Homemade No Rinse Body Wipes for Camping

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How to make DIY no rinse body wipes for cleansing head to toe while camping. All you need are paper towels, body wash, and two very popular essential oils.

hand pulling out homemade no rinse body wipes for camping from a plastic storage container

Homemade no rinse body wipes for camping are so simple and easy to make. We carry them along with us on every camping trip.

Whether we're on a shorter weekend trip or a longer trip, these homemade personal wipes come in so handy, especially when a shower just isn't feasible.

Ok, so I can hear you groan, saying, “Ew, gross! No shower!” Let me tell you, I love my showers too; but we rarely shower when we're camping, though I will admit, we do sometimes use our camping shower.

I promise it's not as bad as it sounds, thanks to my handy dandy container of homemade bath wipes.

How Did I Come Up with This Body Wipes Recipe?

We used to make our own homemade baby wipes, so my recipe stems from that. We also love to make our own natural cleaning wipes.

I also noticed a similar body wipes recipe in Melissa Poepping's book, The Chemical Free Home, though my recipe is a little bit different.

And I did a lot of research to come up with this recipe. I really thought about which oils I wanted to use, considering we weren't showering for days at a time, and I knew I wanted us to be able to use these wipes for our hands if we needed them.

So I decided to go with both Tea Tree Oil and Thieves Oil, two of my favorites and both very versatile in the ways they can be used.

homemade camping wipes in plastic storage container with Young Living Tea Tree Oil and Thieves Oil

Supplies You'll Need to Make No Rinse Body Wipes for Camping

I usually just pull supplies right out of my working pantry. Here is what you'll need:

Tips for How to Make Camping Wipes

These wipes are so easy to make. In fact, you can find a printable recipe below with all of the ingredients and instructions.

2 things before you make them…

  • I'm going to recommend using a more natural baby wash; I prefer using Koala Pals Body Wash from Melaleuca.
  • And then the paper towels… I love and recommend using either Member's Mark Super Premium Paper Towels or Viva paper towels (the full sheet rolls), for making any kind of wipes. Both of these brands have that thick quality that works well for homemade wipes.

I also make and keep my wipes in a plastic canister.

Steps for Making Homemade No Rinse Body Wipes

  • Cut the paper towel roll in half and set it aside.
adding water to plastic canister for DIY body wipes for camping
  • Add the warm water to your plastic canister.
adding body wash to canister for homemade body wipes
  • Add the body wash to the water inside the canister.
  • Then add the drops of essential oils.
adding essential oils, like Thieves, to mixture for camping wipes in plastic canister
  • Stir the mixture well, and drop in the half roll of paper towels, cut side down.
adding half roll of paper towels while making homemade bath wipes in plastic canister
  • Once you mix them up, it's a good idea to put the lid on the canister and turn it upside down so the liquid can really absorb into the entire paper towel roll.
place canister upside down so body wipes can absorb all the liquid

Why Not Use Baby Wipes Instead of Making Homemade Bath Wipes?

We've used baby wipes in the past, but I always felt super gross, not to mention the funky smell that just adds to the funk you already experience when not having showered in awhile.

Homemade camping wipes are so much better because they don't leave the funk behind that baby wipes do.

All it takes is a little freshening up with these shower wipes in the morning, along with washing my face, brushing my teeth, and maybe dry shampooing my hair if absolutely necessary… And I feel like a whole new woman.

These no rinse bathing wipes are the bomb. They work great for camping travel with the whole family because they don't have a girly scent; and with my three guys, that's important, don't you know.

Looking for More Camping Tips and Ideas?

How to Pack a First Aid Kit for Camping

The Ultimate Camping Checklist for Packing

How-To Sustainable Camping Tips for Your Family

Camping Wipes Recipe

If you love these DIY body wipes as much as we do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!

homemade no rinse body wipes for camping recipe

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Homemade No Rinse Body Wipes for Camping

Homemade No Rinse Body Wipes for Camping

How to make DIY no rinse body wipes for cleansing head to toe while camping. All you need are paper towels, body wash, and two very popular essential oils.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Rest Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $5-10


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon baby wash
  • 10 drops Tea Tree essential oil
  • 10 drops Thieves essential oil
  • 1/2 roll paper towels


  • 1 knife
  • 1 container with lid


  1. Cut your paper towel roll in half.
  2. Add the warm water to a sealable container.*
  3. Add body wash and essential oil/s to the mixture in the container.
  4. Stir the mixture together well.
  5. Drop the paper towel roll into the liquid, cut side down.
  6. Seal the container with a lid and place it upside down, so the liquid will absorb into the paper towels. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Once all the liquid has worked its way through the paper towels, pull the cardboard tube out.
  8. Your body wipes are ready to use!


*I make and keep my wipes in a plastic canister.

Did you make this project?

Tag us on Instagram @mellockcuff so we can see! You can also click the buttons below to share on Pinterest or Facebook.

(Disclaimer: Everything I share about essential oils on Adventures of Mel is based on personal experience and has not been approved by the FDA. Please do your own research, and never use essential oils in a way that would make you uncomfortable. Also, take special caution for those pregnant or nursing, as well as children. Full Disclaimer…)


57 thoughts on “Homemade No Rinse Body Wipes for Camping”

  1. Hi! I was wondering if you remember where you found your container. I have been looking for a reasonably priced container to fit a half roll of Viva but haven’t been successful in my hunt. Do you recall where you found yours or what brand/size it was?

    • Hi Lacy, I found mine at Walmart. I have a couple of old Rubbermaid containers, but I also have Walmart’s generic home brand, I forget the name. They’re in the kitchen Rubbermaid bowls and containers aisle at our store.

  2. Hi Mel! Thank you for such an informative post! My question is, does adding the body wash make your hands feel like they need to be rinsed? I wonder the same thing for homemade wipes used around the house, if there is a need to rinse.

    • Hi Robbin! This is a great question. Actually, no, I don’t feel the need to rinse when I use these wipes. They really have the feel of a baby wipe, in terms of moisture and cleanser. Same with the household wipes. And my household wipes don’t seem to leave any smears when I’m cleaning surfaces; I use them to clean our bathroom, washer/dryer, etc.

    • This is a good question, Suze. My son has problems with his household wipes (which are a bit different but similar) molding after a couple of weeks, and that’s in his bathroom (which tends to be quite damp). But I keep ours for a month or longer in our master bath, and they’re good. So, I think it depends on the humidity levels in the home. I know since we’ve gotten bathroom fans, they don’t mold as quickly. We use them up too before they’re able to mold.

  3. Hi! I am looking to make my own wipes as I’m a caregiver for my husband. Most of the baby wipes/adult bath wipes I have to use for him have too many chemicals and those that don’t seem to irritate his skin. Am hoping these will work better for him. I’ve seen other recipes that include witch hazel and/or baby oil/coconut oil. Am unsure if any of the other ingredients are necessary or what your opinion of including them would be.

    Thanks bunches!

    • Hi Cynthia, thank you! I have seen other recipes with witch hazel and baby oil. Coconut oil is very good, so I wouldn’t hesitate to include that. I know that coconut oil can help things to absorb into the skin, so that’s something to think about. It’s moisturizing. These have never been irritating to us or our kids, even as babies. And my husband and one of our kids both have pretty sensitive skin. I hope these work for you!

  4. We usually bring that no rinse body wash to wash people who can’t bath. It’s called No Rinse and we get it at the pharmacy where the canes and stuff are. They make one for hair too. I haven’t tried the hair one yet, but the body wash really cleans you and makes you feel great without rinsing at all and it it only takes a little bit of water.

  5. Hi. I’m very excited about our 2 week road camping trip, so you can imagine my excitement about coming across this post. My question to you is: Do you use 20 drops of each oil or 10 of each to make 20 total?

  6. I found this post via your article on Dispersed Camping at Only in Ark. I will definitely be trying out this recipe as we’re another avid camping family. :-) But I don’t have Thieves oil…would something like lavender be a good substitution?

    And I will have to experiment with packing it in smaller and lighter packaging since we’re getting into backpacking…the big plastic container would definitely have to go! Maybe I’ll have to pull out the inner layers of the roll and try putting it in a ziplock baggie… Have you ever tried doing something like that?

    • It’s nice to meet another camping family, Lauren. You can use pretty much any essential oil you want, so lavender would work just fine. Maybe I should change the oils part of my recipe to say that they’re suggested… That’s a good point.

      And as for backpacking, we’re going to be eventually doing this too. A baggie would definitely work. I’ve pulled my baby wipes, which are made in a similar way just with different oils, apart and added them to wipes containers, so even one of those re-usable, softer, on the go wet wipes packs in the baby department at the store would work.

        • Almost a year after your comment, but just in case… ;)
          My husband took a whole batch of these in a gallon freezer bag when he spent a week in the back country. Worked perfectly. Lightweight. And flat for his pack!

          • Yay!!! That’s awesome, Deb! Thank you for letting us know. So glad they worked so well for him. We forgot to take them on our last trip, and I’ll tell ya, I really missed them for sure. They make such a difference.

  7. Hey there! I’m looking forward to trying this but maybe with microfiber cloths instead of paper towels. If I do go with paper towels though — how do you cut a roll in half? And how do you get them to pull from the middle? In the short video it looks like you put it in the mixture with the cardboard core still in the roll – doesn’t that get soggy and use up a lot of the product? Thanks!

    • We just cut it with a big knife. A chef’s knife works well. And once you remove the cardboard insert, the towels automatically pull up from the middle like that. It’s pretty handy. I do like to keep the cardboard core in; that’s how I was taught to do it back when my sister was making baby wipes out of paper towels, and I feel like it gives the roll more stability while all the liquid is soaking in… It does get a little soggy, but the liquid pretty much soaks into the paper towels themselves. The cardboard is still pretty solid when we remove it. I hope this helps!

  8. I made these for my husband to take on high adventure a couple of years ago. He didn’t shower the entire week, just used these morning and night [and during the day as needed]. He came home smelling fine – like he’d just been out to mow the lawn, not like he’d just come home from a week of camping, hiking, and fishing. Definitely NOT what I was expecting after a week in the High Uintas!!

    We mixed them up a couple of days before so they were good and soaked, then transferred them to a gallon freezer bag. He had a few left when we went camping the next weekend so we took them along. They’re magical! ;) My daughter is headed for a week long camp this coming week and specifically asked for these. I’ll be using tea tree, cedarwood [hopefully that combo will help with the bugs!], on guard, and possibly a drop or two of vanilla to make them a little more “girl friendly.” Thanks for sharing this technique!

  9. You don’t really say WHY you chose those particular oils? What would be the benefits of Tea Tree and Thieves or are they just personal scent preferences? I’m interested in the bug control mentioned by Deb so the cedarwood sounds like a good option too! I look forward to trying these!

    • I chose them because of the cleansing properties they have (according to my essential oils guide) and also because of their scent. They’re both very versatile oils. I would love to try the cedarwood too for bug control. Thank you, Tammy!

  10. I love to use Tea Tree oil as well.
    QUESTION: Are there precautions for using them on certain parts of the body?
    I.E.: Wouldn’t it burn like the dickens if it came in contact with an eye or perhaps using the wipes to wash private/sensitive areas of your body?

    • They don’t hurt your sensitive areas at all. I have used cheap store bought baby wipes before and regretted it. While it wasn’t a lasting burn, I was definitely a little uncomfortable for a bit. I can’t believe they were made for a baby’s bottom!
      I don’t know about burning the eyes. They would probably be irritating if rubbed in the eye. I mean, they do have some soap in them. However, I have never gotten it in my eye when I have washed my face with them.

    • I do too; we use tea tree oil for so many things. Great question… These are meant more for a quick wipe-up. I don’t use them on my face, mainly because of the Thieves, and because I have a face wash I use to avoid breakouts. As for more private areas, I’ve never experienced any burning, but I’d maybe recommend carrying a quick dry washcloth for more sensitive areas of the body, just in case, especially the face.

  11. I found out the hard way that I am allergic to tea tree oil, what would you recommend as a replacement? Also I have never heard of thieves oil. Is it similar to tea tree oil, should I be concerned about it with my sensitivity to the other? Any information would be helpful. Thank you.

    • Tina, there is an app that might help you. I use it a lot when I’m trying to figure out what oils I can use. It’s the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, and even though it costs a few dollars, it’s been worth every penny for me. It gives the properties of all the different oils. As for the Thieves oil, it’s a blend of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus radiata, and Rosemary cineol. I hope this helps!

  12. I just made these for our camping trip this weekend. Excited to try them out. I couldn’t find a container, even at Walmart so I got a cereal keeper and a whole paper towel roll fits perfectly once it absorbed the oil mixture. Young Living also now sells Citronella, gonna try that next time!! Thanks for this, Im sure it will be a great addition to our camping supplies!

  13. Thinking of making these but with flannel scraps to make them reusable. Has anyone tried this with fabric? We are planning a camping trip this summer and hav a child who has anxiety about showering in strange places. Think this might be a good idea for us.

  14. Looks like a great recipe. I’m going to try this to make a showerless spray for home. I bought one where you spray it on your body and either let it air dry, or wipe with a washcloth. No need to use paper towels at home!

  15. I used this recipe this summer while van camping and boondocking. It was fantastic! I have to add, that I had purchased two different packs of body wipes that I tried before departing on my trip and both caused irritation of the delicate body tissues. Your recipe caused no problems and was very refreshing. I went one time four days without showering, but these kept me fresh! Thank you for sharing!

  16. Addendum to my earlier post:
    Someone asked about how to cut the roll. I struggled with a large, sharp knife due to arthritis, so I ended up using an electric knife, which worked great.

    I didn’t have Thieves oil, and just used the Tea Tree Oil and a few drops of Lavender to neutralize the Tea Tree smell a bit. For those who are not familiar, Tea Tree Oil is said to affect bacteria, fungus, and viruses, so it’s a great oil to keep on hand and use for these body wipes.

    Lastly, for the body wash, I used Dr. Bronner’s non-scented since I’ve used it for years and really like how mild it is. I only used about half of the recipe amount because it seemed too soapy to me (I had to dilute by adding twice of everything else. Soap can make me itch, so since this was a no-rinse wipe, I made that change and found it worked better for me and was very effective. Thanks again!

    • Thank you so much for the wonderful tips, Teresa. An electric knife is a brilliant and much easier way to cut the roll. Also, I love the tip about Dr. Bronner’s. We use that soap, as well, around our house, and I may just have to try it in our next batch of wipes.

  17. Be careful using these essential oils guys! Some oils like Rosemary can raise blood pressure….& they are NOT safe for pets…it’s not the scent you should be worrying about it’s the chemicals in the oil’s! Oils do have a chemical make up even if they are 100% natural ….take care using these things!

  18. https://justplainmarie.ca/how-to-close-a-bag-with-a-bottle-cap/
    Hi Mel
    I haven’t made your diy body wipes but they are on my list. Thinking I can use them on my next backpacking trip. I’m sure I could put a supply into a zip lock bag but I was thinking this tip for putting a screw cap onto virtually any plastic bag might be more secure and more leakproof for me since I have trouble closing zip bags sometimes. Just choose a sturdy plastic bag. Or double up with some grocery produce bags. It recycles and it’s inexpensive as well.
    Thx for your recipe

  19. Thanks so much for this “recipe”. I’m 72 yrs young & camp regularly with my niece mostly here in Florida. I’ve made these wipes 3 times now and they’re great! My niece has somewhat sensitive skin and she really likes these; neither of us experienced any skin irritation from them. They’re great for a quick cleanup when returning from kayaking/fishing when you can’t shower yet but have to make a fire/cook supper. They leave the skin feeling much cleaner & more refreshed than the typical purchased wipes. Instead of the baby wash, I’ve been using 1/2 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s soap, along with tea tree oil, lavender oil, & a blend of most of the oils contained in Thieves oil. They also last for weeks without any mildew problem. I found a square clear plastic doggie treat container with a super seal controlled simply by up/down lever on top of lid….works great & allows for easy open/close. Thanks again!

  20. If your container is smaller than a half roll of paper towels, just cut your roll to fit it and use the larger “half” to make kitchen wipes. A larger half will fit the large coffee containers. So I split my roll 1/3 for body wipes and 2/3 for kitchen wipes.

  21. Hi Mel,

    What a great idea. I am wondering, if I do not have those exact essential oils what can I use in place that is similar? And, what properties do those specific oils have for you to chose them over others? Also, this may be a solution to a container problem; I save my plastic Folger’s coffee canisters. They come in different heights. I think this may work since it is round with a nice tight fitting lid…they only thing is the color and it is not transparent.

    • Hi Karen, thank you! It would really depend on what types of oils you have on hand, but you could likely use your favorite essential oils, as long as they won’t irritate your skin. I chose Thieves and tea tree oil because of the properties listed in my essential oils app; I use the Reference Guide for Essential Oils on my phone. I thought they would be the best to help stop body odor and give us a good washing up. That is a great tip about the coffee canisters and a great way to repurpose those. I love that!

  22. Hello! I am highly allergic to most soaps & lotions. I have heard that tea tree oil can cause a rash on some people. I would like to make some of these wipes to take camping, though. Have you ever tried adding alcohol (vodka) to wipes? I have used it to make cleaning supplies before. Just wondered what you thought about using it (or vinegar?) In the wipes? Thank you.

    • Hey Kelly, I have never tried using alcohol or vinegar for wipes. I know that vinegar does irritate my skin, so I likely wouldn’t make wipes with it myself. My husband and two older sons have pretty sensitive skin and have all used these wipes successfully. Before we try using any type of oils, though, we’ll take a little bit of the oil with a carrier oil and dab it on a small, less sensitive place on our skin, just to see if we do have a reaction. That might be an option to see if it’ll work for you.


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