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Keep it simple and clean with natural, homemade cleansing face wipes

Early fall can be a hectic time of year, with school starting up, new schedules to adjust to, and unpredictable weather like the one-off 80° days we'll have. Sometimes, when you’re stuck in after-school traffic after working and running errands all day, you really just want to wash your face!

Unfortunately, until we all have driverless cars equipped with bathrooms, face wipes are our best option in those moments. While it’s convenient to grab a pack from the store, it’s hard to know how they’re going to affect your skin, and even the natural brands have a frighteningly long list of ingredients.

It takes about 10 minutes to make these homemade wipes and you can be confident that they’re right for your skin!

This DIY for cleansing face wipes is quick and super accommodating to your needs, preferences, and resources! You can customize the essential oils to your preference and to make wipes that are a bit more baby- and kid-friendly.

If your skin doesn’t require or benefit from a whole lot of moisturizing, you may want to use slightly less oil for your face wipes, or use a mixture of two or more to compound the benefits. Following this formula using coconut oil and lavender and tea tree essential oils would make an excellent antimicrobial and calming wipe for babies’ bottoms



To make 1 container of DIY wipes, you’ll need:

  • 1 roll of heavy duty and absorbent paper towels OR a good-sized collection of baby washcloths, scrap fleece, etc.

  • a lidded container for your wipes

  • 1 ½ cup distilled or boiled, then cooled, water

  • 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s unscented or “baby mild” is great here)

  • 1 tablespoon pure aloe vera*

  • 1 tablespoon pure witch hazel extract*

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon jojoba oil

  • ½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

  • 10 drops grapefruit essential oil

  • 10 drops geranium essential oil

  • 5 drops lavender essential oil

* If you don’t have either of these ingredients on hand and don’t want to purchase them, you can substitute a witch hazel toner (like the Thayer’s, pictured) that contains both pure aloe and pure witch hazel as well as other clarifying ingredients like grapefruit seed extract.

Cut your paper towel roll in half. A sharp bread knife will work best!

If you’re using an old wipes container to store your DIY wipes, you’ll want to accordion fold the paper towels (or the washcloths or scrap fabric, if you’re going the reusable route) so that they fit and dispense properly. If you’re using a cylindrical container, I recommend something wider than the deli quart pictured.



In a small bowl or 2+ cup liquid measure, combine all of the liquid ingredients. Mix well. It’s important to use distilled water because that will help to prevent bacterial and mold growth on your wipes if it takes you a while to use them up. You could also keep them in the fridge if you’re worried about it; it'll make them extra refreshing! You can substitute coconut, sweet almond, or extra virgin olive oil for the jojoba based on your preference and what you have on hand.



Insert the half paper towel roll into your container, cut side down if using a cylindrical container, and then on the mixture. It will take a bit for the paper towels to get soaked through, and you may have to pour a little on, let it soak through, and then pour the rest. Cap your container and flip it over to make sure the whole roll gets soaked through. If you’re using a cylindrical container, pull out the cardboard from the middle of the roll. The first paper towel segment wipe should come up with it, and then you’re good to go!


Sarah Carlisle is passionate about learning and making, and spends most of her time in Portland, OR running a creperie, growing food in a cooperative garden, participating in community kitchens, and creating and crafting at home. 

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