A while back I did a post about my complete Cleaning Cabinet Makeover. It has been one of my most popular posts and I am quite proud of it but as it turns out it’s not really complete. I know, I was shocked too! What could possibly be missing? Well, a dear friend of mine pointed out that it didn’t include a replacement for Clorox Wipes. That’s it? Whew! I can fix that, no problem.
Since I don’t really use Clorox cleaning wipes in my house I didn’t think to come up with an all-natural replacement. But they are convenient and as my friend pointed out, they are easy for her children to use. There are lots of different recipes for cleaning wipes out there and I’ve tried several but just wasn’t satisfied. Then it finally occurred to me that I already had the perfect recipe–my All-Purpose Cleaner. As it turns out, a full recipe of the All-Purpose Cleaner was exactly the right amount of liquid to make my new All-Purpose Cleaning Wipes. Here’s a list of what’s in it and why:
Water—this stuff makes up about 60% of the human body and it is recommended that we drink eight glasses of it a day. Just sayin’. For this recipe the water is just there to dilute the other ingredients and soak the paper towel.
Isopropyl Alcohol—also called rubbing alcohol, make sure you buy it in the 70% solution. It kills germs and bacteria as well as cutting through dirt and grime. It evaporates immediately leaving surfaces streak-free.
White Vinegar—effective at killing most bacteria, germs and mold it is also a great deodorizer.
Castile Soap—a true soap, made with 100% plant oils (no animal oils like tallow) and no chemical detergents so it is biodegradable. I use Dr. Bronner’s brand.
Paper Towel—I use Bounty brand for making wipes as other brands don’t hold up well after being soaked. Remember that it is best not to flush paper towel down the toilet so put the wipes in the garbage when done using.
Melaleuca EO–recognized by it’s more common name “tea tree oil”, promotes healthy immune function, protects against environmental and seasonal threats, helps purify and freshen the air and surfaces.
Lemon EO–cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces, promotes a positive mood and cognitive ability.
White Fir EO–not only does it smell fantastic, white fir supports c;ear breathing and respiratory function, energizes the body and mind and helps the body relax.
If you don’t have one of these essential oils feel free to swap for a different one. Most essential oils have fantastic cleaning properties and will do a great job in these cleaning wipes. Just make sure you use the highest quality essential oils you can find.
Get yourself a roll of Bounty paper towels. Oh, and get the extra large ones that are the “select-a-size”variety. I’ve tried many brands of paper towels and Bounty brand is the only one that is tough enough to use as cleaning wipes. Trust me on this one. Now just cut the roll in half width-wise with a serrated or electric knife. I recommend trimming the cut edge with scissors to make a cleaner edge. Put one half away for next time you make wipes. For those who know me and are wondering: yes, I did measure the paper towel all the way around with a ruler and marked it with a pencil before I cut it. Laugh if you want, but my two halves are perfectly even, so there!
Now you just half to pour everything into a mason jar, put the lid on and shake well for a good minute or two. In a pinch you can use a bowl and stir really well. Put one of your paper towel halves into a container with an air-tight lid and slowly pour the liquid cleaner over it. Keep stirring as you go to keep the oil and water incorporated. Squish down the roll of paper towel with the lid and let it sit there for ten minutes. Then flip the container back over and leave it alone for 10 more minutes. Remove the lid and pull out the cardboard tube and then pull the center-most wipe from the hole. Because you used the select-a-size version you can pull out one small wipe for small jobs or pull a little more to get a bigger wipe for bigger jobs. In my house it seems like all the jobs are bigger jobs! Why is that? Oh, right, I have 3 boys.
I have never been one to use store-bought cleaning wipes because they aren’t cheap and I don’t like what’s in them. But now that I’ve come up with my own home-made version I’m hooked. My boys much prefer cleaning their bathroom with them and I feel good knowing all the ingredients are safe and very effective at killing germs. Plus they smell great and who doesn’t love that?
All-Natural Cleaning Wipes
1 roll Bounty paper towel, cut in half
1 c. warm water
1/2 c. 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
1/2 c. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. pure castile soap
10 drops melaleuca essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops white fir essential oil
Cut paper towel in half width-wise with a serrated or electric knife. Trim rough edge with scissors to remove stray bits and pieces of paper towel. Use half the roll now and save half for later. In a mason jar or bowl, combine all ingredients and stir for several minutes. If using a mason jar, put on lid and shake well. Place paper towel, cut side down, in a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Pour mixture over the paper towel and cover with lid (squishing the roll if necessary). Let stand for 10 minutes. Turn container upside down and let stand for 10 more minutes. Remove lid, then pull out and discard the cardboard center. Pull the innermost wipe from the center of the roll and you’re ready to start cleaning. Cover with lid when not in use.
Note #1: In case you’re wondering, I got my round containers at Walmart. They came in a pack of 3 for $1.87. I was worried because they don’t have an airtight seal but the wipes have stayed moist for months. I keep a container under the sink in each of my bathrooms.
Note #2: If you notice your wipes start to dry out after a while, just pour 1/4 cup water over the top to reconstitute.