Homemade Disinfectant Wipes

Homemade Disinfectant Wipes

Stores are running low on disinfectant wipes during the COVID outbreak, but you can make your own at home. No bleach or rubbing alcohol needed!

Cleaning products, especially disinfecting products, have become really hard to come by recently thanks to the COVID outbreak. This week I worked on a homemade version for disinfectant wipes that I thought I’d share with everybody!

They are easy to make and you don’t need bleach or rubbing alcohol to make them.

I used paper towels for my version, but if you are short on paper towels you can use old rags soaked in the liquid also. Just keep them in an airtight container so they don’t evaporate!

Homemade Disinfectant Mix

While everybody has been hoarding rubbing alcohol, I swung by my liquor store and grabbed a few bottles of Everclear. It’s 95% alcohol instead of 99% of rubbing alcohol and it is a different type of alcohol, but both types are effective disinfectants so no worries there.

The only worry about using Everclear is you have to make sure that you do the math as you don’t want your alcohol percentage to fall below 60% in your final mix or it will lose effectiveness. I actually kept mine closer to 70% just to err on the safe side.

Basics for wipes.

Because the grain alcohol, you just need some vinegar, water, dish soap, and essential oils if you have them. They aren’t essential but do help remove some of the strong smell of the mix. I added some lavender to mine!

How to Make the Disinfectant Wipes

I decided to use paper towels, but one paper towel was a bit big for the bags I was using (quart-sized plastic bags), so I cut my paper towel roll in half with a serrated knife.

Cutting paper towels in half.

My original thought was to SOAK a roll and then somehow get it into an air-tight environment (to prevent evaporation) and then be able to pull a piece off at a time.

That didn’t really work. Instead I found that the best method is to tear off the paper towel pieces and interweave them, folding them over one another, so that when you pull on one, the next one comes up! If you’ve ever pulled a baby wipe out of a wipe container, this is the same idea although a bit more, ummm, rustic!

Fold method for homemade wipes.

I stacked 25 paper towel sheets (half sheets actually) and this would be one of my wipe containers.

Stacked up wipes

Place the wipe stack in your airtight container (I used plastic bags but you could also use a large mason jar or something. Then pour in about half of your disinfectant mix. Make sure to distribute the mix evenly in the bag so it soaks all the sheets.

Adding disinfectant mix.

Then seal the bag of disinfectant wipes! When you need to open a bag of them, just cut a slit in the side and you can easily pull a wipe out!

Disinfectant Wipes

If you aren’t going through these really fast (I just use a few a day to wipe doorknobs and stuff), I recommend sealing the bag with a piece of tape to prevent evaporation. The one downside of using alcohol like this is that it evaporates really fast if you leave it open.

Hope you are all being safe out there. STAY HOME!

Homemade Disinfectant Wipes

Homemade Disinfectant Wipes

These homemade disinfectant wipes take just a few minutes to make and keep really well. Use paper towels or old rags. No need for bleach or rubbing alcohol for this version!
4.01 from 180 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 10 mins
Course Misc
Servings 50 wipes
Yield About 50 wipes


  • 1 cup 190 proof grain alcohol
  • ¼ cup distilled water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid soap
  • 8-10 drops essential oils optional


  • Stir together all ingredients really well in a mixing bowl.
  • If you are using paper towels, cut a roll in half with a serrated knife, then tear off individual half sheets and fold them interweaved so when you pull one sheet out, the next one will follow. Fold 25 paper towel sheets into a stack.
  • Place stack of wipes in a quart-sized plastic bag. Pour in half of the alcohol mixture. Try to distribute the liquid on all sides of the bag so it soaks evenly into the wipes.
  • Seal bag. When ready to use, cut a small slit in the face of the plastic bag so you can pull a wipe through the whole. When not using, seal the bag with a piece of tape as the wipes will evaporate quickly since they are high in alcohol content.
Keyword Cleaning Wipes, Disinfectant Wipes

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44 Responses to “Homemade Disinfectant Wipes” Leave a comment

  1. So, I had Everclear in my booze stash from making a holiday drink called apple pie ala mode ( delish) my chemist son in law said alcohol content had to be above 70% so this is 95% as you stated. I took packets of make up remover which comes in handy, dandy airtight containers PLUS ingredients that are skin friendly, poured a half cup of Everclear into each packet and VOILA, Sanitary wipes to put in my purse, car, tennis bag, kitchen etc! The make up remover packets are still in stock at all stores! BTW, vodka, gin etc do not have a high enough alcohol content to do the disinfecting.

    1. BTW
      There is vodka that is 191 proof that is in the high 90’s in alcohol percentage. So stop spreading misinformation.

  2. If you want to be able to pull off the roll you will need a tub that will hold half of a roll of paper towels. Maybe one of the plastic tubs that ground coffee comes in? Drop your half roll in now pull out the center cardboard tube. Reach into the hole with a couple of fingers and find the end of the towels and pull it up. When we used to make our own baby wipes we thought it was easier to pull out the roll after it soaked in our solution for a while, but your mileage may vary. Best of luck on your disinfected adventures!

  3. Hi Nicolette, it shoudl work but make sure you do the math to make sure your alcohol percentage is at least 70% for it to be effective. Good luck!

  4. I can only get 151 proof everclear, it’s 75.5 % alcohol. Can anyone help me with the math? Seems I should just use less water?

  5. Hey Nancy! That’s going to be really tough. You basically can’t dilute it at all if you want it to be effective. You probably could just add some dish soap and a few drops of essential oils and call it good. Maybe just skip the water/vinegar. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, I actually found another recipe that was pretty much just that. It called for 3 cups any grain alcohol over 140 proof with a few drops of essential oils and 3/4 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. Smells pretty good too!

      1. Hi Nancy – I too just purchased the Everclear 150 proof as that is all my liquor store had. I did your recipe. Im using these in my car after the store and then using hand sanitizer.

  6. I was told that everclear 190 proof, 95% alcohol won’t work. They said grain alcohols don’t have enough alcohol in them. The CDC said this to. So much misinformation, is this a true recipe that really works? I’m just trying to keep my family protected.

    1. Everclear 190 proof will work if your deluting it like in this recipe.. Drinking alcohol below 150proof won’t work. Because most states have outlawed alcohol above 150proof, most liquor store only have 80proof. CdC knows this.. I’ll be trying mixing some Everclear 150proof + denatured alcohol with high% + vinegar+ dish soap..(75%-Ec,10%-Da,10%-vinegar,5%-Ds) should work..

      Everclear 151 and denatured alcohol are the only thing i can find in my state..

  7. Hey Kira, it depends on the grain alcohol. Vodka, for example, does not. But high proof grain alcohols absolutely do. The World Health Organization gives ethanol as an acceptable disinfectant in their homemade formulas (ethanol = grain alcohol).

    You just have to be careful not to dilute it so much that it isn’t effective and keep it airtight so the alcohol doesn’t evaporate.

    Good luck!

  8. Pretty easy! Just take your percent alcohol multiplied by your volume of everclear to get your volume of alcohol. Then make sure that volume is 70% of your total at the end of the mix. Hope that helps!

  9. Thank you!!! Sorry one more question. I’m just wondering how effective this recipe is, because i found other recipes using more alcohol. Will this cover an entire 1/2 roll of paper towels? I’m just trying to find the best option for my family.

  10. I just made some wipes with a roll of Coralite All-Purpose Reusable Wipes Cleaning Cloths from the 99 Cents Only Store. There are other brands but this one comes 40 to a roll. I have been using them instead of paper towels. Cut them in half. Soak 1/2 in the solution and layer them dry ones. Roll them up and they fit in the snack size ziplocs.

    1. Hi Veronica…are the Coralite reuseables paper or actual cloth? That sound like a better idea thaythe paper towels which have a finite lifespan.

  11. Hi… I have 99% isopropyl alcohol. I’m wondering if I should increase the amount of distilled h2o. Also, doesn’t the Dawn dish soap get surfaces pretty soapy? It’s powerful stuff.

    1. What purpose does vinegar serve in this cleaner formula? It does not appear in many other similar mixes.

  12. I have made several batches of these wipes and I think they are awesome. I was a huge clorox wipe user and had anxiety when I ran out! I use a foldgers plastic coffee container and it fits a whole roll of paper towels (cut in half). but plain water instead of distilled water, and lemon essential oil. I actually double the recipe so the wipes are really saturated, maybe a little too much. I have 2 tubs of these now and also a spray that’s very similar, because I’m running out of my disinfecting spray and all the stores are out.

  13. Hi I think I’m gonna try this as I have tried to do this over and over using bleach and it has been a disaster. Can I use fragrance free/unscented baby wipes?

  14. Baby wipes usually have some moisture in them already – saline I think – so it would water own your alcohol mix. Not sure on how to calculate the percent alcohol if you are starting with a wet wipe. Good luck though!

  15. Can I use just plain 190 proof Everclear ? Or Everclear + a bit of water? Is it necessary to add essential oil and vinegar if the wipe is just going to be used for cleaning counters, doorknobs, etc? Other than fragrance, why the oil, unless it keeps the alcohol from evaporating too quickly. And.,why the vinegar? I have used straight Everclear 190 in a spray bottle, or diluted ut with water just a bit to clean counters, not on skin.. Is that a mistake when it comes to killing corona virus on hard surfaces?
    Thank you.

  16. Hey Dan! Yep… all that stuff is optional really. You can of course just douse stuff with alcohol and it will kill whatever. The other stuff is just bonus. The soap and vinegar helps keep surfaces streak free and clean, fragrance makes it smell good… diluting it in general helps it not dry out your skin quite so much… I would’ve added some Aloe if I could’ve found some.
    Ultimately as long as you keep the alcohol % strength high enough, you should be good to go. Good luck!

  17. There is NO alcohol, rubbing or otherwise, left in my area!! How can I make disinfectant wipes without it??? Please help!

    1. Hi – I have been using vodka – it has to be the 190 proof, Everclear is one brand, and obviously costs more than rubbing alcohol. I use it to make wipes and also disinfectant spray. This 190 proof vodka is about 95% ethylene alcohol so it’s a strong disinfectant. I get it at the liquor store. Ask them because others are probably using it also for cleaning. We now have 70% alcohol available here but it’s not strong enough to kill germs. Also, I made the first several batches using paper towels cut in half. For my last one I used natural care baby wipes and love them. They are bigger and don’t fall apart as easily as the paper towels. You can also use the tub/dispenser that baby wipes come in to store the new wipes. Let me know how it goes!

  18. So my problem is the paper towels just fall apart. Am i using the wring kind? Im using viva. I cant even pull one out. It just basically disintigrates in my hand.

    1. I have started using baby wipes and they are great. I get natural/sensitive? and I really soak them with the solution. They don’t fall apart and they’re bigger and more durable than regular Clorox wipes. I use the actual wipes dispenser also, just make sure to label it.

  19. Can you reuse the baby or makeup wipes? After use, can you wash, air dry and then resoak in solution? Would be nice to recycle.

    1. No, you throw them away. I have seen people say they use rags and they can throw them in the wash.

      1. For a Clorox while. I use one quart of water totwo teaspeans of Clorox.I put paper towels in bottle and soak them. Than put in zip lock bag.Am I doing right?

  20. I bought a bundle of wash cloths and planned to use with yet to be determined solution. Hint those who like baby wipes check your closest Dollar store.

  21. If you use alcohol (drinkable) to make this. And you let an underage child use it to help clean. Would that be considered contributing to a minor? Because of the alcohol content.

  22. I use the same solution in a spray bottle on counters some appliances, etc. I like it because it doesn’t have some of the chemicals that store bought disinfectants do. Be careful if using it on certain surfaces.

    I see the above comment on baby wipes and the alcohol content. I’m going to need to figure out- or my son/chemistry student- how much alcohol is needed because of the already wet baby wipes. Anybody know?

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