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Natural, Nontoxic Disinfecting Wipes with Washable Cloths

We've been using these for the past month, and they have changed the way we look at disinfecting wipes. We've always bought as "natural" of disposable cloths as we could find, and primarily keep them in the car. Enter our new favorite wipes using washable cloths.


They leave whatever room you are wiping down smelling so fresh.



These are so easy to put together, last a long time, and you can customize the fragrance to suit your preferences. It's a popular recipe, and you'll find many recipes with slight variations. Of the ones we've tried, this is our favorite.


The base of this is vodka (or isopropyl alcohol if you prefer), distilled water, and liquid Castile soap. You will also need cotton or microfiber cloths, a mason jar for mixing, a stirring implement, and if you want to make a double batch like I do, you will need a larger glass jar.



We have used essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs for as long as we've been using essential oils, which is a long time. However, any good-quality—preferably organic—essential oils will work.


Quinn's Castile Soap, unscented, is my favorite brand, and my hands always feel soft after using the wipes due to the soap. However, with the run on many of these products lately, some have sold out, so search for a good-quality liquid Castile soap if you can't find Quinn's.


For the cloths, we used painter's rags from Home Depot. They come in a big bag, and are cut in a variety of odd squares and rectangles, so some need to be trimmed, but they work great for our purposes.


Distilled water is great to have on hand for any number of reasons. We use so much of it that last year we bought our own distiller. It has been one of the best purchases we've made for the home.



Before we get started, we have a safety tip for you. Essential oils need to be handled with care. Mountain Rose Herbs has an informed post on essential oil safety that we recommend you read. No matter for how long you have been using oils, there is always so much to learn.


Tip: Wear gloves when handling isopropyl alcohol. It is readily absorbed into the skin, and in the case of an accidental spill on your skin, can cause accidental poisoning.


Now, for the wipes.


You Will Need

  • 1/2 cup 100-proof vodka (or 70% isopropyl alcohol if you prefer)

  • 1/2 cup distilled water

  • 2 1/2 Tbs liquid Castile soap

  • Mason jar with screw lid (make sure all jars and containers are clean and sterilized)

  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil

  • 10 drops of tea tree (we used a lemon tea tree blend the second time)

  • 6 drops fir needle essential oil

  • 5 drops oregano essential oil

  • 4 drops clove bud essential oil

  • 3 drops sweet orange essential oil

  • Cotton or microfiber cloths


Now, keep in mind that you don't have to use all the listed oils. You'll want the tea tree for it's antibacterial and disinfecting properties, and oregano and clove are both powerful disinfectants. Orange is a great antiseptic and lavender has too many uses to list here. Actually, these oils are all great for disinfecting, but we'll admit we chose some because we liked the fragrance when combined. We often experiment to get just the right combination because there is no reason why cleaning supplies can't be healthy and smell nice.


Make the Mixture

  1. Pour the vodka in the clean mason jar. Boiling water will sterilize glass well enough. It only takes 1-3 minutes. Running them through the dishwasher, or washing with hot water, will also do the trick.

  2. Add the essential oils to the vodka, and shake to combine. Shake a lot and give your arm a good workout.

  3. Add the distilled water and repeat the shaking. Do a little song and dance if it helps.

  4. Add the Castile soap, and either gently swirl it or lightly stir with a clean spoon or stir stick. I use the later method. Do not shake on this step or you will end up with a sudsy mixture.

  5. If making a single batch and just using the mason jar, roll the cloths and place them in the mason jar. If making a larger batch, I recommend folding the cloths. Set 1/3 in the bottom of the large glass container, pour a 1/3 of the liquid over them. Add another 1/3 of the cloths, then pour 1/3 of the liquid over those . . . you know where this is going. Add the remaining cloths and pour the remaining liquid over those.

  6. Once that is done, I take the container and turn it to each side a few times to make sure all the liquid gets absorbed into the cloths.

  7. Store in a cool, dark place, and use within three to four weeks. A double batch lasts us about four weeks, and we use them once daily in the kitchen. We plan to try a few other fragrance combinations for the bathrooms.


How to Use

If you have counter tops or fixed finishes that require special cleaners, then you'll want to make sure these won't harm those. We use them on counters, cabinet fronts, cabinet and drawer handles, refrigerator handles, and more, and have had no problem using these on a variety of surfaces.


The cloths have so far held up under multiple washes. We toss them in with our white kitchen towels, so they get bleached and are ready to be turned into a new batch of disinfecting wipes.


Let us know how they work for you, or if you try other fragrance combinations that you like.

Especially for you!


Est 2019

We create, garden, draw, design, sew, refinish furniture, write, bake, and . . .  We're always dreaming up something new. Every story evolves over time, with each chapter expanding on the one before. We welcome you to join us on our creative journeys and Potterton Hill adventures.

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