Cleaning

I’ll Wipe the Floor With You!

I am always looking for ways to clean my home quicker and easier. One time saving solution is Clorox or Lysol cleaning wipes. I have used these before and really liked them, but they were just too expensive for me to keep buying. So I decided to investigate making my own at home. I have looked into this several times, but I’ve never actually made them until today. Here is the supply list:

Homemade Cleaning Wipes, from Organized Home

Supplies Needed:
Round plastic food storage container, 10 cup capacity
Extra large roll of quality, durable paper towels
2-4 cups cleaning solution (see below)
Electric drill with ½ inch drill bit
Electric knife
Measuring cups

Cleaning solution options (each makes approximately 3 cups):

General surface cleaning:
1 ½ cups vinegar
1 ½ cups water

Disinfectant cleaning:
¼ to ½ cup pine cleaning solution, such as Pine Sol
2 ½ to 2 ¾ cups water

Window & glass cleaning:
½ cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
2 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon vinegar

The supply list meant I needed to go to the store. I had to stop by the grocery store last night anyway to pick up a few things so I decided to get the supplies I needed for this project as well. I began with the container. My grocery store did not have a round, 10 cup capacity container. Arg. I really did not want to go to another store, so after examining all large round containers, I settled on a 7 cup capacity Ziploc brand.

Next up was cleaning solution. Originally I was not going to go the Pine Sol route, as I wanted to make everything at home including the solution. In the end though I decided to try the Pine Sol so I picked up a 48oz bottle of Orange Energy Pine Sol. I figured it would probably smell pretty good.

Finally I need paper towels. I examine all good quality paper towels and opt to go with the Viva Big Roll White (70 ct). They seem really thick and sturdy. I go check out and head home.

This morning I wake up and I am ready to undertake my project. Here are the directions as provided by Organized Home:

“In the garage or workshop area, place a small block of wood beneath the plastic food container lid. Use an electric drill to drill a ½ inch diameter hole in the center of the container lid.

“Without removing paper towel wrapper, use the electric knife to cut the paper towel roll into two shorter rolls. Save the second roll for a refill later. Be patient! It may take up to two minutes to cut through the towel roll and cardboard tube inside.

“Remove the wrapper and place one short paper towel roll inside the plastic food storage container. Using a liquid measuring cup, gently pour the cleaning solution recipes over the top of the paper towel roll.

“Place the lid on the plastic food storage container and allow paper towels to absorb cleaning solution for 4 hours or overnight.

“Open the container. Gently pull the wet cardboard tube from the center of the paper towel roll and discard. Carefully pull the end of the paper towels from the inside where the cardboard roll had been. Thread end of the towels through the hole in the lid and replace the lid.

“Tips: As you use the wipes they will dry out so add more water and/or cleaning solution as necessary.”

The first thing I notice is that half of my paper towel roll is not going to fit in my container since I had to buy a smaller container. So I decide to cut my paper towel roll into thirds instead. I roughly measure the roll and mark off sections with a marker. The other decision I make is to not drill a hole in the lid of my container. Not only do I not know how to operate a drill but I figure not having a hole will help keep my wipes from drying out. Plus how hard is it to open the lid and get one out?

Out comes the electric knife, which I have also never operated before but I figure it can’t be that hard. I snap in the blades and plug it in and start cutting away at the paper towel roll. They weren’t kidding when they said it would take awhile – it does. I finally get all the way through. I am also left with paper towel dust and bits on my kitchen counter.

I grab my 4 cup Pyrex liquid measuring cup. I decide I better make a lot of solution because these paper towels are thick. I put ½ cup of Pine Sol into the measuring cup, then I add water until it is about 3 ½ cups or so. I give it a quick stir then, after placing the short roll into my container, I pour it all over the paper towels.

The first thing I notice is that the paper towels start to separate out a bit. The other thing I notice is that the towels are pulling away from the cardboard tube so I go ahead and pull that out and throw it away. I put the lid on and let it sit for 4 hours.

I came back to them about noon. The moment of truth – will they work? I open up the container and pull out a wipe from the inside of the roll, tearing it off from the rest. The wipe is SOPPING wet. I think I’ve used a little too much cleaning solution. I use it to wipe off my stove and a part of my counter. It works pretty well! I decide to try it out in the bathroom, so I use 3 more wipes to wipe out my bathroom cabinet shelves. They work great except they are really wet so I had to dry off some surfaces with a towel.

The Economics: To make these wipes I spent $2.98 on the Ziploc containers (qty 2), $1.99 on paper towels (70 ct) and $3.27 on a 48 oz bottle of Pine Sol, for a total of $8.24. While at the store last night I checked on the prices of cleaning wipes and jotted down the following: Lysol 80ct wipes – $4.79, Clorox 75 ct wipes – $5.15, Hy-Vee 35 ct wipes – $1.98.

Because my supplies will last for more than one set of homemade wipes and I can reuse the container over and over again, the actual cost of making a 70ct roll of wipes is as follows:

Paper towels – $0.66 (I will get 3 refills from one roll)
Pine Sol – $0.27 (I only used ½ cup from a 48oz bottle)
Total – $0.93! (not including the container)

Even with the container ($1.49 for one) the cost of the wipes is only $2.42.

So is it worth it? A resounding yes from almost every angle. The cost savings is quite significant. When compared to the cheapest 70 ct commercial wipes (two 35 ct Hy-Vee brand for $3.96), the cost savings is $3.03 per roll! I think you could even make these cheaper by buying a generic brand of Pine Sol or by making your own cleaning solution instead. I will definitely continue to use these in the future.

One last thing I would like to point out: It will take you awhile to perfect your own recipe for homemade cleaning wipes. Today I learned that I used way too much cleaning solution so next time around I will reduce the amount. You may like a stronger solution or a different scent. Keep adjusting this and that each time until you get the right formula.

If you decide to try this out please let me know how it goes and share you tips & tricks with the rest of us!

Have a great weekend.

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