Simple DIY Cleaning Wipes That Are Cheap to Make

With 4 little kids at home, I go through cleaning wipes like crazy! I love them for quick wipe downs of the bathrooms or to give the kids to clean the table for dinner.

On the local morning news, I saw someone make their own and thought, I can do that! I modified their recipe a bit to work for me.

How to Make DIY Cleaning Wipes

Here is what you need to make your own homemade cleaning wipes:


Size up your paper towels:

Paper towels for homemade cleaning wipes

Make sure your paper towels will fit in the container. A full roll would not fit in any of the containers I had, so I used a partial roll. I used my serrated knife to cut the paper towels. I would cut and then rotate the towels and cut again.

Half cut paper towel for diy cleaning wipes

Here they are cut in half:

Cut in half paper towels for DIY cleaning wipes

Since we’ve cut our paper towel roll in half we could technically make two containers of these homemade cleaning wipes at the same time. Awesome!

Add the ingredients to your container:

Adding water to homemade cleaning wipes

Add some essential oils:

These DIY cleaning wipes have a strong vinegar smell so I added some drops of essential oil to combat it a bit.

Adding essential oil to diy cleaning wipes

Add the dish soap:

Add a few drops of dish soap to your homemade cleaning wipe mixture, then gently mix it up.

Adding dish soap to homemade cleaning wipes

Remove the cardboard part of the paper towels:

I was able to wiggle it around a bit to loosen it then pull it out.

Removing tube from paper towel roll for diy cleaning wipes

Put the paper towels in the container:

Then, turn the container upside down so all the wipes can get nice and wet. Make sure the lid is on tight, mine wasn’t and I had a little leakage.

Homemade cleaning wipes

Once the wipes are thoroughly wet they are ready to be used!

DIY Cleaning Wipes logo

I have been using these DIY cleaning wipes all week and found they work best when pulled from the center. They are pretty wet so I usually have to squeeze some of the moisture out.

I used the “select-a-size” paper towels, I think I would use regular ones next time so I have a bigger wipe. Other than that, I like them a lot. I feel better about giving them to my kids to clean because I know exactly what is in them.

More DIY Cleaning Recipes

Find all our DIY cleaner recipes here!

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


  • 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 love doterra oils. They are amazing! I can hook you up, feel free to call me at 208-8815712

    • You can get essential oil at health food stores and I think someone mentioned lavender. I use orange for my laundry so when I try these wipes I will probably just use that as well.

  • 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.

  • can this be used on granite counter tops

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 *