essential oils such as rosemary, clove and eucalyptus are contradicted for use during pregnancy. As well, certain essential oils such as rosemary, peppermint, oregano and eucalyptus should be avoided, or used with caution around children under 10.
You can keep these wipes in your bathroom or kitchen cupboard for quick cleanups of household surfaces prone to germs.
If convenience is a plus for you, these DIY disinfecting wipes can be used on the go, and you can trust them to be free of harsh antibacterial agents like triclosan. These wipes are also safe enough to be used on hands, but be sure to use essential oils that are safer for skin such as peppermint, lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus, and don’t touch your face or eyes after use.
For more DIY eco-friendly cleaning, be sure to check out our rose-petal infused vodka cleaning spray!
Pin it for later