We want to keep a clean home, but traditional commercial cleaners often have harsh, sometimes mysterious ingredients that make them unsavory. Luckily, you can make your own disinfectant spray to protect your family and guests from harmful chemicals and have peace of mind when cleaning your home. Even though these ingredients are mostly safe, you still need to follow safety precautions just like you would with store-bought disinfectant sprays.
Besides a bucket and disposable towel, you’ll need extra supplies when making your disinfectant spray since the job of choosing and mixing the substances falls on you instead of a manufacturer. If you’re using chemicals, be sure to have gloves, goggles, and possibly a safety mask to protect against noxious fumes. You'll also want an empty spray bottle and some hot water to wipe the area down when you're finished cleaning.
When you’re making your own disinfectant spray, you'll want to identify certain substances that are good cleaning agents and easy to find. Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol, for example, are commonly used in cleaning sprays and are effective at eliminating germs. Vodka and vinegar are also popular for DIY cleaners since they have high alcohol content. Some people also choose essential oils, such as tea tree oil, that have antiseptic or antiviral properties and add fragrance to the mixture.
While there are a variety of recipes to choose from on the Internet, one of the easiest to make is a mixture of five parts water, one part vinegar, one part vodka, and an essential oil of your choosing. If you don’t mind the occasional use of harsh cleaners, you can also use a simple mixture of bleach and hot soapy water to clean more bacteria-prone spots, like toilet bowls.
Some substances, like bleach and rubbing alcohol, can strip varnish and color from surfaces and clothing, so be sure to test your cleaner on a small surface area before you begin to clean. Dip your rag in your solution and place it on a small, inconspicuous area of the surface you plan to clean. Wait a few hours and then wipe down the surface; this should show you any damage your DIY solution might cause.
If you’re cleaning a table, mirror, or wiping a small surface like a door handle, a regular spray bottle should be good enough for your disinfectant spray. If it's a larger surface, like the floor, you're scrubbing, loading your solution into a cleaning vessel like a reusable mop with a spray system will allow you to move more efficiently and quickly, and keep it off your hands.
Just in case your DIY solution contains any irritants, keep your children and pets away from the area that you’re cleaning and from the solution while you’re making it. Lock away all of your chemicals and cleaning substances in a place where curious kids and mischievous pets can’t reach them.
This is an important step if you mixed substances that have a strong odor or are at risk of reacting with each other. Ventilation will also help reduce humidity in a cleaned area, which may help reduce the growth of mold and bacteria. Ventilating can be a simple as opening a window or putting up a fan that moves the still air around and out of an open door.
Making DIY cleaning sprays can be as easy as mixing vodka with lemon peels in a spray bottle. Both of these ingredients effectively clean small surfaces that aren’t heavily soiled, and the combination is almost odor-free. If you have tea tree oil at home, mixing that with water and spraying it on mirrors and faucet handles can also kill microorganisms.
Certain substances should never be mixed. Bleach and ammonia, for example, release a toxic chloramine gas that is an irritant in small doses and lethal in large doses. Two other substances that can’t be mixed are vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Make sure to thoroughly research anything you're planning to mix before making your cleaner, as even combining two innocuous compounds could be dangerous.
If you find that you’re becoming dizzy or feeling faint while cleaning, it’s best to step away and take a break. If you’re making your own cleaning solution, this is especially important in case you’ve mixed your chemicals or cleaning substances incorrectly. Also discard your solution if you notice itching or a rash after using it.