Homemade natural wet wipes for camping – easy recipe

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.

Step-by-step

Here’s our 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)
  1. Choose a recycled paper, plastic-free kitchen roll. Thicker will give you stronger wipes, of course.
  2. Pop your half roll into a sealable box or tub.
  3. Mix your ingredients and pour onto and around the roll.
  4. Carefully pull out the central cardboard.
  5. 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.
  6. Keep sealed. And read the section below on keeping your wipes fresh.
Thanks to Judith H for a note about flushing wipes. Don’t flush even paper wipes down the loo. They don’t break apart as easily as toilet paper and you could get a blockage. 

A refillable wet wipes pack

 
Around £15 for three.  Use these reusable wet wipes pouches when you need to travel light. They’re easy to fill, expand to hold a decent amount and are watertight.
 
 

Lock and Lock containers

This round Lock and Lock container is a good size, but even rectangular and square ones will work. This one is around £5.

Cheeky Wipes – a washable alternative

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.

From £20.

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.

We like to use pure coconut oil for extra moisture and ‘slip’. If you don’t want a coconut scent in your wipes, then choose an odourless culinary coconut oil

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.

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). 

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One Comment

  1. I used to do the same homemade wipes but with a slightly different solution. But now I use a spray bottle from the hardware store, about 750ml – the ones used to mist your plants. Then spray the paper towel and use as a wipe. My recipe for the solution is 10-12 drops of tea tree oil, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, topped up with deionized water. You can also wet a flannel and spray yourself then wipe with the flannel. ED: Great idea, Dave. Thanks so much for sharing.

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