How to make your own disinfectant wipes at home — safely and easily

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, disinfectant wipes just haven't been on store shelves in months. But you can make your own wipes at home. This is the simplest and safest way to do it.

The National Capital Poison Control Center's Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor says you should start with regular household-strength bleach; 5 tablespoons will treat about a gallon of water. Use a zip-close gallon plastic bag, such as a freezer or storage bag, so that it is easy to measure and you can see what it is.

"Putting the solution in like a coffee jar or a Pringles can or something like that, that might be mistaken by somebody else as a food product and they might try to eat it," Johnson-Arbor says.

Make sure that the bleach that you're using isn't the kind that is splash-less, you want bleach that actually disinfects. Check the label for the ingredients, which may include sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide.

"It will kill coronavirus and all the other bad stuff that we don't want to be exposed to," Johnson-Arbor says. 

Tear or cut paper towels to the size that you want them and then stick them in your bag.

"So it's really important to follow the recipe exactly how it's written," Johnson-Arbor says. Make sure to keep your animals and kids away from toxic chemicals, too.

"Definitely be careful with animals and young children," Johnson-Arbor says. "They are inquisitive by nature and they will certainly explore."

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any mix you make of your own disinfectant wipes will remain effective for only about 24 hours. After that, you need to make a new batch.

If someone swallows or gets the mixture in their eyes, contact a poison control center immediately: 

National Capital Poison Control Center | 800-222-1222 |

NYC Poison Control Center | 212-POISONS (212-764-7667)


  • 1 gallon water
  • 5 tablespoons household bleach
  • Zip-close plastic bag (gallon-size)
  • Paper towels

Directions: Dilute 5 tablespoons of bleach in 1 gallon of water in a zip-close bag. Add separated sheets of paper towels to the bag and close. Let towels soak. Use within 24 hours. (Discard any unused towels and bleach solution after 24 hours.)

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