They’re cheap, appealing and easy to find. Store-bought disinfected wipes might be convenient, especially when the buyer reads that they kill 99.9% of germs on surfaces. I can see how, during cold and flu season, that might be considered a lifesaver. However, what the package does not say is that most store-bought disinfectant wipes are filled with harmful chemicals and carcinogens, and that we are exposed to them when we use these products. These chemicals have been linked to triggering asthma, allergies and other health concerns.
So, first, some exposure to living bacteria is good for us and can help boost our immune system. However, overuse of disinfectants can lead to “superbugs,” or bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and chemicals. But I do from time to time disinfect my home, especially after my kids have been sick or after playdates. The difference is that I do not use chemicals; instead, I make my own disinfectant wipes that are chemical free, inexpensive and reusable, so I eliminate waste since we try to live a zero-waste life.
For my wipes and for all-over cleaning of my house, I like to use essential oils like thieves’ oil and lemon oil, which kills bacteria — and, as a bonus, they smell good. Here is a link to how to make your own thieves oil blend. Other suggested essential oils to use would be tea tree or lavender, which are disinfectants. I use rags that are cut up old t-shirts but you also can use washcloths, cut up towels, scraps of fabric or even paper towels that have been cut in half. I store my wipes in a recycled large mason jar.
Here is my YouTube video on how to make your own disinfectant wipes and recipe is below:
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- ¾ cup distilled water
- 10 drops of Thieves essential oil
- 5 drops of lemon essential oil
Mix all the ingredients in the mason jar and add wipes. Screw lid on, and shake and turn jar upside down to make certain all wipes get soaked. Once you are all out of wipes, just make a new batch with washed wipes. If there is any liquid left, you can save it and use it for the new batch.