For many parents, household essentials like toilet paper, gloves, and cleaning wipes have become hard to find even months into the lockdowns and restrictions that have become all too familiar during the pandemic.
Learning to make your own DIY cleaning wipes is one way you can increase your self-sufficiency during this unpredictable time. It is also a great way to save some money, costing no more than a roll of paper towels and a very small amount of bleach. The process of making your own DIY disinfectant wipes is fairly simple, and with the right supplies on hand you can make a cleaning wipe alternative that is both safe and effective.
How to Make DIY Cleaning Wipes
Keeping in mind what we know about safe and effective cleaning of surfaces to help prevent transmission of illness, making your own cleaning wipes is a simple as staying stocked up on a few essential ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Paper towels
- A container that seals airtight (old wet wipe containers work great for this!)
Set up your workspace in a well-ventilated area and put on a pair of gloves. In your chosen storage container, dilate the bleach with water by measuring out four teaspoons of bleach and adding one quart of water. This concentration is safe for use on surfaces and shouldn’t cause irritation if it comes in contact with your skin.
Next, soak up the solution with your paper towel. Depending on your chosen container, you may be best pulling individual paper towels off the roll and stacking them one-by-one in the container. Personally, I think a well-labeled plastic container for baby wipes could work really well for this homemade cleaning product. Allow the towels to fully soak up the solution.
Seal the container and store it away from children in a hard-to-reach or locked cabinet. Grab it anytime you feel like you need a little extra help getting household surfaces clean.
What Makes DIY Cleaning Wipes Safe?
Anytime you will be working with a chemical like bleach, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Bleach is great for sanitizing, but it can also be dangerous if it is not used with care. As you embark on your DIY journey, keep a few important safety practices in mind:
- For goodness’ sake, ventilate! Don’t make these wipes in your tiny, windowless laundry room. To avoid breathing in the fumes from the bleach, open up the windows while you’re mixing up the solution for your wipes.
- Leave the chemistry to the professionals. Don’t mix bleach with other household cleaners, especially those containing ammonium. This can cause a dangerous chemical reaction that could be toxic to your health.
- Handle with care. Bleach can cause damage and irritation to sensitive tissues, so keep it away from your eyes and wear gloves when you are making and using your DIY cleaning wipes.
- Lock it up. Store bleach away from children, as ingestion of household bleach can be dangerous and even fatal to small children.
When handled properly, bleach is safe for household use. If you follow these guidelines, you can rest easy knowing you’ve done what is necessary to protect your family from any potentially dangerous side effects from using bleach.
Are DIY Cleaning Wipes Actually Effective?
When I look at any kind of do-it-yourself recipe or tutorial, I experience a little skepticism. My first question is always, “Does it really work as well as what I can buy in the store?” I think that’s a fair question, especially when you’re talking about protecting your family from germs associated with the flu and coronavirus.
The fact of the matter is that not all DIY options will be effective if you want to kill germs on the surfaces in your home. Here’s what to keep in mind to make sure they’re doing their job.
Opting for bleach as your main ingredient is one way to be certain that your wipes will rid the surfaces in your home of germs. The germs associated with the flu virus doesn’t stand a chance against bleach, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, according to Hartford Health, bleach effectively kills the coronavirus on surfaces.
While vinegar is good at cleaning and removing germs, it isn’t considered a disinfectant, at least not for everything. This means it may work well to scrub the germs from surfaces but it can’t be trusted to kill everything present on a surface. You can also look into UV sterilizers if you’re worried about killing the germs on items that your baby will be touching, but don’t want to use harsh chemicals. There is some evidence a strong enough concentration can kill germs associated with the flu, but not enough to hang your hat on during a pandemic or flu season. When in doubt, reach for bleach wipes for an effective clean.
Using Your DIY Cleaning Wipes
Now that you’ve made your own bleach wipes out of things you have on hand in your laundry room, you might be tempted to use them on any and every surfaces. Not so fast! While this cleaning tool is great to have on hand, it actually isn’t intended to be a homemade, all-purpose cleaner.
According to Hartford HealthCare, bleach is best when used occasionally and it isn’t the only way to keep your home clean during flu season. Cleaning with soap and water is actually highly effective for cleaning surfaces and should be your go-to method for daily cleaning in your home.
Instead, reach for your DIY cleaning wipes when you need them most. For instance, if you’ve already got sick kids at home or you’ve been exposed to a virus, this extra powerful cleaner can come in handy. And once you’ve tried your hand at making these DIY cleaning wipes, who knows—you just might be ready to branch out to homemade carpet cleaner or homemade window cleaner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make my own disinfectant wipes?
Yes! Bleach, water, and paper towels are all you need to make your own disinfectant wipes.
Does vinegar sanitize?
Yes and no. Vinegar can be used for cleaning surfaces and may even disinfect, or kill, the flu virus at a high enough concentration. However, it isn’t effective against a wide range of germs and viruses so it isn’t considered a disinfectant.
Does vinegar kill the flu virus?
One 2010 study published by PLoS ONE found that vinegar can kill the flu virus if the concentration is high enough. You’ll need malt vinegar mixed with water so that the vinegar makes up 10% of the solution.
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