One of the things I’ve always liked about homemade strategies is that it opens up more options to you. Even though you may also buy the store bought version of something, it’s so nice to know you can make your own if and when the need comes up. I found this to be true again recently as I’ve been asked several times if I have a recipe for how to make your own hand sanitizer wipes. Just in case we go through a time when sanitizing hand wipes can’t be found in stores again, we want to know how to make our own!
Supplies Used For Homemade Sanitizing Hand Wipes
To make your own hand sanitizer wipes, you’ll need a just a few helpful supplies. Let’s take a closer look:
▪️ Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol
If there’s going to be sanitizing, isopropyl alcohol (more commonly known as rubbing alcohol) has to be involved, and in a high enough ratio to be effective. I used 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol in this recipe and also recommend using the 91% isopropyl alcohol.
▪️ Distilled Water
To temper the alcohol just a bit, I’ve added 1 tablespoon of distilled water to the recipe. If you can only find the 70% alcohol, I would suggest omitting the distilled water. You could also use boiled water (that has been cooled) as a substitute for distilled water.
▪️ Vegetable Glycerin
Because the majority of this recipe is rubbing alcohol which can be a little harsh on the skin, I’ve counter balanced this with a small amount of vegetable glycerin. I used 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerin. Possible alternatives for this ingredient might be aloe gel, vitamin E oil, or fractionated coconut oil. Although I have not tried those personally yet, I suspect they would have the same result of adding a moisturizing component to the mixture.
▪️ Paper Toweling
For the wipes I used paper toweling and used the Aldi brand that I had in the house. However I folded them in thirds to make them a little sturdier (more about that below).
Finally, you’ll need a container for your homemade hand wipes. I used a pencil box from the dollar store which was a nice size for stacking the pieces of paper toweling inside and had a handy flip-top lid on it.
How To Make Hand Wipes With Paper Towels
So now that we’ve looked at the supplies used, here’s how to put it all together.
As mentioned above, I used my Aldi brand of paper toweling (although I’m not sure if it was their Classic or Ultra, sorry!). These were the Select-a-Size type of sheets. I folded these into thirds and this gave me a sheet that not only was a more convenient size, but stayed sturdier when it was moist because there was three layers. I put 12 of these folded sheets in my container (although there was room for more if I had wanted to pack them in more tightly).
Next, I stirred together my rubbing alcohol, distilled water, and glycerin in a glass measuring cup. Then it was time to pour this mixture over the towels.
Now, this “pouring step” is a part of the process where you’ll want to go slowly and carefully. You want your paper toweling pieces to be moist and barely damp. You do not want them to be dripping or soaking wet.
So to help with that, I suggest lifting the pieces up and pouring the mixture slowly over the edges, rather than just pouring it all on the top piece and waiting for it to soak through to the bottom. You want to just kind of drizzle it here and there, until you’re satisfied that all the pieces are dampened a bit.
You may find, as I did, that you don’t have to use all of the alcohol mixture for this step. I only used about half of it. It depends on how many wipes you are making and the size of your container. If you have leftovers of the alcohol mixture and want to be frugal, you can save it in a small jar for making another batch later or for re-moistening your wipes in the event they start drying out.
One final note is that I decided not to add any essential oils to this mixture. My feeling is that the rubbing alcohol will always be the dominant smell but it’s also a smell that dissipates quickly. I also didn’t feel the need to add any tea tree oil to inhibit mold growth as the majority of the moistening mixture is alcohol (not water).
And then your DIY hand sanitizer wipes are complete! You can keep your box of homemade sanitizing wipes wherever they are needed, or maybe even try making a smaller purse size pack too. There are usually other creative options waiting for you when you make your own!
Homemade Sanitizing Hand Wipes
- 1/2 cup 91% Isopropyl Alcohol *See notes for 70% alcohol
- 1 Tbl Distilled Water
- 1 Tbl Vegetable Glycerin
- Sheets of Select-a-Size Paper Toweling
- Rectangular container with a lid
- Mix the alcohol, distilled water, and glycerin in a measuring cup.
- Fold the sheets of paper toweling into thirds and place in the container.
- Lightly moisten the paper toweling with the alcohol mixture. I found the best way to do this was to pick up the stack of paper toweling and turn it on its side, and then slowly pour the alcohol on the edges, and here and there inside the stack. You want the paper toweling to be just moist and damp (not dripping or soaking). You may not need to use all of the alcohol mixture. There should be enough alcohol mixture to lightly moisten about 25 pieces of toweling.
- Once the pieces in the container are moistened to your satisfaction, close the lid on the container.
- To use: Take a wipe from the container and lightly wipe hands.
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