Lazy cleaning

I have to confess that I really don’t like cleaning – I can almost always think of something that I would rather be doing. The only times I was at all enthusiastic about it was when I had an Open University assignment to work on or marking to do! Since I completed my MEd several years ago and I’m no longer teaching and therefore no longer marking, cleaning is now very low on my list of things I spend my time doing. So, I am always looking for ways to make it easier… and to divide it into manageable bits.

Years ago when I first saw single use cleaning wipes advertised I was sorely tempted… but since I generally try to avoid anything that’s single use (apart from toilet paper) I pulled myself together and ignored them. However, the other day I came across a website with instructions for making such wipes… but not disposable ones. Some of the stuff required I already had – suitable wide-necked jars (they originally came with chocolate chips in them), an old sheet (very thin on account of it being about 50 years old) and various essential oils – but there were some other ingredients that had to be purchased – alcohol (apparently wine won’t do), white vinegar (I had run out and balsamic doesn’t work either) and distilled water. So, I placed an order and yesterday everything arrived.


Ready to clean!

It’s very simple, although I adapted the recipe slightly from the original because of the strength of the alcohol I had bought. First you cut up some thin cloths – I used pinking shears and made the pieces 20-25cm square. You place these into a wide-necked jar that will seal well (mine have screw caps). Then you mix together 240ml distilled water*, 120ml white vinegar, 40ml isopropyl alcohol (strength 99.9%) and add essential oils according to your preference (I used 15 drops lavender oil, 10 drops orange oil, 10 drops tea tree oil and 6 drops peppermint oil). Give it a good stir, then pour it into the jar, seal and shake it up.


I split the liquid between two jars – one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. To use, just take a cloth out, squeeze the excess liquid back into the jar, replace the lid and your cloth is good to go. Once you’ve done your cleaning with it, pop it into another container to await washing – I have a third wide-neck jar for this purpose, labelled ‘Used Cloths’ to avoid confusion. I’ve tried using them and they are great – the glass shelf over our sink in the bathroom is positively sparkling!

Most of the time a microfibre cloth and some water or just a few drops of detergent is enough, but these are great for instant use and for jobs where you don’t want to reuse the cloth before it’s washed. I’m not suggesting that these will transform my house, but they will be useful and they don’t produce waste… plus the re-use of the cloth and the jars is all part of my grand declutter.


* Necessary to ensure that the mix is long-lasting… I’m not sure whether boiled water would do the trick too, but I didn’t want to risk it.

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