Most of the time I don’t rely on those disposable cleaning wipes in the pop-up dispensers. I usually find I can grab my spray bottle of homemade all-purpose cleaner and a rag out of my cleaning closet and give things a quick little wipe down without much effort. So why use the wipes? That’s been pretty true for me with one exception.
My downstairs bathroom.
Ugh, it always seems so far away. None of my cleaning supplies ever feel handy and there’s almost no room in the tiny vanity in that bathroom to store any cleaning supplies. It’s become the one area in my house where I’ve resorted to one of those pop-up dispensers of cleaning wipes (often from the dollar store) so that I would at least have those close by and could give things a quick wipe down until I got around to bringing my supplies downstairs to do a more thorough job.
But even at the dollar store those little wipes were not feeling very frugal. The last container I bought only had 35 wipes which sure ain’t many wipes. I decided it was time to Make My Own!
The Paper Towel and Container Dilemma
Perhaps you’ve seen other instructions around the internet too for homemade cleaning wipes made from paper toweling that you moisten and then keep in a container. I’ve been looking at those for awhile now but was always kind of turned off by the very first step in the process – cutting a roll of paper toweling in half.
Yes, it seems like almost all the instructions you see for homemade cleaning wipes are trying to make them a little smaller sized perhaps because then it’s easier to find a container to keep your homemade wipes in. I’ve seen pictures of people using circular tables saws and big ole knives, hacking away at their paper toweling to cut it in half. And that just did not look good to me – plus – I thought it would make my knife dull too.
So apparently not only am I feeling too lazy to get down to the basement to clean my bathroom, I’m feeling too lazy to cut my paper toweling in half too. *oh dear*
What I decided to do instead was to keep my eyes peeled in the stores for a container big enough to hold a full size roll of paper toweling so I could make my own homemade disposable cleaning wipes without any sawing or cutting. I realize that this makes for a much larger sized container than what a store bought container of pop-up disposable wipes would be, but that’s what I wanted. Even though it would take up a little more room in my small vanity, I wanted the convenience of something disposable in that location.
I finally found a 1 gallon sized beverage pitcher at Walmart that was just the size I was looking for – big enough to hold a full size roll of paper towels, but still able to fit in my small bathroom vanity. Once I had the container and the paper toweling, I took the next step of making them moist with a homemade cleaning solution and my wipes were ready to go.
Here’s how to do it:
Homemade Disposable Cleaning Wipes
You Will Need:
- A Roll of Paper Toweling (Use a good brand like Bounty or Viva)
- A Large Container (I used a 1 gallon pitcher)
For the moistening solution you will need:
- 1-3/4 cups Water (I used distilled water)
- 1/4 cup Vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon Liquid Dish Soap (I used Dawn)
- 10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
As a beginning note, all the advice I read about a project like this made mention that the cheaper brands of paper toweling did not work well at all and would just fall apart. It was always recommended to use a good quality brand. Now that I’ve made a batch of wipes I would agree with that advice. I used the Viva brand (the Viva Vantage with V-Flex Weave!!). I think the 88 sheets on this roll of paper toweling is still more frugal than the store bought wipes and there’s less chemicals too.
I began by placing my roll of paper towels in the gallon container. Even though it looks like the paper toweling is just a little too big for the container, it still worked.
I then mixed together my water, vinegar, dish soap and tea tree oil in a 2 cup measuring cup. I decided to use distilled water just to be sure it was germ-free as I figured my moist paper towel wipes would be setting around for several weeks before I used them up. I also decided to use tea tree essential oil to add some natural anti-bacterial disinfecting to my wipes,
but if you don’t have any tea tree essential on hand, you can skip this ingredient. Update: I’ve been very happy that my wipes have not grown any mold over the several months I’ve been using them and I think that’s in large part because of the tea tree oil. I now think that ingredient is more important than I first thought.
I slowly poured my liquid over top of the paper towels in the container to moisten them. I poured the last little bit of the mixture into the bottom of my container to help get the bottom of the towels moistened too. At this point my paper towels appeared to be quite well moistened without being dripping wet.
I let everything set for a few minutes, and then removed the inner cardboard tube which easily pulled out once it was wet.
Once the inner cardboard tube is removed, I got my “pop-up” wipes started by pulling the beginning of the paper towel roll up from the center.
I then put the lid back on my container, which I was able to do even though the paper toweling roll at first looked too big because once the paper toweling is moistened, it squashes down without too much problem.
Now here again, many instructions around the internet having you chopping some kind of hole in the lid of your container to make your homemade disposable cleaning wipes even more like the pop-up store variety. But just as I was not in the mood to saw my paper toweling in half, I was also not in the mood to be chopping away and hacking a hole in the lid of my gallon beverage container. It’s been working fine to just pull the lid off and reach in and get a wipe when needed.
I was at first hopeful I could use the pour spout opening of the lid of the beverage container for pulling out a wipe, but because it’s not in the center of the lid it really didn’t work.
A Few More Thoughts
This is still something of an experiment for me. I’ve done a bit of cleaning with my wipes and so far I really like how they’re working. However I’m still watching a few things:
~~ Was the 2 cups of liquid I used enough to really moisten everything?
~~ Will the paper toweling stay moist even after several weeks have gone by?
~~ And if the paper toweling does stay moist will it keep its strength?
~~ Will I wish I had got out my saw and cut the stupid paper toweling in half ??
Only time will tell and I’ll report back in a few weeks with the final verdict.
And one more thing. . . the recipe for the liquid mixture I used in this project is a recipe I made that I’ve been using in a spray bottle for awhile now as a disinfectant spray and it works great! Feel free to give it a try that way too for another frugal cleaning strategy.
3/1/15 Update: Well I said I would report back in a few weeks and it’s actually been a few months! But that extra time has helped me see how this recipe would hold up. I’m happy to report that the 2 cups of liquid did in fact get everything moistened and the Viva paper toweling has held up great and kept it’s strength. Keeping the roll at its full size has worked fine too.
I originally had the tea tree listed as an optional ingredient but I now think that’s been an important ingredient that’s prevented any mold from growing and would highly recommend using that in your mixture. I’ve used these wipes regularly since I first made them and still have about a quarter of the roll left so it definitely made a good sized batch of wipes. I think this recipe is a keeper!