Eco-friendly swap: cleaning wipes

June 5, 2021

I have a fun monthly swap for you today, but first I want to talk just a sec about adding delight to our homes. Do you ever think about this? Maybe you keep fresh flowers on your kitchen counter because they cheer you when you cook. Or maybe you burn a candle in a favorite scent whenever you read in your coziest chair. Sometimes all it takes to delight me is a clean room with an open window!

Right now I’m delighted with our doorknobs. ☺ I’ve always loved glass door knobs, so when we bought our house a couple of years ago, I started changing the black ones for pretty glass ones. No one else is likely to notice or appreciate the change, I know. And that’s just fine. Because I did it to delight myself. And it does every time I open a door! What delights you in your home?

For this month’s swap (not door knobs but a conventional, not-so-sustainable product for a safer, more natural option), I tackled cleaning wipes. 

green and white text box reads: "Did you know? You don't need disinfecting wipes for everyday cleaning. Soap and water will remove germs. Commercial disinfecting wipes kill germs by using antimicrobial pesticides. Learn to clean your home more mindfully at:"

DIY Cleaning wipes

Why make your own cleaning wipes? They’re fun and easy to make, sustainable and safe (even for little helpers!), and very frugal!

Many DIY cleaning wipe directions use paper towels, but cloths can be washed and reused, so I went that route. Besides, they’re much nicer to clean with, I think!

You’ll need just three things to make your own cleaning wipes:

  • Cloths. Thin washcloths or cut up t-shirts work well. Thin cloths work better than hefty ones. Extra points if you want to finish the edges on your sewing machine, so they don’t curl or unravel. Or just to make them pretty! 
  • A wide-mouth glass jar with a tight fitting lid. The recipe below is for about two cups of solution, but you also need room for your cloths, so choose your jar according to how many cloths you’ll be making. After you make the recipe once, you’ll know what works, size-wise (you may need more or less solution or a larger or smaller jar, for example)!
  • A cleaning solution (see below).

Cleaning solution

Many DIY cleaning wipe directions use bleach or isopropyl alcohol, but I was looking for something more environmentally friendly. Here’s the recipe I came up with.


  • 2 cups of distilled water — Distilled water is less likely to cause any mildewing on the cloths than tap water. You can boil your tap water for 15 minutes to remove contaminants, but distilled water will give you an even longer shelf life.
  • 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap 
  • 10 drops of essential oil — Some essential oils (like peppermint, tea tree, lavender, orange, and lemongrass) have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. I like a citrus scent for cleaning, but choose your fave!
a hand wipes a window with a white fabric cloth

Note: Many DIY wipe recipes include vinegar. But vinegar doesn’t combine well with liquid castile soap. It breaks down the soap into an ugly, ineffective mess! Also, some manufacturers caution against using vinegar on stone countertops. So I don’t include vinegar in my wipe solution. If you really want to include vinegar, use Sal Suds instead of liquid castile soap. 


  1. Cut up your cloths into a good size for wiping. 
  2. Half fill a clean glass jar with your solution. 
  3. Place the cloths in the jar, pressing them down as you go.
  4. Fill the jar with the solution and place the lid on tight.
  5. Label your jar.
  6. To use, pull out one cloth at a time and squeeze the excess moisture back into the jar.
  7. Wipe with your cloth, then put it in the laundry.
  8. When it’s dry, tuck it back into your jar of solution.

Reducing germs

While vinegar isn’t great in a wipes recipe, it is good at reducing germs. In fact, if you want to really cut down germs on a surface:

  1. Clean the surface with soap and water. You can use your cleaning wipes for this! (It’s always important to clean a surface with soap and water before using any disinfectants.)
  2. Spray it with vinegar. Let sit 5 minutes, then wipe with a clean cloth. This will kill some germs.
  3. Spray with hydrogen peroxide. Let sit 5 minutes, then wipe with a clean cloth. This will kill other germs.

Don’t combine the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, or they’ll form an acid; use them one after the other! 

Purchase safer cleaning wipes

Making your own wipes is less expensive and more sustainable (because they’re reusable) than purchasing even environmentally friendly wipes, but if DIY isn’t your thing, check out the Environmental Working Group’s graded list of cleaning wipes. There’s no shortage of wipes with an A+ rating!

Please let us know how your cleans wipes swap goes!

Take good care,

Headshot photo of Karen Mary with her signature in blue ink to the right

P.S. You can access all of the C2K weekly letters in the Newsletter section of the blog! Maybe there’s a topic you want to revisit or a link you want to find. Or maybe you just recently joined us and would like to catch up and/or sign up!

For the latest posts, be sure to stop by the blog every Tuesday — next week we’ll be caring for baseball mitts! In the meantime, here are some posts you might want to visit this week:

Flags — How to take care of your flags so they last (new post!)

Keeping a laundry hamper fresh

Taking care quotes

Pin for later:

Leave a Comment

For You!

We'll never share your info with anyone.

Sign up for CareToKeep's FREE weekly newsletter for additional tips and inspiration — and a

heads-up about what's on the blog each week! I'd love to share with you!