Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Cleaning wipes are a convenient and safe way to keep your house in tip-top shape. However, not all wipes are created equal. While some wipes are equipped to disinfect surfaces, others are only meant for cleaning. Keep in mind that doing the latter is more important than the former, because disinfecting surfaces should always be the last step, and it isn’t always necessary. In fact, doing so too frequently may not be very safe and can even result in the formation of superbugs. Of course, that’s more likely to occur in places like hospitals, but it’s still best to reserve disinfecting wipes for high-touch areas and for when someone in your home is sick.
To help you find the best cleaning wipes for your needs, here are the best options available online.
Best Overall: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
Although many other disinfectants have been approved to kill COVID-19, Clorox’s Disinfecting Wipes certainly work the fastest—according to the EPA, the formula can kill SARS-CoV-2 (the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19) in a quarter of a minute. Each wipe is triple-layered and well-soaked to cover a substantial surface area. They’re damper than others on this list, but they dry quickly and fully disinfect surfaces in four minutes rather than ten, as is customary for disinfecting wipes.
The scents are pretty inoffensive considering how strong the formula is, and the wipes will leave your granite, wood, or stainless steel smelling fresh and newly cleaned. Although Clorox wipes are available in canisters, we prefer these pouches as they use 70 percent less plastic and are much more portable.
Best Value: Lysol Disinfecting Wipes
Similar to the aforementioned wipes, Lysol Disinfectant Wipes are effective against COVID-19 when left to sit on the surface for two minutes. That being said, you should still allow the solution to sit on the surface for ten minutes in order to kill off any remaining germs or pathogens such as salmonella or E. coli.
These wipes have a micro-pocket pattern that helps to scrub away and trap stubborn dirt. The Lemon & Lime Blossom scent is strong but pleasant. Finally, you can use these wipes on most hard, nonporous surfaces—even electronics!
Pay attention to the way you dispose of cleaning wipes. Even those that claim to be flushable can cause clogs in toilets and lead to other environmental hazards. The best way to dispose of a used cleaning wipe is simply to throw it in the trash. That way, you avoid clogging up toilets and the sewerage systems attached to them.
Best for Electronics: Weiman Electronic Wipes
Cleaning electronics is a daunting task but a very necessary one as dust, streaks, and grime make it hard to see screens. Plus, we are always touching them whether our hands are dirty or clean. Because you have to be so careful to avoid getting moisture in any of the device’s openings, it’s all the more important to find a product that is specifically created for cleaning electronics. Weiman Electronic Wipes are designed to remove dust, dirt, and fingerprints without leaving behind lint or streaks. The formula creates a protective film on your devices that prevents scratches and repels the static that attracts dust and dirt.
Although the solution on these wipes air-dries quickly, Weiman recommends using a soft, lint-free cloth (the little microfiber cloths that come with glasses are perfect for this task) to buff away any remaining residue. Doing so will make your devices look extra shiny. Keep in mind that these wipes don’t sanitize or disinfect; they’re only meant to be used as a cleaner. If you want to disinfect, Apple says that Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are safe to use on devices. That being said, those wipes are quite wet, so it’s probably better to play it safe than sorry with Weiman Electronic Wipes.
Best Natural: Lemi-Shine Disinfecting Wipes
Luckily, you don’t have to resort to questionable chemicals in order to rid your home of harmful germs. Lemi-Shine Disinfecting Wipes use citric acids to kill bacteria, mold, and mildew. Surprisingly enough, the formula is used in hospitals and has been approved by the EPA to kill both COVID-19 and the rhinovirus.
With just a hint of lemon, these wipes likely won’t irritate those with sensitive noses. The wipes are sturdy and perfectly moistened so as to not totally drench your surfaces. Be sure to allow the solution to dwell on the surface until it’s dry before touching it.
Best for Toys: Babyganics Fragrance-Free All-Purpose Wipes
Kids aren’t the most hygiene-conscious. More often than not, they’re putting their mouths on everything they touch, especially when it comes to toys. Babyganics Fragrance-Free All-Purpose Wipes are perfect for giving those toys a quick wipe-down in between playtime.
Every ingredient in this product’s cleaning solution is plant-derived except for sodium benzoate which is a preservative often found in beverages or processed foods to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, or other microbes. For that reason, they’re also safe for food-contact surfaces such as kitchen countertops or even inside ovens.
Best for Kitchen: Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Wipes
Instead of quats or citric acids, Seventh Generation’s Disinfecting Multi-Surface Wipes use thymol, a component of thyme oil, to kill germs. In addition to being able to kill SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and rhinovirus, the formula can also kill staph and salmonella.
These wipes are a great choice for the kitchen because they can both clean and disinfect. Plus, the solution doesn’t need to be rinsed off, even when it is used on food-contact surfaces. Scented with lemongrass, these wipes have a strong fragrance that doesn’t appeal to everyone, so they’re not the best choice for sensitive noses.
Best for Cars: Tub O' Towels Heavy Duty Cleaning Wipes
Tub O’ Towels Heavy-Duty Cleaning Wipes are equipped to clean your car inside and out. No matter what fabric covers your seats, these wipes are safe to use on them. Because the wipes are made of a durable fiber weave and treated with an industrial-strength formula, they’re equipped to handle tough messes such as oil, grease, or bird poop. Professional mechanics swear by these because they don’t rip, no matter how much elbow grease you’re using.
In addition to the work they can do on your car, these towels are also great for cleaning surfaces that no other wipes are designed to touch such as outdoor furniture, walls, even carpet! Keep in mind that these won’t sanitize or disinfect—they’re only meant for cleaning. For such a heavy-duty product, it’s surprising that they are safe on hands: With lanolin, aloe, and vitamin E, they will actually leave your hands softer than they were before!
Best for Furniture: Weiman Wood Floor and Furniture Wipes
Weiman’s Furniture Wipes not only clean dust and dirt off your wood surfaces, but they also polish them! With four natural oils and UVX-sunscreen, they restore finished wood’s natural shine and protect it from future water and sun damage. The wipes also use a micro-filling technology to remove scratches and protect the surface from future scratches.
Because the solution only contains plant-based ingredients, they’re safe to use with kids or pets in the house, but it’s best to keep the kids away from the furniture until it’s dry. For best results, wipe in the direction of the natural wood grain, then buff with a soft cloth. You’ll be amazed by how shiny and vibrant these wipes will get your previously dull and dingy furniture.
What to Look for in Cleaning Wipes
Cleaning Wipes typically fall under one of three categories: cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. It’s important to keep in mind that neither sanitizing nor disinfecting are synonymous with cleaning, so you must remove dirt or residue first before using a wipe. Although you probably aren’t at risk of using disinfectants so often that they create superbugs, it’s a good idea to limit your usage to high-traffic areas such as door handles, trash can lids, and toilets. Products that sanitize reduce the number of germs on a surface rather than killing them all off, so they’re a good choice for food-contact surfaces such as kitchen counters or skins.
Look for wipes that don’t contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, chlorine, formaldehyde, ammonia, or alcohol. If you don’t want to use harsh or synthetic chemicals around pets or young family members, look for wipes that primarily use plant-based ingredients.
Even if the fragrances are plant-based, those with allergies or skin sensitivity are still better off using a fragrance-free wipe.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Emily Shwake is a freelance journalist who has written hundreds of cleaning posts, many of which investigated the safety hazards of certain products as well as how to reduce exposure to germs.