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How to make your own (cheap & green) cleaning wipes!

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I am a busy mom and I love the convenience of clorox wipes...however I don't love the price. I found myself only using the wipes when I was in a real hurry rather than being able to enjoy the convenience all the time (we have a pretty tight budget!) Also I wanted something that would be reused instead of thrown away. I tried making wipes w/sturdy paper towels after reading an idea on a blog but they just didn't hold up to scrubbing and with a toddler and a small child I needed to be able to scrub stuck on jelly and crayon and pizza sauce and whatever else a kid could leave stuck on the table! Here's what I came up with and it's an amazing solution for our family! feel free to add suggestions!
 
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Step 1: Materials!

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for this I used an empty Clorox wipes container that matched my kitchen but you could use any container that the wipes wont dry out in.....it's preferred that you recycle something rather than go out and buy it but some ideas are a tupperware container w/ a hole made in the top, an empty wipes container (like wet ones or clorox wipes) or I found this neat tupperware with an opening already made in the center....GET CREATIVE!
Also you will need wipes. I used the Mr. Clean reusable wipes which are approx 3 dollars a package.
Then use your favorite recipe for cleaner you can make all purpose wipes, glass wipes or whatever you would like. don't limit yourself to store bought cleaners as you can make your own for this step.

Step 2: Cut wipes (if desired)

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I found that the wipes were GIGANTIC so I decided to cut them in half....double the wipes yay! but you can cut them to whatever size you would like here.

Step 3: Put wipes and cleaner into your container

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I like to fold mine a certain way based on the shape of the container so they pull out easier but this is bascially just trial and error. I usually put about 50% cleaner and 50% water. You want your wipes to be damp but if you accidentally put too much or too little it's very easy to correct. if you have to little ADD MORE and if you have to much just squeeze them and you will have the excess in the bottom of your container (no biggie) I have also found that the wipes do better if you make them a little while before you use them so that they can evenly absorb the cleaner.

Step 4: Clean!

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this step is pretty self explanatory!! lol if your wipes dry out while you are still cleaning there's no need to get another one just rinse and add more cleaner! it's like a rag but more convenient!

Step 5: REUSE!

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I just throw them in the laundry basket when I'm finished ...that's it! I don't dry mine just wash and when they come out they will look all wadded up so I usually just try and lay them out flat (not that it matters) but there you go...use as much as you like (you may need two pack of mr clean or other brand wipes if you use a lot) and know that you are saving money!!! no need to trow away your $$ anymore! this is also a great way to encourage kids and teens to help clean.....who minds wiping the counters everyday when all you have to do is grab something wipe and DONE!!

Thanks everyone for reading my first instructable!!!!!! (sorry about the stock photos....my camera is currently missing....Blame the 1 yr old lol)

Step 6: Update

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I recently found a package of wipes at a local dollar store where everything is 1 dollar and the package had 16 wipes that we quite large so I cut them in half and now I have 32 wipes for only a dollar! I have also found that if you scrub too hard or something to rough the wipes will start to wear a bit and will have small holes lol guess you should save those jobs for something a little more durable!

Also the homemade cleaning recipe I have been using with this is as follows:
Ingredients: Borax, water, white vinegar, liquid castile soap
In a two cup glass measuring cup mix two tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and one teaspoon of borax. Add 1 cup of hot water and stir until the borax is dissolved. Let this mixture cool a few minutes and then pour into the spray bottle. Add more water to the bottle leaving enough room to add 1/4 cup of castile soap OR 1/8 cup of liquid dishwashing detergent. To scent, add 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil. The scent will not be as pure when mixed with an already scented dishwashing detergent.

the blog I found a copy of this recipe at is http://www.everythingishomemade.com/2007/09/homemade-all-purpose-cleaner.html and on her blog she states the site she found it from calculates that the cost per bottle of this cleaner to be only 31 cents per bottle! what savings!!!

personal note..I suggest not using the detergent since it is synthetic but that is a matter of personal choice! I am trying to quit using anything with any chemicals in my house!
nuelma2 months ago

few washes can bear

mamaells5 years ago
Thanks for the tip! thought you might like this recipe for homemade baby wipes:
1 1/2 C water
2 T baby soap
2 T baby oil
1 cup full of alcohol
cut one roll of bounty select-a-size paper towels in half, put into a container and slowly pour solution over paper towels. let sit 30 mins. remove cardboard center of paper towels and pull wipes from the center of the roll. OR= use the wipes like you used for this Instructable. these are great for sticky hands and faces.
swartley3ga (author)  mamaells5 years ago
personally don't want all those chemicals on my baby but I do use cut up squares of tshirts as paper towels and I use them for LOTS of baby clean ups! I tried soaking paper towels but they don't hold up to any sort of scrubbing at all even the good viva and bounty ones =/ I have tried just dipping paper towels in water right before using them and using them as wipes which works great and no chemicals on my daughter who has really bad eczema ...=)
if you don't like chemicals try a little dr bronners, water and some TTO or just use plain old water. instead of using paper towels, invest in some cloth wipes or cut up an old receiving blankets.
Salt is also a very good abrasive, for counters, sinks, stovetops, even pans and glass dishes. It stays abrasive longer than baking soda, and will eventually dissolve, but if you're done cleaning before it has dissolved, it can be wiped right up. No residue. No odor..
ambailey4 years ago
Just a couple ideas I had. Wal-Mart has terry washcloths that are like 18 for $4 or 5. White ones or colors. They're not good for bathing but they are good for cleaning.- that's what I use. Fold in half and lay them in an empty baby wipe box. pour some cleaning solution in and there you are. The more they get washed the better they are at scrubbing because they kind of pill up.
dibutler6 years ago
Good idea! I see this as a great money saver. You could also use the thin cloths that are semi-disposable that most Wal-Mart and grocery stores carry. They are in a small pkg of about 3, and would work great for this.
swartley3ga (author)  dibutler6 years ago
I just saw where someone else uses cut up squares of T-shirts...I don't know that it would work for scrubbing as well as these but it would make great napkins or tissues
I would think anything cottony would work, however, something like a terry cloth, or with a nap, would scrub better. Depends on how hard you want to scrub! If it is a light cleaning, then it should be fine. You generally can't scrub too hard with a standard disposable wipe, anyway.
swartley3ga (author)  dibutler6 years ago
that's one of the main things I hate about the standard disposable wipes...they can't scrub the stuck on mess very well and we have LOT of stuck on mess it seems like! lol
thanks for this article! may I suggest for stuck on or sticky stuff use baking soda for the occasion when you need a mild abrasive cleaner. just sprinkle it on abd use your already wet wipes to clean. Baking soda does not scratch even 'mirror' surfaces like stainless-steel toasters and removes build-up on plastic contaioners used with your cleaners of course made with soap not detergent and makes things shine again!
Use an old credit card as a scraper, great for pots too.
I love the credit card idea!  I always have "empty" gift cards around.  I hate throwing them in the garbage, so this is an awesome solution for me!  Thanks!
Retirement15 years ago
I also love disposable wipes, especially for the bathroom. Like you, I am not a fan of the price and the fact that I throw them away after one use.  This solves both problems. Bravo to you.
I love this idea!!