I’ll confess that I’m not much of a do-it-yourselfer. That said, now that I’ve made my own cleaning wipes, I’m a little in love with the idea. It’s super easy to put together a jar full. Plus, they’re just as easy to use as the Member’s Mark Disinfecting Wipes my husband buys from Sam’s Club. All I needed to do was cut up one of his old t-shirts instead of throwing it away, put some vinegar or Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, water, and an essential oil into a pitcher and pour it into a mason jar on top of the rags.
Here’s the recipe I used. There are also many on-line to choose from.
RECIPE FOR DIY CLEANING WIPES USING VINEGAR
1, 1.5 cup size mason jar
Enough cut up t-shirts or socks etc. to stuff it full
3/4 cup vinegar, (it can be a little on the heavy
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup potato vodka
5 drops of each of the following essential oils: lemon, wild orange, and DoTerra On Guard or the equivalent, like Thieves or Protect.
Mix liquids into a bowl or pitcher. Add rags to mixture and work liquid through so all rags are damp. Stuff mason jar full of rags.
Put lid on and tighten. Store in dark area. (I keep a jar in cabinets under our kitchen and bathroom sinks.)
RECIPE FOR WIPES USING DR. BRONNER’S
1, 1.5 cup size mason jar
Cut up t-shirts and socks, etc.
Twenty squirts of Dr. Bronner’s soap
1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide
1/3 cup water
Follow same directions as a above.
HERE’S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BOTH
They’re convenient for light cleaning. I use the vinegar ones on my formica counters, stove, fridge, mirrors, windows, and for wiping around in the downstairs bathroom. The Dr. Bronner’s wipes work well, too. A little goes a long way with it!
They get rid of dirt. I used the Dr. Bronner’s wipes on my bathtub and the ring inside it dissolved after just a little rubbing. The vinegar ones cleaned the smudges off the bottom of my front door and left my bathroom mirror shiny. Also, I cut up some of my husband’s socks that he was going to throw out. They fit perfectly over the head of my WetJet Swiffer. (At first, my husband couldn’t figure out why I was so excited about old socks.) I put them in a mason jar with the Dr. Bronner’s solution. They worked great for cleaning my hardwood floors. Now I have reusable, washable Swiffer pads instead of disposable ones!
They’re better for the environment. Both vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s are plant based and are harmless to people, pets and the planet. Plus, the cloth wipes can be washed and reused instead of thrown away after a single use, which means we’re not adding more non-biodegrable trash to landfills. After I clean with one of the rags, I just toss it into my bin of used cleaning cloths. When the bin fills up I run a load of laundry in hot water and bleach.
HERE’S WHAT’S NOT SO GREAT
Vinegar can damage stone and tile. It’s fine to use on some surfaces, like formica and glass, but not on others, like stone and tile. Because of its acidity, it can cause streaking in stone and can eat away grout on tiled surfaces. I also wouldn’t use it on my wood floors. But the Dr. Bronner’s wipes are fine to use anywhere.
Dr. Bronner’s is expensive. My husband nearly blew a fuse when I told him I paid $33.00 for a half-gallon jug of soap. “But we can use it for everything from doing dishes to cleaning our pets,” I said. The fact that I would use it for more than just wipes didn’t help him come around.
Neither works as a sanitizer. There’s a difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting. In terms of cleaning, which simply means removing dirt from a surface, both the vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s do the job. But they don’t kill 99.9% of germs to qualify as sanitizers. Disinfecting is even a step above that. A disinfectant kills 100% of microbes. But, from what I’ve read about microbes, they’re a part of life. In fact, exposure to them might help strengthen our immune systems. Unless my husband and I worked in a hospital or chicken coop, where we risked bringing home germs like streptococcus on our clothing, I really don’t need to keep sanitizing surfaces in our home ten times a day the way I’ve been. Repeated exposure to anti-microbial cleaners isn’t good for us either.
But we do occasionally prepare raw meat, chicken, and fish, which can leave germs like salmonella on our kitchen counter. I also work with toddlers, so I need to sanitize the toys I use. And, let’s not forget our four animals, that can scamper through the doggie door with germs like E. coli on their paws. There are a few agents that the EPA says work well enough to kill those kinds of germs. Of them, bleach is considered the best. But the chemical can be hard on the environment and on people’s health. There are plant based options available, though. I’ll get into that next week.
Neither cleaner will remove mold. That’s another job for bleach. But if there’s a green alternative, I’d prefer to use it. I’ll find out about that for next week, too.
The smell of the vinegar is not for everyone. My husband keeps repeating the same question every time he walks through the laundry room: “That smell doesn’t bother you?” I’ll admit, the lavender maybe takes the solution from having a very, very strong vinegar smell to just a very strong vinegar smell. It still makes my eyes tear. On the other hand, Dr. Bronner’s comes in pleasant smelling fragrances or fragrance free. I bought the peppermint-scented soap. It smells nice.
In my opinion both types of cleaning wipes work fine as alternatives to disposable ones for cleaning at home and each would be good to have around for different tasks. But if my husband really hates the smell of vinegar, the Dr. Bronner’s soap version can work anywhere and is excellent. (He said he would suffer the smell if it meant not spending big bucks on soap. What he doesn’t realize is, though vinegar is cheaper it can’t be used everywhere the way Dr. Bronner’s can. The way I see it, we’ll be saving money on Swiffer pads and cleaning wipes, so the cost will balance out.) I will need to look into some kind of green sanitizing agents for home and on the job, though. That’s my homework for next week’s post.
See you then!