Do-It-Yourself Nontoxic Cleaning Wipes

Flickr photo

Flickr photo

Hundreds of chemicals have been found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns, and the lower you go down the socioeconomic scale in this country, the worse it is. How are the bioaccumilative effects of these chemicals affecting us, and worse, how are they affecting our babies?

Women on average are exposed to over 100 synthetic and harmful chemicals every day, just by simply practicing common daily hygiene rituals. Many of these chemicals are linked to breast and other cancers. The exposure to men is lower due to the nature of common hygiene practices for them, but it is most definitely not in the safe zone, either.

According to the EPA, our indoor environment is now at least 2-5 times more toxic than our outdoor environment. But don’t despair — the Environmental Working Group website has a fantastic database to learn more about the products you are using, and to help shape future choices. They have a very easy to understand grading system of products that you can search to get the scoop on what’s in your cabinets.

There are many homemade, extremely inexpensive and effective replacements for most common household and beauty products. And by the way, we are not talking about eliminating these things all at once, cold turkey. We are talking about reduction, or taking baby-steps to a cleaner way of living.

In fact, I’d like to get you started right now. Here is a great recipe for do-it-yourself disposable or reusable cleaning/disinfecting wipes. Enjoy!

All Purpose Cleaning/Disinfecting Wipes


1/2 roll of “select a size” paper towels
1 Cup distilled water
½ Cup distilled white vinegar
½ Cup rubbing alcohol
1 Tbsp. liquid detergent
30 Drops tea tree essential oil

Accordion-fold roughly half the roll of paper towels and place into a gallon size zip top bag, or double the recipe and use the whole roll. Mix the rubbing alcohol and essential oil to emulsify the two ingredients, then add the rest of the wet ingredients together and pour over paper towels. Let sit for a bit so that all of the liquid gets evenly absorbed. DO NOT use paper towels with print. The print will come off on your surfaces as you clean.

For a non-disposable/reusable wipe, cut up old tee shirts into the size wipe you prefer and use in place of paper towels. Place them in a glass canning jar and pour liquid over the top. Cap and store under sinks or close to the areas you typically use them.


Adrienne Cox is founder of Non Toxic U, an organization in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to educating people on ways to reduce toxic chemical exposure in their homes. More information can also be found on her blog.

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