It’s always important to have good disinfecting solutions and wipes around the house, especially in this day and age. Although there are tons of disinfecting products on the market, a lot of people are more interested in an all-natural approach and are therefore more interested in making these disinfectants themselves.
Sanitizing and Disinfecting Basics
For starters, let’s go over the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. When you purchase a cleaning product, it will clearly state what it is designed to do and each description means something distinct. They do not label a product a “sanitizer” or “disinfectant” if it doesn’t do what it is legally required to do.
Sanitizers promise to reduce, not eliminate, bacteria and germs from various surfaces while disinfectants are required to kill 100% of any microorganisms found there. This means that sanitizers are good for basic cleaning, but when you want to get something super clean and completely free of germs and bacteria, you need a disinfectant.
Hospitals use disinfectants on a regular basis but if you’d like to skip the chemicals and go for a more natural disinfecting solution, it is much easier to get than you think. Just try some of the following recipes and you’ll likely never go back to a store-bought disinfectant ever again.
Disposable Disinfecting Wipes
For this recipe, all you need is a roll of paper towels and a mixture of two cups of water combined with two tablespoons of bleach. Cut each paper towel in half lengthwise so that you get narrower sheets, and place a stack of those sheets in a reclosable clear plastic bag. Next, pour the water-bleach mixture over the top of the stack of sheets.
You have to make sure that all of the sheets get completely saturated; once this happens, all that you have to do is pull out the sheets one at a time whenever you need them.
DIY Disinfecting Sprays
There are actually several methods that you can use to make a homemade disinfectant spray (essential oils are optional and only included for their aroma, they have no disinfecting properties). Before you get started, remember one thing: if you include essential oils in your spray, it’s best to use a glass spray bottle since essential oils can damage and even leak through plastic ones. Here are some recipes that you can try:
- Mix half a cup of vodka and half a cup of water, then add 50 drops of your favorite essential oil before placing it in your bottle.
- Mix one part vinegar and one part water, then add five to fifteen drops of essential oil and place the mixture in a spray bottle.
- Mix one part rubbing alcohol and one part hydrogen peroxide (3% or higher) and place in your bottle.
- Mix half a cup of vinegar, half a cup of rubbing alcohol, and one cup of distilled water. Mix with 5 drops of lemon essential oil and 5 drops of lavender essential oil and place in a spray bottle.
There are a few other things to remember as well. First of all, if the recipe calls for rubbing alcohol, make sure that you get some that is a minimum of 60% alcohol. Second, always shake these mixtures well before spraying them on anything, particularly if you’ve included essential oils in the concoction.
DIY Natural Hand Sanitizer
Okay, this is a sanitizer and not a disinfectant but when you’re in a bind, a good hand sanitizer is certainly better than nothing. One of the most useful yet basic recipes has only three ingredients and here’s what they are:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Aloe vera gel
- Tea tree essential oil
Simply mix three parts rubbing alcohol to one part aloe vera gel and add a few drops of the tea tree essential oil. Again, make sure that you use a glass jar and that you shake it well before using it each time. You may think it is possible to make the sanitizer even more potent by using isopropyl with higher alcohol content, however, experts say the effectiveness of alcohol as a disinfectant maxes out around 60-70% with higher concentrations being less effective.
This is one of the easiest cleaners to make and you can use it either as a spray or as a regular cleaning liquid. All you do is start by pouring vodka in a bottle until it is one-third full. Then, fill another one-third of the bottle with hot water and add 30 to 50 drops of essential oil. You can use tea tree, cinnamon, or thyme essential oil.
Once that part is complete, you can fill the remaining one-third of the bottle with water, then shake well. You can either spray the concoction onto various surfaces or pour it on a clean cloth and wipe down the surfaces, depending on the type of bottle used.
After you spray or wipe the surface, let it dry for a few minutes and then wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth. Tea tree oil is used frequently in these types of recipes because it is antifungal and antibacterial. It also has a very pleasant smell and is good for minor scrapes and bumps so it is a multi-purpose essential oil.
Disinfecting Soap for Stone Countertops
If you have nice countertops that you’d like to keep disinfected, you can use a special soap made with just a few ingredients. Not only is this a great disinfectant, but it is gentle and therefore will not harm any type of marble or granite countertops.
To start with, place half a cup of vodka and one and a half cups of hot water in a bottle (spray or regular). This isn’t an exact measurement, but try to keep a mixture of one part vodka to three parts water if possible.
Next, add one teaspoon of castile soap and 20 drops of essential oil — tea tree is perfect, or you can use both tea tree and lavender if you don’t like the smell of tea tree oil. Again, make sure that you shake the mixture well before you use it, and leave it on the surface for a few minutes before wiping it dry with a clean cloth.
Another All-Purpose Cleaner
Here is yet another all-purpose cleaner that is both effective and safe. Just mix half a cup of rubbing alcohol or vinegar with two to three cups of hot water. Next, add two to three squirts of Dawn dishwashing liquid and shake the bottle well. One word of caution: if you intend to use this cleaner for marble or granite countertops, use rubbing alcohol instead of vinegar.
Cheap Peroxide Disinfectant
Finally, here is a cheap and easy mixture that you can use on just about anything:
- Place a mixture of 2:1 water-to-peroxide (3%) in a bottle (example: two cups of water and one cup of peroxide)
- Add one to two tablespoons of lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil
- Shake well before using
You’ll notice that this mixture bubbles when applied to your surfaces so you’ll need to make sure that you let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the bubbles have time to subside. After this happens, simply wipe the surface down with a clean dry cloth and you’re all set!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Certain ingredients, including vodka and rubbing alcohol, WILL NOT protect you from the coronavirus. The above suggestions are for household use only and should not be used to prevent or treat the virus.