Homemade Disinfectant Wipes: Cheap, Effective Recipes

by Reader Contributors

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Make homemade disinfectant wipes with the same cleaning power as the store brands for a fraction of the price with recipes from our frugal readers.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
I just love those Clorox clean-up wipes for bathrooms and other areas in the home, and now it seems they will become a household staple for most of us, but I hate the price. I was wondering if anyone had any recipes for “homemade” disinfectant wipes they could share.

Recipes for Homemade Disinfectant Wipes?

Homemade disinfectant wipes can be a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to store-bought ones. We asked our frugal readers to share their favorite recipes for homemade disinfectant wipes. See if one of their suggestions below can help you save money.

Editor’s note: Not all of these options we received from readers are disinfectants, so if you need a disinfectant wipe, be sure to use one of the recipes that use a disinfectant product or substitute your own favorite disinfectant. Always test the wipes on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility with the surface you intend to disinfect. Additionally, be sure to follow proper safety precautions when mixing up these recipes, such as wearing gloves and working in a well-ventilated area.

Inexpensive Homemade Clorox Wipes

I, too, thought the price of the clean-up wipes was way too expensive in my area, so I modified my homemade baby wipes to make my own clean-ups.

Cut a roll of Bounty paper towels in half, and remove the cardboard tube. In an airtight container, add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup of cleaner. I use an old 5-quart ice cream bucket and Mr. Clean Anti-Bacterial. Place roll of paper towels in and seal with lid. Turn upside down until all liquid is absorbed in paper towels. To use, pull each piece of paper towel out of the center. They work great for wiping down the bathroom and kitchen.

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Transform Baby Wipes Into Disinfectant Wipes

For years, I have been using cheap baby wipes and alcohol. Just buy a container of baby wipes and pour a bottle of alcohol into the container. You then have disinfectant cleaner wipes at 1/2 the price.

Homemade Disinfectant Wipes are a Time Investment that Saves Money

The Clorox wipes are basically paper towels in a bleach water solution. Making your own is easy if you don’t mind a little time investment. Buy a good-quality paper towel and tear the sheets apart. Cut them to the size you would like. Get a container to store your wipes. An old baby wipes container works great. Add 1/4 cup bleach to 1-gallon water. Pour half of the liquid into the container, then add your towels. Pour the remaining liquid over the towels. Let this sit overnight and you’re ready to go!

A Very Frugal Alternative to Homemade Disinfectant Wipes

Tell your reader to take an empty spray bottle and fill it with a solution of 1/10 parts bleach to water. Spray on surface and wipe with paper towel. Or if you’re really frugal, then cut up an old frayed towel into 12-inch by 12-inch squares and use these.

Homemade Disinfectant Wipes With Alcohol and Essential Oils

Here’s a simple recipe to make your own disinfectant wipes. You will need:

  • A roll of good-quality paper towels
  • An airtight container or bag
  • 1 1/2 cups of 70% isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol)
  • 1/2 cup of distilled water
  • 1 tablespoon of dish soap
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil (e.g., lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, or lemon) – optional, for a pleasant scent


  1. Cut the paper towel roll in half or into thirds, depending on the size of your container. This will make it easier to fit into the container and to pull out individual wipes later.
  2. Combine the isopropyl alcohol, distilled water, dish soap, and essential oil (if using) in a mixing bowl. Stir the solution until everything is well combined.
  3. Place the cut paper towel roll into the airtight container. Pour the solution evenly over the paper towels, making sure they are fully saturated.
  4. Close the container tightly and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the paper towels to absorb the solution fully.
  5. Open the container and carefully remove the cardboard core from the center of the paper towel roll. This should leave you with a tube of wipes that you can pull from the center.
  6. Seal the container to keep the wipes moist when not in use.
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A Variety of Homemade Disinfectant Wipes

I’ve tried a few different recipes to replace Clorox wipes. I use Bounty Select-A-Size paper towels and fold them into thirds. Put them in an old Huggie wipes box. Mix 2 cups warm water, 2 tablespoons baby lotion, and 2 tablespoons baby bath. Pour over the paper towels. You can adjust the recipe if you like your wipe wetter or drier.

For each of the following, I use Bounty or Viva paper towels because neither one of these turns to mush. I take a roll of paper towels, cut it in half, and remove the cardboard inside. You won’t need it for anything. You’ll pull out the sheets from the center. I keep each of the following in a Rubbermaid container big enough to hold half a roll of paper towels:

  • Kitchen Face Wipe: 2 tablespoons Johnson & Johnson Baby Bath and 2 cups water
  • Bathroom Disinfectant Wipes: 2 cups Pine Cleaner (your choice) and 2 cups water
  • Bug Wipe: 1 cup Avon Skin So Soft and 1 cup water
  • Window Wipe: 1 1/2 cups Glass Cleaner (your choice) and 1/2 cup water

All of the above save me some time and money, and they get used a lot here! I’ve marked the tops of each with exactly what is inside, and the same container gets used over and over again.

Reviewed November 2023

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