Homemade Wet Wipes for Sticky Fingers

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)
(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)

I have a love-hate relationship with wipes. I love their convenience for dirty hands and sticky faces, but I hate that conventional wipes are expensive and made with a long list of ingredients.

Until recently I had no idea how easy it was to make my own disposable wipes. Now I carry my own to the playground and use them to wipe down a shopping cart. Plus they are gentle enough to use on sensitive little faces. Here’s a simple tutorial for making your own.

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Ingredients for homemade wet wipes. (Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

How To Make Wet Wipes from Paper Towels & Soap

What You Need

Paper towel roll
1 1/2 cups distilled water
1 tablespoon baby castile soap or baby wash (keep this gentle to avoid skin irritation, especially if regularly using on faces and bums)
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
1 teaspoon of a light oil like grapeseed or sweet almond
5 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil

Plastic container with lid
Pencil or marker
Serrated knife
Measuring cups and spoons


  1. Mark where to cut the paper towel roll so it fits in the container: Put the paper towel roll in the storage container you plan to use for the wipes. Mark where to cut the roll so that it will fit inside. It should be about 1/3 to 1/2 of the size of the paper towel roll.
  2. Cut the paper towel in half: Cut the paper towel roll in half along the width. Be prepared that this is going to be harder than you think it will be! A serrated bread knife seems to cut the best, but there will still be plenty of sawing.
  3. Whisk together the cleaning solution ingredients: Pour all of the liquid ingredients in a measuring cup and whisk together until combined. Note: You can skip the soap altogether if you or your baby has really sensitive skin.
  4. Position the paper towels in the storage container: With the cut side down, put the paper towels in the storage container.
  5. Pour in the solution: Pour the solution over the wipes, circling around to get the liquid on all of the paper towels.
  6. Soak the paper towels in the solution: Close the container and let the solution soak into the wipes for a couple of hours. You can flip the container over to help disperse the liquid.
  7. Remove the cardboard roll to pull out wipes: Remove the center cardboard piece. This will pull out the first wipe. Continue to pull the wipes from the center.

To use: Replace the lid after each use to keep the wipes from drying out. If they do dry out you can add a bit more water to remoisten.

(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)

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