Make Your Own Reusable Cleaning Cloths

I have decided to take up precious counter space in my kitchen with a huge jar of pre-moistened cloths. I want to keep them on the counter to deter my using paper towels for cleaning up. For now, I still buy paper towels made from post-consumer recycled paper; there are some situations that just make them easier, but I rarely use them and I hope the proximity of these cloths will make me even less likely to do so. 

Choose the recipe that best fits your cleaning needs. Castile soap cuts grease like nobody's business, so it's marvelous for the kitchen. But if you are mostly cleaning glass or shiny surfaces, I'd make the vinegar version for a streak-free finish. You can play with the essential oil ingredients as well. For example, eucalyptus oil would be a great substitute for tea tree oil if you prefer its scent; they have similar antibacterial properties. I actually had lavender castile soap, so I simply left out the lavender essential oil. Use distilled water if you don't think the cloths will be used within a week, otherwise they might get funky. I'd like to use tap water next time, so I'll monitor how quickly I use these.

Buy some cloths if you need to (in the end, this will be better than using paper towels). However, I'm sure most of you have rags (cut up t shirts, old washcloths, fabric pieces) around the house to use. Cotton works best. 

Use the jar of your choice but it will have to be pretty big unless you reduce the recipe. I actually doubled the recipe to accommodate the enormous jar I used. Since I didn't even fill it up, I'll probably switch to a less enormous one next time. 

Whatever version and size you choose to make, the main goal is to reduce paper towel usage. Even if you buy recycled paper towels, a lot of energy goes into creating them. And then you probably throw them away (although you can compost them), which leads to even more energy usage. Recycling old fabric into reusable cleaning cloths is the better way to go. The ingredients you buy will make many rounds of cloths and you can launder them within a load of items you are already washing (like towels). 



  • 3 cups water (use distilled for longer than a week's use)
  • 3 tablespoons castile soap
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil 
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil 
  • 6 small cloths or rags


  • 2 cups water (use distilled for longer than a week's use)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil 
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil 
  • 6 small cloths or rags


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  1. Combine the ingredients in a large tight-sealing jar.
  2. Place the cloths in the jar, pressing them down into the liquid. Depending on the size of the cloths, you may need to add more water/vinegar.
  3. Close the lid on the jar.
  4. Use the cloths as needed.
  5. Launder dirty cloths in the wash and repeat the process as necessary. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy anything through the link (it doesn't change the amount you pay). I only include products that I believe in, that I would use myself, or think might be of interest to you. 

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