Ditch the landfill-destined antibacterial wipes, and instead make your own reusable cleaning wipes at home! It’s a great leap towards living more zero-waste, and uses an all-natural solution!
Reusable wipes made of unbleached, organic cotton
If I’m being completely honest (and I try to be with you guys), one of the big reasons I even started looking into making my own reusable antibacterial wipes was because all the disinfecting wipes at the store were sold out… which I’m sure many of you experienced yourself 😉
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, anything remotely antibacterial, antiseptic, or disinfecting has pretty much been wiped clean off the shelves, so many of us (including yours truly 😉 ) have started turning to DIYs for a ready-made solution! But, I’ll tell ya what, making your own antibacterial wipes has some huuuuuge benefits (to your health and wealth!)
DIY reusable disinfectant wipes using all natural ingredients!
You may be thinking, “you’re pulling my leg. How is that??” Well I’m glad you asked! The chemicals used in conventionally made (store-bought) antibacterial wipes can, over the long term, cause a bacterial resistance, where those germs can develop a resistance to antibacterial chemicals (kind of like antibiotic-resistance in a way). That’s one of the big reasons why I made the switch from antibacterial soaps (as plain soap and water have proven to be just as effective as antibacterial soaps, without the risk) a long time ago, as I’d researched into the harmful effects of antibacterial products on our bodies, and found that one of the big consequences of continually using these products is that it may encourage the development of “superbugs” – antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And that’s quite problematic.
Another big implication of using chemical products such as antibacterial soaps is that they can interfere with and disrupt our gut microbiome. Killing 99% of germs may sound good, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself if 99% of those germs need to be killed?
Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical that can be found in many products like toothpaste (I make my own), antiperspirants, soaps, laundry detergents, and hand sanitisers. During a study, zebrafish were fed triclosan-laden food and the result was that their communities of gut microbes changed.
Kills germs and microbials using natural ingredients, not harmful chemicals.
It is said that our current generation has 1/3 less variety of gut bacteria compared to those of our parents and grandparents generations.
The ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’, which was first proposed back in the late 1980s, talks about how the reduction in our exposure to microbes due to things like sanitisation, clean water and food, antibiotics, harsh environmental cleaning products, urban living and birth practices, may play a significant role in the growing prevalence of conditions such as dermatitis, allergies, and asthma.
Just to be clear, many of these practices, like clean drinking water and access to antibiotics, have brought so many benefits along with them, such as preventing infectious diseases. But it is our reduced exposure to non-pathogenic organisms (things like certain bacteria that don’t cause harm to us) that has put us at risk.
In our haste to use anything and everything antibacterial to help prevent us from getting sick, we may also be minimising the natural contact our immune system would have had with these microbes – contact that’s necessary in order for our bodies to develop natural immunities and antibodies to them that help keep us well.
The problem with antimicrobials is that in carrying out their job – killing microbes – they can disrupt certain systems in the body along the way, like the endocrine (hormone) system.
So, going back to my original topic (that was “a mighty long walk for a small drink of water,” sorry guys), making your own antibacterial, antiseptic, disinfecting wipes can be so much more beneficial on you and your family’s health. Plus, making your own is a lot cheaper in the long run as you can whip up a big batch of it, and as it’s reusable, you don’t have to keep replenishing your stock of wipes. Simply clean them, soak them in the disinfecting solution, and they’re good…to…go!
Natural disinfectant solution to soak your wipes in (any leftover can be stored in glass jar for later use!)
If you wanted to read a bit more about the implications of antibacterial cleaning products, see my post here.
Now this all-natural cleaning solution I share below is just for cleaning counter-tops and surfaces, NOT for skin.
Cleaning Wipes that are safe for Marble or Granite Counter-tops
All ingredients used in this solution should be safe for marble, granite, or other natural stone. I do recommend testing an tiny tiny amount (like a inconspicuous spot) whenever you start out using any new product (even a homemade one) on natural stone counter-tops.
2 ply wipes are best for surface cleaning, and the best thing is you can make your own wipes using old fabric and a sewing machine!
What you’ll need to make all-natural disinfecting Cleaning Wipes
1- or 2-ply unbleached flannel reusable wipes: If you’re handy with the sewing machine, these are a breeze to make, or you can purchase some online from places like Biome (which is where I got mine). Two-ply wipes are preferable for cleaning.
Liquid castile soap (I used some from Biome – as it’s palm oil free!): This forms the actual “cleaning” part of these cleaning wipes.
Rubbing alcohol: This disinfects your surfaces. And yes, it does have a strong smell to it, but it fades away quite quickly.
Vinegar: A mild disinfectant, cuts through grease, de-scaler, glass cleaner.
Tea tree essential oil, optional: This also helps with disinfecting, and especially helps to hamper mould growth. I use this in the mixture when it’s very humid in our house to keep the wipes smelling fresh in the container.
Lavender essential oil, optional: This leaves a calming, floral scent behind after cleanup, but lavender is also a great natural antimicrobial.
Peppermint essential oil, optional: Has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Plus, has a lovely, refreshing scent.
Orange or lemon essential oil, optional: Contains antimicrobial properties (and smells A-MAAAA-ZING!).
A baby wipe container or glass jar: You can reuse one that had disposable wipes in it before, or purchase one of the reusable ones. This is the one I have and use, otherwise you can simply use a glass jar to soak and store them in.
Super handy pull wipes dispenser I found online that makes dispensing the wipes really easy, and makes for easy storage too (you can opt to use a simple glass jar instead, as well!)
DIY Reusable Disinfecting Wipes
- 1- or 2-ply flannel baby wipes (I have 15cm x 12cm size wipes)
- 1 baby wipe container (this is the one I have)
- 1 cup warm filtered or distilled water
- 1 tbsp liquid castile soap (i.e. Biome)
- 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol (or, if you’re out of rubbing alcohol, you can use 1 cup vinegar)
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil, optional
- 5 drops lavender essential oil, optional
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil, optional
- 5 drops orange or lemon essential oil, optional
- Fold the reusable wipes and place them in the baby wipe container/glass. Set aside.
- In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the water, liquid castile soap, rubbing alcohol, and essential oils. Pour over the baby wipes to saturate.
- When finished using, clean and use again!
These wipes go through our regular wash with our other towels, napkins, and rags.
Happy cleaning! XO
Once finished, you have a ready-to-use, never-ending supply of wipes to clean your home!
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For a live run-through of how I make these reusable disinfectant wipes, see my video tutorial below!
What antibacterial wipes do you use? Do you make your own too? Share the recipe with us below! It’s great getting new ideas.
Lots of love,
Johnston, Cassie. Reusable DIY Disinfecting Wipes. Wholefully. Retrieved from https://wholefully.com/diy-disinfecting-wipes-reusable/
Don’t wipe out: The hidden hazards of antibacterial wipes. (September 21, 2011). EWG. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2011/09/dont-wipe-out-hidden-hazards-antibacterial-wipes