Gentle Cleansing Facial Wipes

Make your own anti-aging and acne fighting facial wipes for cheap! Easy and saves a ton of money.

Raise your right hand if you’re guilty of sleeping with your makeup on. Yes, I’m looking at you.

Don’t lie to me. Remember that one time you were out with that one guy and you didn’t get home until that one hour and you were so utterly exhausted that you collapsed into bed without a thought of cleansing that mug of yours? Or maybe it crossed your mind, but you couldn’t bring yourself to wipe off something that those outrageously sweet lips had just kissed? See? You’re totally guilty.

But don’t worry, I’m guilty too. And for me, that one guy is my husband. Thankfully, our hours of sleep have grown since the days of late night pre-marriage dating, so my excuses for lacking in the facial washing department have dwindled. I think mostly I’m just lazy now.

I’ve always loved the idea and ease of facial cleansing wipes, but the cost has been a major damper. $8 for a months worth of wipes? Ain’t no room for that in this grocery budget.

Enter my recent discovery of a fabulous homemade version.

This cleansing recipe is soothing and invigorating and gentle and cleansing all at the same time. I’m seriously in love.

Ingredients for Homemade Cleansing Facial Wipes

Homemade cleansing facial wipes. Only 4 ingredients and waaaaay cheaper than the store bought stuff. I hate putting all of those chemicals on my skin, so this stuff has been a lifesaver.

2 cups distilled water*
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or fractionated coconut oil
5 drops Malealuca essential oil
5 drops Grapefruit essential oil
Optional: Few drops of vitamin e or aloe*
Old, clean t shirt or towel

*Note: It is important to use distilled water to prevent bacteria growth. I did not use any optional add-ins because I didn’t have them at the time, so they are not included in my cost breakdown.

Directions for Making Homemade Cleansing Facial Wipes

Cut up an old clean t shirt or towel into small squares. I cut mine to be a bout 2”x 2”. Set aside. Pour the melted or fractionated coconut oil in a large bowl. Add essential oils and vitamin e/aloe if using, and stir to combine. Add distilled water and mix again.

Lay your cut squares in the bowl to soak up the solution and then transfer to a jar of choice to store. Pour any remaining solution over towels. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator if you’d like a nice and cool little experience removing your makeup. Use like any other regular facial cleansing wipes.

Here are my cut towels soaking up the solution in the bowl, before putting them in my jar:

Cleaning Wips bowl PM

I really love the choice of essential oils in this recipe. The grapefruit oil fights acne and helps infuse aging skin with all sorts of anti-aging goodness, and the tea tree oil cleanses and soothes.

It’s super easy to throw the used wipes in a pillow case or other washable bag and wash like you would any other normal towels. That way, they’re easy to keep track of in the washer/dryer.

Cost Breakdown for Homemade Cleansing Facial Wipes:

Distilled Water: $0.11 (A gallon of distilled water at my local grocery store is $0.88.)
Coconut Oil: $0.14 (I buy my large container of coconut oil at Costco for about $22.)
Maleluca Oil: $0.38
Grapefruit Oil: $0.30

Total Cost: $1.23

My local Target sells Neutrogena Cleansing Pink Grapefruit Facial Wipes for $6.99, so that’s an 82% savings!!! Homemade for the win again!60 Comments

Gentle Cleansing Facial Wipes was last modified: February 24th, 2017 by Jenny

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  1. Michele Service says:

    Love the idea of making the Facial Cloths! Thank you so much. (Yes, I have been known to leave my make-up on overnight…oops!) Since I have just signed up as a doTerra Essential Oils consultant, I appreciate the opportunity to learn about all of the recipes for homemade cleaners, cleansers, etc. My ONLY suggestion to your Facial Cloths post would be to zig-zag or serge stitch the edges of the toweling pieces once they are cut into squares; otherwise they will fall apart in your washer and make quite a mess in the dryer (or inside of your pillowcase).

    • Melissa says:

      I’m a seamstress with 25+ years under my belt and wanted to chime in to say if you’re using knit fabric (which is what a t-shirt is), then they won’t fall apart. Only woven fabrics fray, tho serging the edges wouldn’t cause harm, the cloths just won’t be as soft as they are without serging.

      • Michele Service says:

        Very true–thanks. I was thinking about cutting up old towels or washcloths because I prefer that texture over washing with knit fabric. I’m ordering my oils today and already have everything else ready to go! Thank you again! Love your site! 🙂

  2. Kelly Madden says:

    Such a great post!! Does it need to be grapefruit oil or can you use a different oil in place of it?

  3. I love how you’re always coming up with something and sharing it with all of us. I love Burts Bees facial cleansers but they’re pricey and the grapefruit ones do NOT remove all my eye makeup like their original scent do, but I’d love not to spend $7-8 a month on them! Thanks!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Wouldn’t the grapefruit burn your skin?

    • Michele Service says:

      I’m ordering my oils today so I can make some according to the recipe above (will try to let you know how they turn out), but my thought is that 5 drops of grapefruit oil will be diluted because of the 2 cups of distilled water and the tablespoon of coconut oil. I’m looking forward to having a jar of these sitting on my counter–always ready to be used! 🙂

    • Be careful using citrus oils on skin that is exposed to sunlight. It can cause phototoxicity which makes your skin super sensitive to UV and burn. I use alot of grapefruit oils in my lotions because it helps so well with cellulite but once summer is here and my skin is exposed ill have to stop using it for a while. Im a medium skinned readhead…

  5. Fantastic idea!!! Are these makeup cleanser pads safe and able to remove eye makeup? TY!

  6. Thanks for the recipe. I may tweak it for my own skin problems, but that is why using essential oils is so great. There are so many to choose from!

  7. Melissa says:

    You can buy packs of very small, soft washcloths in the baby section if you want to use inexpensive pre-made cloths. A pack of four is usually around $1.

    • Michele Service says:

      That’s a good idea, thanks! I commented above to Karrie (our hostess here) that I’m not a fan of using t-shirts for face cloths–I prefer the texture of a washcloth.

  8. Great idea! I’m wondering if you had any issues with the coconut oil hardening however. Thanks!

    • The tea tree and grapefruit oil dilute the coconut. As long as you keep it at room temp it won’t harden!

  9. Simply using distilled water is not going to prevent bacterial growth. After you add the other products, put your hands in and out to get the cloths and open to the air, you will have bacteria in there…..

    • Barbara McKinley says:

      Tea Tree essential oil is antibacterial……

    • Sherry Caley says:

      I agree with Terri. First let me say, I’m not a scientist, but I do make my own lotions and I sell handmade soap. Please do your research before you make a product that’s absorbed into you skin.
      You need to add Optiphen Plus or Optiphen to any water based product. (I haven’t made this, so I don’t know the PH). Tea Tree oil is antibacterial, and can reduce the amount of preservative, but not replace it unless you have the correct percentages. For Tea Tree to be effective it needs to be at least 5% or more.
      Also, there’s nothing in the instructions about spraying your bowl, hands, equipment, etc with alcohol to sanitize everything before you start.

  10. Love this! been looking for a more natural alternative to the chemicals and even though I wear little to no makeup its still nice to have something moisturizing to swipe on my face for a bit of extra moisturizing

  11. Isn’t tea tree oil naturally antibacterial? Coconut oil is too, I believe. I think as long as you use them up quickly, wash your hands before you dig in, not make a humongous batch and not have them sitting around for months and months then you shouldn’t have a problem. Karrie-thanks for the blog, fun to read even if I may never may be a homesteader 😉 maybe one day-sigh…thanks for info, even if I don’t actually try all of your ideas and live vicariously thru you, ie…making your own lye, 500 freezer meals in one day ;-), making a coat or something? for the chickens to wear?, etc…surely things to be admired and tried! Love it all and LOVE reading your adventures!

  12. Dot Liverman says:

    I tried this recipe tonight adding a few drops of vitamin E. It took 7 swipes across my whole face before the white cloths no longer showed traces of the makeup I had put on 15 hours earlier. After this many time of wiping, my face was very red and irritated. Unfortunately, I had to throw the whole mixture out. Now I am trying to calm the redness and burning of my face before going to bed.

  13. I don’t like the Neutrogena Cleansing Pink Grapefruit Facial Wipes, do you think using Lavender EO will be a good alternative?

  14. Jaime D says:

    Has anyone had issues with the towel smelling like an old wet towel after a few days?

    • That’s because there is bacteria with out a preservative. Oil and water cause bacteria unless you add a preservative. It’s a bacteria you can’t see it’s the naked eye.

  15. Hi there! I’m more and more looking for clean diy help with everything! I am a young living consultant and have been looking for recipes for facial cleansers as well as facial moisturizers. This seems to be a 2 in 1 kind of deal. My question is this: how is it a facial cleanser without the soap? Is it actually cleaning your face? I do hope so! Is this all you use for cleansing AND moisturizing? Thanks for the help. LOVE your blog!!

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      Hi, Mandi! Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial, antifungal, moisturizing and, according to research, great for atopic dermatitis. The grapefruit oil fights acne and the tea tree oil cleanses and soothes. So I wanted to try it out as a cleanser and it worked well for me! For the most part this is all I need but if my face is feeling dry occasionally I will add some extra moisturizer afterwards. 🙂

  16. A few comments in response to some of the above concerns.
    1. If you get any redness, some Rosewater on a cottonball will soothe it. Plus, your not supposed to scrub your face with it.
    2. It’s a facial cleanser the same way store bought face wipes are, it serves it’s purpose as a quick fix but not meant to be used as your morning and night face washing routine (tho it would still be better than store bought facial cleanser any day). And even for that I just use raw organic honey or an oatmeal mixture (a few other wet and dry ingredients that can be listed if anyone’s curious) and follow that, every other day or every 3 days, with a baking soda exfoliation.
    3. And in regards to the rags, t-shirts or towels, cutting them up, to sew or not to sew, smelling like wet towels….you can make the solution and put it in any kind of bottle and just put it on a cottonball or whatever you want to use as needed. That way you wont have to worry about any bacteria from your hands getting into it from having to stick them in or any of the rag/towel/t-shirt “problems”.

    This isn’t a strict science. You know what will and will not work with your skin and/or your routine. And if you don’t, you will after getting more involved with the wonderful world of natural beauty and cleaning recipes. If you’re really interested in this stuff it’s always a good idea to do your own research. If only for your own knowledge….plus it’s super fun and very interesting (and addictive) once you get into it. And use common sense. Before long, you’ll be comfortable enough to create your own recipes and use the ideas on this and other natural sites as a guideline and inspiration. Have fun with it, making this stuff is only half the fun. The other half is educating yourself on EO’s and other ingredients you can use, benefits to your skin, purposes they serve within the recipe, the numerous things you CAN use and knowing all of the symptoms they relieve, is the other half 🙂

  17. Michelle B says:

    This is such a great idea! I’m looking for a DIY after-workout wipe recipe. They have these great wipes you can use to freshen up after a lunch time workout before heading back to the office, but they are SO expensive! Would love ideas how to translate this kind of wipe into something for post-workout!
    Michelle B

  18. Thanks for sharing the idea.. Wash your face twice a day (no more) with warm water and a mild soap made for people with skin issues..If you can do that may be facial wipes of tea tree oil is best for you.

  19. Hi there! I just tried this recipe, with a few tweaks. I used regular boiled water, for one, which is only because I was antsy and didn’t have distilled. Next time I do it, I plan to use distilled. This is a trial run to see if I even like it in the first place. I did, however, use vitamin E which should help a little for the distilled water issue. Also because I only had a 20% tea tree oil solution, and very little of it left, I just used the whole bit in the recipe. It was only somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of it left. Lastly, I used lavender essential oil which is also helps with acne. After cutting up a large white T-shirt (I like the fact that it’s white because I can actually see the dirt lift off), I soaked them and placed them all in a jar. Then I began to use them, and wow, they are wonderful for my kind of skin (combination). They cleanse while at the same time moisturizing, but not too much. My skin feels amazing after using it. After reading the comments, I see a bunch of people said the T-shirts started to stink after a few days. If that happens to me, I’ll likely do what others suggested and leave the solution in a separate bottle and apply to the wipes as needed. So far, I really like this though. I’ll update you in a few days with my experiences throughout the week.

  20. I love the cleansing solution but did not like using towel squares. The toweling left little bits of fiber on my face so I thought I would use t-shirts but was afraid the edges would curl. I ended up knitting 14 2-inch squares using cotton yarn. Works great!!

  21. Just made them today love them. I used the baby wash cloths from dollar tree there the perfect size. The two cups of water is a bit much for my jar so next time I may adjust or add more cloths. I did add lemongrass to it but just two drops. It helps prevent break outs and help them clear up faster. I put a drop in my face wash if I start breaking out really bad. These got all my makeup off which my remover won’t. I use a avon mascara that’s main thing is it won’t come off easy and it doesn’t.

  22. Huge fan. Used them a week and loved how my skin felt. One problem… the rags are starting to sour. I followed the measurements exactly. I keep mine in a jar with a lid. Thoughts?

    • Joni Ermeta says:

      Yes put the cleanser in a pump bottle or squeeze bottle and keep your little cloths dry until ready to cleanse face. which will work better if you travel as well. i have read where people still buy their normal cleanser for traveling. I f you keep cleanser separate from cloths and use a spill/leak proof container……bing bang boom Bobs your uncle and head off to Tahiti!!!

  23. I bought small infant wash cloths at my local dollar store. 3 pack for $1.00. So for 2 or 3 dollars you’ll have a a weeks worth of small size towels to use, no fraying, no surging needed. Definately worth the investment.

  24. I have been using coconut and other oils to cleanse my face; however, I’m having an issue with laundering the washcloths I use for this. Any tips? I’ve tried soaking them in hot bleach water with dish soap and baking soda, but the oils are still embedded and they have the smell of the oils as well. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  25. This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. I love using cleansing wipes but I don’t love how wasteful they are, this looks like the perfect solution! I’ll give it a go soon 🙂 Thanks!

  26. I gave up using soap on my face 8 years ago. I switched to olive oil. It melts away my make up without any scrubbing at all. I place a warm wash cloth over my face first to open the pores, then massage the oil all over, including my eye lids and lips. Then gently wipe with a re-warmed wash cloth. No scrubbing. Once a week I exfoliate with a mix of olive oil and brown sugar. My skin feels soft, clean and refreshed every day, and never feels dry. I’m considering switching to coconut oil now after reading about its benefits plus since I travel a lot, it would make it a much better traveling companion.

    • Donia65 says:

      Mary, you are doing the same routine I do! My skin feels so much softer since giving up soap, and the oil and sugar scrubs are not only soothing but delicious on the lips lol (I use sesame oil and sugar).

    • First of all, 9-10 people don’t have real olive oil. It’s the biggest rip off today. Made mostly of canola oil. Unless you are paying a lot of money and get it from California you aren’t using olive oil. Even the imported stuff is the most counterfeited kind.

  27. Hey!!
    This is awesome! I’m definitely going to be making these tonight. My question is… Instead of using old t shirts, or towels (which I can’t use on my face)… Would this work with those square cotton pads (or the circular ones) that you can get at the store for $1-$2 for 200 of them?

    Thank you!
    Heather Lynn

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      I haven’t tried using those before in this recipe. My only concern is I wonder if they would dissolve after a couple days. If you try it out let me know what you think.

    • Using those circular cotton pads is a great idea if you make the solution and keep it separate! I’m traveling in 18 days and was just wondering how I could make this work without having to worry about laundering the washcloths. Thanks!

  28. I was wondering if there is a way to keep the coconut oil in liquid form without having to heat it each time I want to use it. I live in Upstate New York and winters are pretty cold and so far this summer it hasn’t been very warm. At least not warm enough to keep the coconut from becoming solid. My house doesn’t get to be 76 degrees inside anytime of the year. I LOVE the cleanser and my daughter’s and my faces haven’t been this acne clear in a long time. Right now I have the cleanser in a water bottle (plastic) that I dab with a cotton ball to use. I don’t want to add anything that will take away from the great recipe. If there’s something that I can add that will keep the coconut oil liquid and add to the cleansing power, I’d try it. I’m new to the use of essential oils. As a matter of fact the first time I ever used essential oils was when I made your recipe for the powered laundry detergent (which I love also).

  29. This is similar to the recipe that I use. Instead of towels, t-shirts or rags I use cotton circles. I do use my face wipes 2x daily and LOVE them!!

    My recipe:
    3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
    1 Tablespoon Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade & Organic Castile Liquid Soap
    2 Cups Distilled Water
    1/4 tsp Tea Tree Oil
    you can also brew Green Tea or Chamomile Tea in your water for added health benefits

    on my next batch I am going to lessen the amount of water to make it more concentrated and put it in a pump bottle instead of soaking the solution in with the cotton circles.

  30. Heather says:

    Without using a preservative this will
    Not stay safe for long. Without refrigeration I wouldn’t keep it more than a few days. Tea tree oil alone will not keep it from growing bacteria or mold and your solution can be clear and still contain 100,000 cfu in a ml so clarity and order alone are not enough to check these

  31. The tea tree oil is in fact antibacterial but in order to use it to inhibit bacterial growth you would have to use extremely high concentrations which would be very harmful to the skin. Please do your research, ladies.

  32. I just cut some sleeves off of some tshirts and was trying to think of how to repurpose them. I also need to work on my evening routine of removing my makeup, so thank you for both! I can’t wait to set this up and add it to my routine! Thank you!

    Erin |

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