DIY Disinfectant Spray

DIY disinfectant materials including spray bottle, rubber gloves, essential oils, and Isopropyl alcohol.

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I’m constantly surrounded by children and their ever-flowing runny noses. I love kids, but I do not love the germs they spread. Especially since the pandemic, I am a disinfecting fanatic.

The homemade disinfectant spray has been so helpful in keeping my house clean and my immune system healthy!

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of homemade disinfectant sprays, 3 recipes for different sprays, and tips on making your own!

Why DIY?

Here are a few reasons why I love making my own homemade disinfectant spray:

  • Cheaper alternative to brand-name cleaning products
  • Use ingredients already in your home
  • Create a scent I enjoy for my own disinfectant spray
  • Doesn’t have harsh fumes that may affect kids and pets
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial

I’m not telling you to throw out your Lysol. In fact, a study in 2015 showed household products containing vinegar and baking soda were less effective than Clorox and Lysol against potential bacterial pathogens.

Clorox and Lysol can be useful for deep cleaning every once in a while. But for everyday use, swap the harsh chemicals for natural cleaners.

The study reported that natural products are antimicrobial and antibacterial, they just aren’t strong enough to kill all pathogens that may be present on surfaces.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

I recently learned there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. And different products are used for each.

The CDC defines cleaning as, “removing most germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces.”

Cleaning involves soap, water, and scrubbing. Like washing your hands.

Sanitizing is “reducing germs to levels public health codes or regulations consider safe. It is done with weaker bleach solutions or sanitizing sprays.”

Vinegar or baking soda-based solutions qualify as sanitizers. We will include a few recipes for these later in the article.

Disinfecting, “kills most germs on surfaces and objects. Disinfecting is done with stronger bleach solutions or chemicals.” The CDC reports you only need to disinfect if someone in the home is sick or has been exposed to sickness. You can choose to use Lysol but I prefer to make a bleach solution.

Bleach is very effective in removing bacteria and pathogens but must be used carefully. A few things to remember when using bleach are:

  • Check to make sure bleach contains between 5%-9% sodium hypochlorite
  • Always read the label on the bottle first for safety warnings and directions
  • Keep the room ventilated when applying the solution
  • We recommend wearing rubber gloves and a mask to ensure the solution doesn’t get on your skin and you aren’t inhaling too many fumes
  • Never ever combine bleach with anything besides water. Doing so may create an incredibly harmful toxic gas. Specifically, mixing vinegar with bleach with create toxic gas, but to be safe only mix bleach with water

DIY cleaning recipes

A spray bottle filled with diy disinfectant, a bottle of bleach, and essential oils on a countertop.

All the recipes we suggest are made without toxic chemicals and are useful cleaning sprays that remove germs from hard surfaces.

We will lead you through a step-by-step process to make your own homemade cleaners.

  1. Finding a spray bottle
    A glass spray bottle is best to use for your own disinfectant spray. Glass bottles are more sustainable and will likely last much longer than a cheap plastic bottle. Full disclosure, the spray bottles I have currently are plastic bottles from the dollar store. Yes, they do the job, but once my budget allows I am switching to glass bottles, and here’s why. Not only will it last longer, but it can also be recycled in a much more effective way than plastic. The biggest reason for glass bottles is that the natural cleaners inside them will not degrade the bottle. Over time, the disinfectant cleaner will break down the plastic adding plastic particles to your solution that you do not want. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can easily degrade a plastic bottle. Amazon has great amber-tinted glass bottles that will work great and will last you for years! *** affiliate link**
  2. Choosing the right ingredients
    • Rubbing Alcohol
      • If using rubbing alcohol, check the bottle to make sure it contains at least 70% isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is the main ingredient in hand sanitizer, making it a great natural disinfectant for cleaning hard surfaces.
    • Vodka or Everclear
      • Vodka can be used as a disinfectant as long as it has at least 60% alcohol content or 40% ethanol. We don’t prefer Vodka because it is more expensive and rubbing alcohol is just as effective in cleaning hard surfaces. But if you are in a pinch, you can always substitute rubbing alcohol with Vodka or Everclear.
    • Distilled white vinegar
      • Of the different types of vinegar, distilled white vinegar is the best for cleaning. It doesn’t contain a coloring agent so it won’t stain surfaces in your home. It contains an organic compound called acetic acid found in many store-bought cleaners. This acid can kill bacteria, dirt, and grease. Do not use a vinegar-based homemade cleaner on granite or marble. As long as your kitchen counters aren’t made of granite or marble, a vinegar-based cleanser is great for removing dirt and germs.
    • Bleach
      • As mentioned before, never mix bleach with vinegar. Bleach is best used for natural disinfecting and removing antiviral bacteria.
  3. Add ingredients to spray bottle
    Below are three disinfectant spray recipes we recommend using:
    • Rubbing alcohol disinfectant spray
      • Add 1 1/2 cups of rubbing alcohol (or 70% isopropyl) to the spray bottle
      • Add 3/4 cup of water to the spray bottle
      • 30 drops of your preferred essential oil
        • We recommend lemon essential oil or a blend of lemon essential oil and lavender essential oil.
      • Shake the bottle thoroughly
      • Then spray onto hard surfaces.
        • Don’t forget to disinfect doorknobs, light switches, and remotes!
      • Wipe off surfaces with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.
    • Vinegar Disinfectant cleaner
      • Combine one part distilled water with two parts distilled white vinegar in the spray bottle
      • Add 30 drops of your preferred essential oil
        • We recommend tea tree oil, lavender essential oil, lemon essential oil, or peppermint essential oil.
        • You could also make a blend of multiple essential oils to create your desired scent. See our article explaining how to make your own essential oil blend ***internal link to winter essential oils article ***
      • Shake bottle thoroughly
      • Spray natural disinfectant on hard surfaces ( Remember: do not spray on marble or granite countertops!). Wait between 5-10 minutes before wiping it off with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.
    • Bleach Disinfectant spray
      • Add 5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) of bleach per gallon of room-temperature water or 4 tablespoons of bleach per quart of water to a spray bottle
      • Shake bottle thoroughly
      • Apply natural disinfectant spray to the surface. Leave bleach for 1 minute before wiping it away 
      • Wash hands thoroughly after 
      • Make new solutions each day. Bleach becomes less effective against germs after 24 hours of being mixed with water

Your Turn!
Open up your cabinets or run to the store and make your own diy disinfectant today! You can also cut towles into small squares and make your own disinfectant wipes. Pick a recipe, add the solution and towels in a glass jar, and use them to clean! It’s a sustainable and cheap alternative to store bought wipes. Avoid germs and winter sicknesses using your diy disinfectant spray or wipes without breaking the bank!


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