Thursday, February 2, 2012

DIY Wet Wipes

Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.  I use baby wipes for cleaning tables, hands, faces, floor, whatever.  We go through a lot of them in the art room, but I try to use them sparingly.  The "Dirtiest Baby Wipe" contest works well for conserving wipes. 

On the kids' supply list that they get from their regular teachers is a pack of baby wipes that is supposed to come to me for use during the year.  I think I only put it on one grade level's list, because I don't have the storage for that many (over 800) packs of wipes each year.  But I ran out.  I have run out a couple times since August, actually.  But I usually send out an email and ask for anyone's leftovers, and they turn up randomly at my door the next day.  This time, no.  This time I was plumb out of wipes, AND also plumb out of paper towels in the little holders by the sinks.  The maintenance staff is supposed to refill those as I understand, but it doesn't always happen.  In my room that is a BAAAAD thing. 

So I searched Pinterest and found that you can use decent paper towels (the soft, durable kind) to make your own wet wipes.  It worked great!  I should give most of the credit to my fabulous colleague, whom I will refer to here as "Ms. Squash."  She's the one who figured out how to cut and store the wipes in a coffee can.  Here's what to do:

I dug into my emergency reserve of paper towel rolls, and pulled the cardboard tube out of the center.  Then we used my paper cutter to cut the entire roll in half.  This actually didn't work too well, but since I didn't have a serrated knife at school, it was the best I could do.  If you do this for yourself, at least try a box cutter or an X-acto or somethin'. 

Then I took an empty coffee container with a lid and in the bottom, made a slurry of water, liquid soap, and good old Germ-X.  I then put the halved paper towel roll (without the cardboard tube) into the coffee container, closed the lid, and turned it over.  The liquid soaked the paper towels, and when I opened the container, I was able to pull individual wipes out from the center of the roll just like the Clorox kind.  I tried it once with cheaper paper towels, and they kinda fell apart when they got wet.  I've been told that Viva is the best brand for doing this.  But we used Brawny Basic and they work just fine. 

Lastly, I used my grown up scissors to poke a hole in the lid of the coffee container, and cut out an X for the wipes to slide through.

Omigosh you guys, the paper towel roll cut in half is EXACTLY the right size for a regular coffee container.  The ladies in the teacher work room send me those coffee things all the time, and I use them for various things, but this is now my favorite use.

You could experiment with the amount of water to add to the can, but I found I needed a very small amount to make them damp, not wet.  :)

YAY!  This way I could even customize my liquid mix to include some lovely lavender castille soap, or a little bit of lysol or whatever.  Oh the JOY!


  1. Awesomeness!!! I'm ready to make a batch for our home, but wanted to be sure of the coffee container size. Could you share what size it is?

  2. The container I used was the 2 lb size. :)

  3. I made more today and used a few drops of peppermint oil in there to make them smell nice. The peppermint is supposed to wake you up and help you focus and stay alert. It's nice for my allergies, too.

  4. Thanks For the info! Love the idea of adding essential oils! We love to use citrus smells :)

  5. Love making these for my classroom! You can use an electric knife to cut the paper towel roll in half with the tube inside. After your towels soak for a few hours, the center tube will just pull out. Way easier!

  6. I just can't figure out how much liquid do I use to make them damp and not dripping wet. Can anyone tell me the amt to use? Thanks for the help!

    1. I have only been using a little bit. Probably 2 cups or so per roll.

  7. This is cool. I'm going to try it.
    I HATE it when I'm out of wipes and paper towels. Thankfully I have maintenance on speed dial! :)
    I'm your newest follower. I just started blogging - love for you to check it out.

  8. How do you keep them from drying out? I have that problem with the stupid baby wipes containers they put out now and baby wipes (same thing w/ citrus added) end up being in huge zip lock bags - which now I've discovered (the hard way of course) the cheap ones are IMPOSSIBLE to zip and re-zip. Like I buy zip bags to use once? C'omon manufacturers!!!

    This is brilliant because I won't run out halfway through a project, find a new pack or discover I'm out and cheaper too. I may do some more tweaking. BTW- I'm not an art teacher, just artist-cook-gardener with lots of animals and activities to clean up.