Thanks to mold exposure, I have to steer clear of chemical everything. This isn’t a bad thing however. Chemicals are linked to all kinds of nasty health issues that I don’t want. But sometimes finding truly natural solutions to my former favorite products can be tricky. Take disinfecting wipes for example.
I used to love those disinfecting wipes! They were so convenient for use at work, in the car, and around the house. But then I learned more about what was really in them and pretty much freaked out that I had been using these.
In short, this is why I stopped buying disinfecting wipes.
Disinfecting wipes contain active ingredients that have been found to cause:
- Asthma (e.g., chlorine bleach/sodium hypochlorite, peroxyacetic acid, quats*.)
- Cancer (e.g., ortho-phenylphenol)
- Skin sensitization (e.g., chlorine bleach, pine oil,thymol)
Premoistened disinfecting wipes also contain additional chemicals to prevent bacterial growth. Some of the preservatives used can include parabens, formaldehyde and MI/MCI, (Methylchloroisothiazolinone). All of these chemicals have associated health risks.
No thanks! I will pass on all that.
I decided that I was going to try to create some DIY disinfecting wipes that I would actually use and that would work. It was critical that they were easy to make as well. We’re talking less than 10 minutes of work.
What I can up with is pretty awesome if you ask me. They are budget-friendly, come together in minutes, and work very well. Oh, they also have some ingredients that mold doesn’t like so if you have some rogue mold spores on your surfaces it will capture them as well.
Before we get to my disinfecting wipes recipes, it is important to note that you never want to “over-disinfect.” The overuse of antibacterial cleaners can promote antibacterial-resistant bacteria, aka “super-bugs.”
There is a big difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
You want to simply clean surfaces regularly to remove germs and prevent them from growing or spreading. You want to disinfect surfaces that have contact with raw meat, blood or bodily fluids, and when a family member suffers from a contagious illness, such as the flu.
Looking for an easy DIY all-purpose cleaner? My floor cleaner works on any surface!
Let’s get on with the DIY disinfecting wipes recipe shall we?
- Airtight container (I used an old baby wipes container I had hanging around but a mason jar works great too)
- Paper towels (go with a better brand like Bounty – trust me) or cotton fabric squares (think old t-shirts or fabric cut up)
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar (get 5% concentration as that will kill 80% of germs)
- 1/4 cup isoprophyl alcohol
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 30 drops of your choice of the following essential oils which are known to kill disease causing microbes (you can mix and match or just use one):
- Tea Tree
- If using paper towels, cut the roll of paper towels in half with a sharp knife. Do NOT use a serrated knife. You will have a mess on your hands.
- Put the paper towels cut side down in your container.
- If using cloth, simply place your squares in the container.
- Mix the vinegar, alcohol, water, and essential oils in a bowl or jar. This is your cleaning solution.
- Pour the cleaning solution over the paper towels.
- Remove the cardboard tube if using paper towels.
- Pull out wipes from center to use.
- If they begin to dry out, add more water or cleaning solution as necessary.
The only downside to these DIY disinfecting wipes is their shelf life. This applies to truly natural brands of wipes as well. Without preservatives (and even sometimes with) pre-moistened anything can become a breeding ground for mold. I know this first hands after a diaper wipe fiasco.
Don’t want to make your own wipes? No problem. These brands are totally natural and ones that I would choose to use in my home.
*Disinfecting chemicals often contain a class of substances called quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats”. These chemicals are skin irritants, can irritate your lungs, and have been linked to asthma and reproductive harm.
Quats are under the name:
- n-Alkyl (C14 50%, C12 40%, C16 10%) dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride
- Alkyl C12-18 Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride
- Alkyl C12-14 Dimethylethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride
Sources for this article include: