Disclosure: I received samples of Wipes Wraps to review as a member of the Boom Team for CleverRelish. My opinions are honest and my own.
Over the years, I’ve researched and planned to have a healthier life and home – for the sake of my health, as well as that of my children. One of the most difficult products for me to switch out has been cleaning products. I loved the smell of those nasty VOCs that pollute the air. I also loved wasteful products that you would throw away after using only to grab another and throw it away as well. There were years when I swear I only cleaned the kitchen counters with disposable cleaning wipes. It was terrible. Not only was I spreading toxic chemicals around our home, I was also throwing away the products and allowing the chemicals to pollute groundwater. But you live and you learn, right?
Today I’m happy to report that I am no longer chained to such awful, wasteful, toxic habits. Indeed, I’ve cleaned up much of my act – and my housekeeping hasn’t suffered for it. I have never been an excellent housekeeper (a fact to which my high school roommates would be the very FIRST to admit, I’m sure, although I have improved somewhat with age and responsibilities), so I’m still not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and having something quick and handy always means that I will clean better. What to do? The wasteful wipes were banished (did you read that as bani SHED? because that’s totally how I wrote it!) way back when and I can’t let them back into my world.
Light bulb moment!
We recently purchased a new bed (last Fall), and it’s a completely different size than the one we had before. So I have all of these old sheets lying around and anyone who knows me will tell you that I can’t just get rid of them. That would be terrible! So instead I have these little projects lying around to use them up. Rather than buying those wasteful wipes, I will make them! And make them washable so I can reuse them!
Note: If you’re planning to make this project, I highly recommend that you first think about where you will dispose of your wipes to be washed before you jump in with both feet and have all these little wipes that need a home until they find the washing machine… Trust me, think it out first. This is one of those “Do as I say, not as I do” moments, can you tell?
Instructions to Make Reusable Cleaning Wipes
Step 1: Find fabric
As I mentioned, I have these queen size sheets to use. I selected a brown sheet (cotton), because it’s for cleaning and cleaning means dirty and dirty means brown. Like my logic? I’m totally impressive, I know.
Step 2: Measure container
I’m using a wipe box that has been used for baby wipes, cloth wipes, and now – cleaning wipes! Revolutionary really should be my middle name. So I started off here with measuring the container to see the width and length I’d need for my wipes. The width at the smallest part of the bottom of the container was roughly 7 inches. The front to back length of the container was about 4 inches. I wanted to tri-fold my wipes so that they would pop up out of the container (à la real wipes… get it? Again, totally revolutionary. I have no idea where all these totally new ideas come from yo) so I multiplied by 3 and subtracted two inches for overlappage to come up with 11 inches, meaning my wipes would be 7″x10″. I’m sure they didn’t really turn out to be that size, but that’s mostly because I measured the first one and then just hacked away, which takes me to our next step – cutting the wipes!
Step 3: Cut fabric into wipes
So we have our fabric and we have our dimensions, let’s get to cutting! I used pinking shears to help avoid fraying. As someone who used pinking shears to cut cloth baby wipes for diapering, I can tell you it’s not foolproof. It’s assuredly not Joanna-proof. But I have lots of sheets to use up, so that works for me. This may have been the part of the process that took the longest.
Step 4: Fold the wipes
Sure, I could’ve combined this with step 3, but then I wouldn’t have been able to cut through FIFTEEN layers of fabric at one time. Someone has to test the quality of the pinking sheers through multiple layers, after all. So I did a tri-fold on the wipes:
- With wipe in front of you, short edge facing you, fold the closest edge one-third of the way up the wipe.
- Take a second wipe and place it with one short edge on the folded up edge of the wipe, allowing it to overlap and extend past the fold.
- Back on the first wipe, fold down the short edge farthest away from you to one-third of the way down wipe 2. After you have a big stack going, it’s more obvious where to fold to because it’ll be the same edge every time.
- Fold wipe 2 up a third and repeat from step 2.
- Continue this until your fingers bleed or your stack of wipes is gone. Or at least until you have a good-sized stack to fit in your chosen container.
Step 5: Place wipes in container
This one is pretty obvious, right? You might need to hold down the wipes or close the lid while you’re mixing up your potion/cleaning solution.
Step 6: Prepare cleaning solution
For my cleaning solution, I wanted to steer clear of harsh, toxic chemicals and yet still have decent cleaning power with a fresh scent. Enter my good friends vinegar and essential oils. Some of my wonderful friends (Dee, Elizabeth, and Toni – you’re AWESOME!), gave me a gift of essential oils (purchased from my friend Lydia who is a SimplyAroma consultant and also totally awesome). The tea tree oil I purchased myself at the 3 Rivers Co-op in Fort Wayne.
This cleaning solution was prepared for moist DIY cleaning wipes, however it can also be used in a spray bottle with dry wipes.
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 15 drops tea tree essential oil (or more)
- 10 drops lavender essential oil (or more)
- 15 drops lemon essential oil (or more)
- Boil water and remove from heat. Allow water to cool until it is warm.
- Combine apple cider vinegar, water, and essential oils.
- Poor over prepared wipes (or into spray bottle, if you prefer to not use moist wipes).
- Clean! Works great on mirrors, counters, floors, showers, tubs, etc. - and you can still breathe when you're cleaning without scarring your lungs!
Step 7: Pour solution over wipes
Alternatively, you could put your solution in a spray bottle and leave the wipes dry. I prefer the moist wipes. My husband isn’t a big fan of the vinegar smell and would probably prefer that I did the spray bottle option, but he mostly lets me get away with all this healthy living stuff without too much whining since he’s lost over 110 pounds using my crazy ideas…
Step 8: Pretty up that wipe box
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of the baby wipe box look. For one thing, it looks like throw away stuff and I don’t want my kids or husband or visitors thinking they can just throw away my wipes. Plus it’s not the prettiest color and hello – new house, needs pretty color. Enter WipesWraps from CleverRelish! I received samples to try of the WipesWraps because I’m on the Boom Team (yay!) and I really love them. There are several patterns from which you can choose (I asked them to surprise me and I love the ones I received!) and the prices are totally reasonable. The wraps just pop over the top of your wipe box and voilà – a totally new, totally adorable box that is not the unsightly old wipe box everyone has on their shelf. Or everyone with kids in diapers, whatever. For more about the wraps, check them out here. Oh – and don’t forget to pull the first wipe up out of the container!
Step 9: Clean
Now if you ask me, this is the hardest step of all. But alas, it must be done. I’ve used these cleaning wipes for cleaning in the kitchen – counters, sink, stove, you name it; the bathroom – counters, floors (I may have gotten a little wild with my henna hair dye), shower, tub, mirror, sink; myself – wiping off my skin (henna hair dye strikes again!); surfaces like doorknobs and light switches, etc. The list goes on. They’re easy to grab, wipe, and toss into a wet bag that I use for collecting them (after a week or so I decided to do this…) until laundry day. Super easy, super green, super awesome!