Why make your own wet wipes?
We’ve always loved being able to grab a wet wipe when camping.
We use them for quick face washes, body washes when showers aren’t available and for cleaning sticky or muddy hands.
They even get used for cleaning muck off camping gear. But, just think of the waste.
The problem with bought wet wipes and baby wipes…
Most are made of synthetic drain-blocking, non-degrading material.
We’ve found these greener alternatives, but they still all come in plastic packaging.
Ideally, we’d all use a flannel and water, but that’s often not practical on a journey or while camping, and especially when wild camping.
Here’s a little ‘how-to’ video. And see below for the recipe and more information on optional ingredients such as preservatives. Oh, and if you really don’t want to make your own, there are suggestions for the best shop-bought wet wipes.
Our easy recipe for natural, homemade wet wipes
- One kitchen roll, cut in half
- 200g boiling water (distilled is even better)
- 1tsp natural bodywash, liquid soap or shower gel
- 1tsp coconut oil (optional)
- A few drops of essential oil (optional)
- 2g Naticide (optional, see the ‘how long’ section)
- Choose a recycled paper, plastic-free kitchen roll. Thicker will give you stronger wipes, of course.
- Pop your half roll into a sealable box or tub.
- Mix your ingredients and pour onto and around the roll.
- Carefully pull out the central cardboard.
- Find the inside end of the roll and give it a gentle pull. The roll should helpfully unravel from the centre as you need it.
- Keep sealed. And read the section below on keeping your wipes fresh.
This round Lock and Lock container is a good size, but even rectangular and square ones will work.
This kit of washable wipes is a great idea, but does mean you have to be quite disciplined – and be able to wash out the wipes within a few days.
Although it comes with some essential oil, this isn’t a preservative. It’ll only disguise mustiness, so read on for information on keeping your homemade wipes germ-free
How long can I keep my wet wipes?
Around a week. Much longer and you might find they start to smell musty. To give them a longer shelf life, you’ll need to add a preservative.
We use Naticide. It’s is a vegetable-based preservative that smells a little of almond and vanilla. It helps keep microbes from spoiling cosmetics and is often called ‘parfum’ on ingredient lists.
Naticide works widely against Gram+, Gram-, yeasts and moulds. It has COSMOS certification and is Ecocert approved.
IMPORTANT: Sorry to disappoint you, but vitamin E, grapefruit seed oil and citric acid are NOT true preservatives.
Can I add other ingredients?
Absolutely. It all depends on whether you’ll be using your wipes just for faces and bodies, or whether you’ll find yourself wiping the camping table or other gear.
For general gear and household cleaning, you can leave out the oil, and you might select different (or no) essential oils.
For face and body, you could add something nourishing, like the fantastic natural moisturiser squalane (made from olives) or vitamin E
Not making your own?
Here are the best shop-bought biodegradable wet wipes
We’ve long been recommending Aqua Wipes because they’re chemical-free and biodegradable. 99.6% water, plus preservatives and aloe vera. They’ll break down in around 15 days because they’re plastic-free. The packet is plastic, though.
Biodegradable doesn’t mean you should ever chuck them in the wild. They take time to disappear and are just litter meanwhile. Take them home!
Cheeky Panda wipes are made from bamboo with 99% water, apple extract and aloe juice. They take 28 days to disintegrate by 50%.
Mum&You is another contender (plant fibres break down in four to six weeks).