Simple DIY Cleaning Wipes That Are Cheap to Make

How to make cleaning wipes

There are quite a few recipes out there for DIY cleaning wipes! I’m posting my two favorites here, but want to let you know that there are other options depending on what ingredients you have around and what surfaces you are planning to use them on.

Cleaning Agent Options for Homemade Wipes

Different cleaning agent options for wipes

I’ve read that vinegar is not the best choice for use on granite countertops. So if that is your main purpose, choose the doTERRA recipe or use ¼ cup rubbing alcohol instead of the vinegar (more details below).

Distilled water is better than tap water in this recipe because it reduces the chance of mold or mildew developing on the wipes. Using distilled water will help the wipes to last longer!

For disposable homemade cleaning wipes:

Use half of a paper towel roll and you will need an airtight container that will fit the half roll.

Use premium quality paper towels so they will still hold up and stay together even after being soaking in the cleaning solution and being used for wiping surfaces.

For reusable DIY cleaning wipes:

Use several thin, small cotton cloths, like thin washcloths. Or you could cut up a cotton t-shirt and do a zig-zag stitch to help keep the edge from fraying.

Pour the cleaning recipe into a large quart-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid or a similar airtight container. Add the fabric pieces or rags. Let them soak it up and store them in the container. Then use, wash, and reuse!

Essential Oil Options

6 doTERRA essential oils

There are lots of essential oil options for cleaning wipes too! Essential oils smell great and they add to the cleansing power of the wipes.

My favorite essential oils are from doTERRA. I can count on the consistent quality of their products. Some options and possible combinations could include:

(Of course, there are even more options out there.)

For me, I like to use a combo of On Guard and Lemon. Both of which are in this handy essential oil starter kit with a diffuser

Speaking of doTERRA, let’s get into the doTERRA cleaning wipes recipe now (If you’re looking for the vinegar/rubbing alcohol recipe, keep scrolling!):

How to Make doTERRA DIY Cleaning Wipes

doTERRA cleaning wipes ingredients

This recipe comes straight from the doTERRA Blog and it’s really easy to make.



  1. Cut paper towel in half widthwise with a serrated or electric knife. Use half the roll now and half later.
  2. Combine water, Fractionated Coconut Oil, essential oils, and On Guard Foaming Hand Wash in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  3. Pour mixture over paper towels and cover with an airtight lid. Let mixture absorb for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the container over and let sit for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove and discard the cardboard tube. Pull wipes from the center of the roll when ready to use.

Note: If you would like to go with reusable wipes, use small, thin cotton washcloths, or something similar in an airtight container.

How to Make DIY Cleaning Wipes with Vinegar

Standard DIY cleaning wipes ingredients

This is a nice simple recipe if you don’t have the ingredients above.


Note: If you would like to avoid vinegar, you can sub ¼ cup rubbing alcohol for the vinegar and add an additional 1/4 cup water.

The amount of liquid needed may vary:

Depending on the size of the paper towel roll you use, you may need more or less liquid than listed above.

If you find that the wipes need more liquid, you can easily add a little more vinegar and/or water. I’d say you could add up to a ½ cup more of one or the other or a combination, if desired.

Step 1. Cut Your Paper Towels

Paper towel roll cut in half

Cut your paper towel in half widthwise with a serrated or electric knife. Use half the roll now and half later.

Step 2. Mix the Cleaning Solution

Making cleaning solution for wipes

Combine vinegar, water, dish soap, and essential oils in a small bowl or measuring cup. I like to mix the cleaning solution together right there in a measuring cup.

Step 3. Pour the Solution Over Your Paper Towels

Pouring the DIY cleaning solution over paper towels

Pour the DIY cleaning mixture over your paper towels and cover with an airtight lid. Let the mixture absorb for 10 minutes, then turn the container over and let sit for another 10 minutes.

Step 4. Remove the Cardboard Tube

Pulling cardboard tube from paper towel roll

After you’ve let the paper towels soak in the liquid cleaning mixture, the cardboard tube is soaked through and comes out easily. Remove and discard it.

DIY cleaning wipes

How to Use Your Homemade Cleaning Wipes + Notes

Pull the DIY cleaning wipes from the center of the roll when ready to use. This is the best and easiest method. Note that you may want to squeeze a bit of the excess moisture from them before use!

I love these homemade cleaning wipes for quick wipe downs of the bathrooms, kitchen counters, and other surfaces in my home. They’re convenient, easy to make, and super frugal!

Remember these notes as you make your own cleaning wipes:

  • The amount of liquid needed may vary depending on the size of your paper towel roll. If you need more liquid, add up to ½ cup total more of vinegar and/or water.
  • If you would like to go with reusable wipes, use small, thin cotton washcloths, or something similar in an airtight container.

How to make homemade cleaning wipes

More DIY Cleaning Recipes

Find all our DIY cleaner recipes here!

Make your own paper towel cleaning wipes

Types: Cleaning, Adult
Categories: Frugal, Inside The House, Natural, #StayHome


  • I find that using washcloths and a spray bottle of homemade cleaning solution (like yours for the wipes minus the essential oil) is a nice option. I just keep two bins of washcloths (I have regular sized ones and some leftover baby ones…both are great for different jobs) in the kitchen area (one for clean and one for dirty). I wash all our washcloths and cloth napkins at the same time. Then, I don’t have to buy paper towels or napkins. :o)

    • Nice solution, Michelle. Labor-saving and green too. I’m all for getting as much as possible out of the trash.

    • Michelle, I love my little towels, I always used them for flooring, bathrooms, and kitchen. They are useful and I dont have to waste money on towel papers!! 🙂

      • I LOVE the idea of washcloths for wipes, because they can be washed in the washing machine! In fact, I use 2, bright orange wash cloths for the dryer. (I read the idea somewhere online.)
        Anyway, I don’t have any essential oils, but I came up with an idea. After adding a few drops of dish soap (Dawn), I added some Bath and Body Works soap (well, honestly, it’s great-smelling shampoo) into the mix. Boy, it made it smell so nice! And it wasn’t enough to leave soap behind, especially with the vinegar.
        PLEASE let me know if you think this idea is okay?

  • How long do these last in the container? Do they start to disintegrate after a while?

    • I made them last Monday and they aren’t showing any signs of disintegrating. I used them yesterday to scrub some kids paint off my table and they held up very well. Just make sure you use a good quality paper towel and you shouldn’t have a problem.

  • I love the convenience of clorox wipes, but they are expensive. I’m gonna try this. Are they OK to use on wood?

  • So, is the vinegar and the soap the germ-killing components in this?? Could you maybe add some alcohol to it as an extra “umph?” I’m just really paranoid about germs since we live out in the country and often have mice that sometimes get on the countertops. YUCK. =)

    • the vinegar and soap do kill germs & disinfect. You could add rubbing alcohol if you want to help you feel better since you have a mouse problem.

      • the rubbing alcohol may stain some of your furniture/floors (i have found that in some of my homemade cleaners…just fyi). I switched to adding tea tree oil which is a germ killer also! And i like the smell!

        • I also love the smell of tea tree oil but it can be toxic to cats (and maybe other pets; I don’t know for sure about them) so it’s not an option in our house. Just to let people know …

    • Lavender essential oil is a disinfectant, so that could help with the germs without adding any alcohol.

    • Peroxide is also a safe germ killing alternative to alcohol.

    • I know this is really old but mice hate the smell of peppermint. Put some peppermint essential oil on an old sock or towel and place where you think they are coming in. Also use peppermint oil to make your cleaning solution that should help deter them on counters.

  • You may want to add 1 tsp. or so of baking soda to keep them fresh. I had a friend who made her own wipes and they mildewed before she could use them all (I have always added baking soda and never had a problem).

    • The baking soda (base) will neutralize the vinegar (acid) and make it ineffective for cleaning. Maybe just add tea tree oil. lots of other people on the internet said this helps.

    • Mold is only a problem if the vinegar is diluted too much. The best disinfectant is vinegar 30% to 35% in water with a separate bottle of peroxide. Spray each on the sink or surface and let sit for a min. of 10 minutes. This has to be separate bottles because they will cancel each other out, just like baking soda and vinegar will cancel each other out if mixed and left for more than a short period of time, like a half hour or more. I hope this helps!

  • Vinegar and lavender esential oil are both used I. Household. Leaders because of their ability to kill germs. There is no need to add any thing more to make these more powerfull. This is a natural alternative to harmful chemicals. Baking soda is also used to clean naturally all around the home. I can see how it could benefit in the solution. Just be prepared for the initial “foaming” when it is added to the mix.

  • You can add tea tree oil to kill bacteria and grapefruit seed extract to preserve 🙂 I highly recommend re-using cloth wipes-you can make them from fabric scraps, they do not need to be fancy, just zig-zag stitch the edges so they do not unravel in the wash.

  • this is a good idea, I have done the same Technic for baby wipes. one cup of warm water, 1 table spoon of baby oil and 1 teaspoon of baby shampoo. Mix together in container and add paper towels. (I believe I used Scott towels then)

    • I did the DIY Baby Wipes, too, when my daughter was a baby. I would use DISTILLED water, which avoided a mildew issue.
      I was going to suggest that might still be a good idea for the cleaning solution. I mean, with this already having anti-bacterial (vinegar) properties already, it’s possible it wouldn’t be necessary, but considering how cheap you can buy distilled water (I think it’s 90 cents at Winco), it seems worthwhile.

  • So, I am new to this “Making My Own Cleaners” and so this may seem like a dumb question… What kind of essential oil do you need and where do you get it? This sounds like a great idea (I love sani wipes, but they just cost so much!) just want to make sure I get the right ingredients:)

  • I’ve been making my own cleaning supplies for about 20 yrs since realizing how harmful store bought cleaning supplies are. There are chemicals in them that are dangerous to our health and the environment and we all need to stop buying them and just make our own. I’d much rather spend a few minutes making my own than jeopardize my health or my children’s.

    • I started using alternative cleaning compounds in the 1970’s because the commercial ones were too darned expensive! Their environmental and health benefits are great, but for me it was the bottom line on my grocery budget.

  • Alicia, you don’t have to have an essential oil if you don’t mind the vinegar smell (I actually like the smell!) but any scent is fine, whatever you like. You probably already have it in your kitchen cabinet… you have vanilla? That would always work and if you like the smell you won’t have to go buy anything else!!

  • If you have an electric knife, you can use that to cut the paper towels a lot easier.

  • Just a few tips on this. I used to make my own baby wipes this way with water and a few tablespoons of baby bath soap. An electric knife works great to cut the paper towels. Also, if you put the towels in the container then poor the liquid over the top (I mix the liquid first) and let it sit a few hours sealed up the towels will absorb the liquid evenly and the center cardboard will come out much easier when it is damp.

  • I LOVE these wipes! I just recently started making my own cleaning supplies and these are by far my favorite! They clean countertops and tables wonderfully and they also worked great on my windows! I have 2 low windows in my livingroom and 2 toddlers so my wondows get pretty gross sometimes. I used them today to clean off some fingerprints and other unknown smears (yuck) and they worked great! I also added a little bit of alcohol and baking soda to the mix to make it evaporate more quickly and to stay fresh longer. Thanks for this! 🙂

  • I completely agree! The only thing I used to my electric knife for was to cut paper towel rolls to make home made baby wipes. (I will share the recipe if anyone is interested). It works great!

  • Can they be used on granite?

  • You mentioned you would use regular sized paper towels the next time you made them. If so, what would be a good container to store that size in?


    • My daughter puts all of her homemade wipes in empty ground coffee “cans”–you know, those plastic containers that ought to be good for something but you can’t figure it out? Here ya go!

    • My daughter puts all of her homemade wipes in empty ground coffee “cans”–you know, those plastic containers that ought to be good for something but you can’t figure it out? Here ya go!

  • This is how I make my cleaning spray! Put it all in a spray bottle and waalaa!! Never put essential oil in mine though. Never thought to make wipes with it… genius!! Thanks 🙂
    Btw I am new here and LOVING it!

  • I use to make my owm babywipes when my son was a baby. I think it was water, Johnsons baby wash and maybe a dab of baby oil,,,, im sure theres a recipe on Pinterest.

  • I’m going to try this with some lemon/lime juice added and some of the rinds (essential oils are in the skins) Thanks for a great recipe. My his and loves using those wipes to clean but I don’t like putting a bunch of chemicals down in my house.

  • Is there a way you can add all your cleaning recipes to the zip list?? This would be nice since I can use this to make a grocery list from it!! 😉

  • Since I have granite counter tops, I really should not use anything with vinegar. But I like the idea with the wipes. Can I substitute the vinegar with isopropyl rubbing alcohol? If so should I use the same amount as the vinegar? I also thought of adding Tea Tree Oil to kill bacteria and add Grapefruit Seed Extract to preserve. 🙂 Love your site 🙂

    • Anja- I have not tried substituting isopropyl alcohol for the vinegar, but I know isopropyl alcohol is safe for granite. I think it sounds like a great substitute idea. I think it will work. If you try it let us know how it turns out. I also love your Tea Tree Oil and Grapefruit seed extract ideas. Good luck!

  • I’ve used the 6pts water, to 3 parts vinegar, to 2 parts hair conditioner recipe for fabric softener, but found my laundry doesn’t come out quite as soft as it does w/ Downy. I wonder if adding baking soda would help give this combo would help it soften the clothes better. I saw that when baking soda is added to vinegar, it neutralizes the cleaning efficacy of the vinegar. But, for a softener recipe, the vinegar it doesn’t need to work as a cleaning agent, but as a softener. Do you think I could add 1/3 cup of baking soda might give this recipe that extra UUMPHH??

  • I don’t worry about the vinegar smell because it itself kills odors. Women used to leave bowls of vinegar sitting out to get rid of unwanted odors! Also, hydrogen peroxide breaks down within seconds to water and oxygen when it is exposed to air, light, or liquids.

  • This isn’t a green solution if you are wasting paper towels. Why not use rags instead?

  • I would think this would work with rags instead of paper towels to really save on money, and be a bit more environmentally friendly.

Leave a Reply

Want to see your picture by your comment? Get your custom avatar by registering for free at Gravatar.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *