How to Make Disinfectant Wipes

Disposable disinfecting wipes offer a quick and convenient way to keep your home and hands clean and free of germs and viruses. However, with news of the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic dominating the headlines, these basic cleaning supplies are flying off the shelves. If you go to your local grocery store or pharmacy and find that all the disinfecting wipes are out of stock, don’t panic! You can easily make your own disinfecting wipes for home surfaces with a few basic household supplies. While doctors recommend washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer, you can also make disinfectant hand wipes if you don’t have access to anything better.


[Edit]Creating Surface Disinfecting Wipes

  1. Make an x-shaped slit in the lid of a cylindrical plastic food-storage tub. Get a plastic food-storage tub that’s the right width to hold a section of a paper towel roll. Use a box cutter, a precision knife, or another sharp blade to cut an x-shaped opening in the lid. You’ll be using this opening to pull the wipes up out of the container when you’re ready to use them.[1]
    Make Disinfectant Wipes Step 1.jpg
    • Be very careful when cutting through the lid! Place it on a firm surface that won’t be damaged if you scrape it with your blade, such as a workbench or cutting board, and keep your fingers out of the way.
  2. Cut a paper towel roll into sections that will fit in your plastic tub. Lay a sturdy roll of paper towels down on its side and slice through it width-wise with a sharp knife. Make a section that will fit into your plastic storage tub standing upright.[2]
    • It can be very difficult to cut through a paper towel roll with an ordinary serrated kitchen knife. To make an easier, cleaner cut, try using a band saw if you have one.[3]
  3. Place one of the paper towel sections inside the plastic container. Set the cut section of the paper towel roll upright in the container. Try putting the lid on to make sure that the roll is short enough to fit with the container closed.[4]
    • You’ll need to be able to close the container tightly to prevent the wipes from drying out once you add your disinfectant.
  4. Pour of an EPA-approved disinfecting solution over the paper towels. In order for your wipes to actually disinfect the surfaces you want to use them on, you’ll need to use a solution that can effectively kill germs and bacteria.[5] Use a product such as 60-90% isopropyl alcohol, Lysol Multi-Surface Cleaner, or Clorox Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner.[6]
  5. Allow the paper towels to soak in the solution overnight. Put the lid on the container and set it aside. Let the paper towels sit for 12 hours, or overnight, so that the cleaning solution can soak into the paper thoroughly.[7]
    Make Disinfectant Wipes Step 5.jpg
    • The wipes need to be thoroughly saturated in order to disinfect properly, since you’ll need to apply a fairly heavy layer of the cleaning solution to the surface you’re cleaning.
  6. Pull the cardboard tube out of the center of the roll. Once the paper towels have soaked up all the cleaning solution, the cardboard tube in the center will become damp and soft. Grab the end of the tube and carefully slide it out of the roll, then throw it away.[8]
    • This will make it easier to access the end of the roll so that you can pull the paper towels through the hole in the lid.
  7. Thread the inner end of the paper towel roll through the slit in the lid. When you pull the cardboard tube out of the roll, the middle part of the paper towel roll will likely come up along with it. Grab the end of the center part of the roll and carefully pull it through the x-shaped slit you cut in the lid of your plastic tub. Then, close the lid tightly with the end of the roll sticking out.[9]
    • Now you can easily pull your paper towel wipes out a few at a time whenever you need them! At the same time, the rest of the paper towels should stay moist inside the container.
  8. Use enough wipes so that the surface remains wet for 3-5 minutes. In order to use disinfecting wipes properly, you need to get the surface you’re disinfecting nice and wet. Wipe down the surface until it’s visibly wet, then let the disinfecting solution stand for 3-5 minutes before wiping or rinsing it away. This will allow it plenty of time to kill any viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms on the surface.[10]
    • Some disinfectants take longer to work than others. Read the information on the original bottle carefully to ensure that you’re letting it sit for the correct amount of time.
  9. Discard any wipes immediately after using them. Reusing a wipe can spread germs and viruses around to other surfaces instead of killing them. As soon as you’re done using a wipe on one surface, throw it away in a lined trash can. Grab another wipe if you still need to do more cleaning.[11]
    Make Disinfectant Wipes Step 9.jpg
    • If you’re wearing gloves, throw them away when you’re done (or disinfect them, if they’re reusable).

[Edit]Making DIY Hand Wipes

  1. Use soap and water or commercial hand sanitizer if you can. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to clean your hands is to wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water, using a gel hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol is your best bet.[12] Don’t try to make your own hand sanitizer unless you have absolutely no choice, since it’s very difficult to create a product that’s both effective against germs and safe for your skin.[13]
    Wash Your Hands Step 11.jpg
    • Most alcohol that you can buy in a drug store or department store will probably not be concentrated enough to easily make a 60% alcohol solution when you mix it with other ingredients, such as aloe gel.
    • Be aware that regularly using highly concentrated alcohol can eventually damage your skin and make it easier to absorb toxins and other contaminants through the damaged skin barrier.[14]
  2. Combine of 99% rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel. Aside from soap and warm water, hand sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol are your best option for killing germs and viruses on your hands.[15] Add a little pure aloe vera gel to the mix to make the combination less drying on your skin. A combination of 2 parts 99% isopropyl alcohol and 1 part aloe gel will give you an effective concentration of alcohol.[16]
    • You can buy isopropyl alcohol in most drug stores or grocery stores, but you may have trouble finding the concentration you need. If you can’t find 99% alcohol in stores near you, you can purchase it online.[17]
    • Aloe vera gel is available from most drug stores or grocery stores. You can also squeeze it directly out of an aloe leaf.
    • If you absolutely can’t find isopropyl alcohol, ethanol (the kind of alcohol that’s in alcoholic beverages) will also work. However, you’ll need to find alcohol that’s 180 proof or higher—your average vodka won’t be strong enough.
  3. Pour the mixture into a clean plastic container. Put your DIY hand sanitizer in an empty soap dispenser or another plastic container. Close the lid tightly to prevent it from evaporating.[18]
    • If the container has been used before, wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water before adding the disinfectant.
  4. Squeeze the mixture onto a paper towel or tissue. When you’re ready to use your sanitizer to disinfect your hands or another surface, simply squeeze or pump a little of it onto a clean piece of paper towel, tissue, or gauze. Use enough to thoroughly dampen your wipe.[19]
    Make Disinfectant Wipes Step 12.jpg
  5. Wipe your hands thoroughly and discard the wipe. Wipe all surfaces of your hands, including the backs of your hands, your wrists, and the spaces between your fingers. Inspect your hands to make sure they’re visibly clean. Allow your hands to air dry instead of wiping or rinsing them off.[20]
    Make Disinfectant Wipes Step 13.jpg
    • Rinsing your hands or wiping away the hand sanitizer too soon may prevent it from completely disinfecting your hands.


[Edit]Things You’ll Need

[Edit]Creating Disinfecting Surface Wipes

  • Cylindrical plastic food-storage tub with a lid
  • Box cutter or precision knife
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Sharp kitchen knife or band saw
  • EPA-approved disinfectant solution, such as isopropyl alcohol, Lysol, or Clorox

[Edit]Making DIY Hand Wipes

  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • 100% aloe vera gel
  • Clean plastic container, such as an empty soap dispenser
  • Paper towels or tissue


  • Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the CDC has recommended that people frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, tables, and chairs, to prevent the virus from spreading.[21]
  • The best way to clean your hands is by washing them in warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, especially if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. If you don’t have access to soap and water, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipe is a good alternative.[22]


  • Don’t try to make your own hand sanitizer unless you don’t have access to soap and water or commercial hand sanitizer! It’s very difficult to create a product that will kill germs and viruses effectively without hurting your skin.[23]
  • Baby wipes, anti-bacterial wipes that aren’t alcohol-based, and botanical or essential-oil based wipes are not effective for killing the coronavirus.[24] Stick to alcohol-based sanitizers for cleaning your skin, or use one of the other cleansers on the EPA’s list of approved disinfectants for the coronavirus.[25]


[Edit]Quick Summary

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