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The Damsel loves cleaning wipes, especially for those oogie jobs. It’s always going to be cheaper and greener to use a cloth that can be washed and reused, but sometimes you don’t wanna. Cleaning wipes have become hugely popular, and some people keep a container of them in every room. They’re pretty nice for a quick, easy cleanup.

But they ain’t cheap. So here’s how you can make your own, and take away some of that guilt. The Damsel is all about guilt reduction.

First you need a roll of paper towels and a container. The Damsel used a leftover empty wipes container. When she looked at its size, she noticed a new roll of paper towels would be too big. The half-used roll in her kitchen ended up being the perfect width to slip into this container.


Cut the roll in half. If you have an electric knife, so much the better. If not, a serrated bread knife works, but it takes patience. Persevere, darling readers, and you will conquer.


The Damsel had thoughts of her Knight’s Saws-All (name a power tool: he has it) but forced herself to keep sawing. (Keep the other half for a refill)


Slip the paper towels into the container. Someone told the Damsel it’s best to put the cut side up, but she can’t figure out why it would matter.


Pour a cleaning solution over the towels to saturate. You can customize your cleaning solution: vinegar and water would be cheap and good; bulk-purchased Lysol type stuff; window cleaner, you decide. The Damsel discovered it takes less than she thought it would.


When it’s wet, you can now take out the inner cardboard tube if you want. This step is optional, but if you do, you can then have the towels feed from the center, making your homemade wipes even more like the store-bought ones. If you care. When the Damsel did this, the cardboard tube came apart and she had to fish it out in a few pieces, but everything turned out okay in the end.


Over time, your wipes may dry out (hey, just like the store-bought ones!). In that case you can just pour a little more solution in.

The Damsel figures she used 1/4 of a roll of paper towels and maybe 1/2 cup of cleaning solution for a total cost of somewhere less than fifty cents. Yay!

Lots of people have used a similar method to make their own baby wipes. Just don’t put Lysol in those! Google it up for recipes on baby-bum-friendly solutions.

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  • Oh I LOVE this idea!

    I also love a good Sawzall…….

    • damsel

      lol…rrrrrRRRRRRRRRrrrr powerrrrrr toolzzzz

  • Sande Nascimento

    how awesome!

  • Do the paper towels hold up fairly well even though they’re damp? I worry that I’ll try to pull one out of there and I’ll come away with only a tiny shred.

    • damsel

      Good question! They hold up pretty well unless you’ve used the ultra cheapo paper towels. The thicker the paper towels, the better they’ll hold up. You gotta walk that line between cost and effectiveness.

      • Michelle

        I tried this with good thick
        Viva paper towels and they just fell apart.  I may have gotten them too wet.  Any suggestions?

        • Anonymous

          Michelle, so sorry this didn’t work very well for you. When I tried it with cheap paper towels they definitely fell apart. I haven’t tried the Viva brand. I just got a package of Bounty since I heard that kind works well. Gotta put that together now.

          • keri

            I use those blue garage paper towels … they work amazingly 

            • thedamselindisdress

              I’ve been going to try those blue towels. Thanks for the heads up. Margot (The Damsel)

            •  I am headed out to get some right now! Great idea, thanks for sharing.

        • Heather

          I use Viva for baby wipes and they hold up really well, maybe you used too much liquid?  I do know if you try to add more liquid to the paper towels they will kind of shrivel up, I tried that with the wipes.  

  • Erica

    What a cool idea! Love it!

  • Janine

    Are you cutting those paper towels on your hardwood floor?

    • damsel

      eek! Now I see that’s what it looks like. That’s actually my kitchen table…and I am being careful to not cut through to the table. 🙂

  • Hel

    Uh… hello!!! This is totally something that I could do without feeling too crunchy (not that there’s anything wrong with being crunchy). Thanks so much for the post!.

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  • You are so smart. do you have a PhD in smartness? And brilliant posts? And useful tidbits? I love you to pieces!

  • Mia

    Wow, you can make anything! Thanks for this demonstration/tip.

  • Andy

    What a great idea! Gonna give it a go 🙂

  • grammy

    I used something similar for diaper wipes when my kids were little.  I used mineral oil as the moistness.  If you use white paper towels they are really, really cheap.  Great idea!

  • I did it with Coffee Filters

    • Anonymous

      That sounds like a good idea. Did the coffee filters hold up pretty well?

    • elli

      I’m interested to know how the coffee filters held up too, please

  • Hrat4376

    The coffee filters do hold up very well. 🙂

  • What kind of paper towels do you use?  I buy a generic brand from Aldi and I wonder if they’d work OK.

    • Anonymous

      I haven’t had good luck with cheap towels…they fall apart. I have used Bounty and liked it…also, people have told me coffee filters work great!

  • Very creative, as always!

  • My babywipes always molded, but cleaning wipes shouldn’t, depending on the solution.

    • if you use an antibacterial such as lavender or tea tree oil, it should help with keeping the mold situation at bay. =)

      • thedamselindisdress

        perfect solution!
        Margot (The Damsel)

  • thenightangel23

    i am going to give this a whirl in the near future cause i am one of them ones that is addicted to lysol wipes.And another penny in my pocket is all the better from the savings here….thanks for sharing 

    • Anonymous

      Great! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Tez

    when I was radioactive after my isotope treatments, I used this method to clean up, it was wonderful!  I was weak and sick and couldn’t manage much, but pulling a lysol soaked paper towel out of the container to wipe everything I touched after a potty run, I could totally do.  Worth it!
    I used Kirkland brand paper towels and they didn’t shred.  I used a “green” brand and they shredded.  I think the amount of recycled material or post consumer material, in the towel, makes a difference to how well they stand up.

    • Anonymous

      Great tips. Hope you are feeling better now!

    • dy

      Most green paper items are made to break down easily and safe for the environment.

  • Regnidemom

    Great idea!  Thanks

  • StaplerThePaper

    Never thought of it..Anyway, you’re brilliant! Our diaper wipes always get waste in the thrash..

  • Melissa

    I used a very sharp NON-serrated knife to cut the paper towels – it keeps you from getting all the little bits of paper.  

    • Anonymous

      I’ll try that next time! Thanks.
      Margot (The Damsel)

  • Keena

    I don’t get the coffee filters for this project. Can you explain please.

    • Anonymous

      I personally haven’t tried using coffee filters. But people say they hold up better because of their thick texture. I don’t picture it working as well in an old wipes jar because they wouldn’t fit that well…you’d have to find some container that will close tightly, put the filters in, and then pour the cleaning solution over them. Let me know if you try it!
      Margot (The Damsel)



  • I have made baby wipes using this same system. I used Bounty and Viva paper towels as they were strong enough to not fall apart, and an rubbermaid container that fit the Bounty rolls when first opened. The amount of liquid needed was 1 3/4 cups. I liked adding lavender essential oil (good for baby’s skin=no rash) and a drop of tea tree oil to keep the wipes from getting a mildewy smell. I discovered that putting the cut side up prevents the layers in the roll from getting “off.” I don’t know any other way to explain it, but when the layers are “off” from each other, the edges where the towels tear don’t align. That is why to put cut side up! 🙂

  • Megan Ashe

    I do make my baby wipes like this and I have a few pointers, you should use just under 2 cups of the cleaner you choose. The Bounty select A size towels work good, I saw a new commercial for cloth like paper towels, I bet those would work best I will be getting them when I need to make a new batch of baby wipes. They do work great! The girls in my house use my wipes as make up remover, works amazing and no harsh chemicals, just baby soap and some Vitamin E! Also we use the whole roll of paper towels, its cut in half but we use the whole roll, just squeeze it into the container, my container is small also you wouldnt think they’d fit but they do!

  • wendy

    what’s the cleaning solution?

    • thedamselindisdress

      In the post, it says you can use any solution you like…vinegar and water is cheap, or google homemade cleaners…there are so many. Or even use purchased Lysol type cleaner since it doesn’t take very much. Hope it works for you!

  • G-Mama

    I’ve been using the coffee filters for disinfectant wipes for sometime. They are great and hold up very well. Think next time I’ll buy the larger ones. I bought 100 filters, a bottle of Lysol that makes 5 gallons and a container for the wipes for a grand total of $3 at $Tree. I pulled the filters apart, stacked them in the Betty Crocker resealable bowl, added a couple tablespoons liquid Lysol to a cup and half of water and poured it over. They smell so lemony fresh when you use them. Have a container in every bathroom and kitchen. I’ve tried paper towel, Bounty & Viva, but I like the filters best.

  • G-Mama

    Awesome site, thank you for all the info and great ideas.