Looking for a natural disinfectant spray? No need to go shopping. Chances are, you already have these natural disinfectant ingredients and cleaners at home. Unlike their chemical-ridden counterparts, a natural or DIY disinfectant cleaner is a safer choice for your living spaces and most-touched devices. Natural disinfectant cleaners are also better for the environment.
However, keep in mind that cleaning products — whether natural or not — are not all equally potent. Some may be too abrasive for delicate technology, and others may only clean surfaces instead of fully disinfecting them. No matter what you're cleaning, check manufacturer instructions before you get started.
With that in mind, here are some great household natural disinfectant cleaners that you can use in a pinch.
Disclaimer: The following is informational only and does not serve as medical advice. For information on how to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), please see the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website.
Here’s what you need to know about DIY natural disinfectants and how well each of the above household items works when it comes to cleaning your home.
Ever wondered why lemon is a common ingredient in solvents and DIY cleaning agents? The fruit is famous for its antimicrobial properties. Antimicrobial means that something possesses the ability to kill microorganisms or slow their growth. Antimicrobial substances work on bacteria, viruses, and fungi, not just bacteria.
Research has shown that lemons may work to combat bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella. Both of these bacteria can produce severe food-borne illnesses.
Are you interested in making a DIY disinfectant spray? Not only may lemon slow bacteria's growth, but it also smells great.
Keep in mind that though lemon has antimicrobial properties, this does not mean that it will kill all germs, including COVID-19. Please see the CDC website for up-to-date information on the pandemic.
Hydrogen peroxide is well-known for its ability to combat viruses, bacteria, yeast, spores, and fungi. According to the CDC, hydrogen peroxide (7.5%) may function as a high-level disinfectant when left for 30 minutes at 20°C; Hydrogen peroxide with peracetic acid (7.35% and 0.23%, respectively) may function as a disinfectant within 15 minutes at 20°C.
Hydrogen peroxide is essentially water with an oxygen molecule that occurs naturally in plants and animals. Hydrogen peroxide an environmentally-friendly natural cleaning agent because it will break down into water and oxygen.
Remember that solutions may contain different amounts of hydrogen peroxide. The above natural disinfectant methods are for 3% hydrogen peroxide, which is the household kind. Solutions with higher hydrogen peroxide content (6–10%) are for hair bleaching; Mixes with over 35% hydrogen peroxide are used for food-related cleaning; Anything with over 90% hydrogen peroxide is considered industrial.
Warning: Do not use hydrogen peroxide for hair or skin bleaching at home. People should only use solutions with more than 3% of hydrogen peroxide in a professional setting.
Boiling water has long been an environmentally-friendly way to make safe drinking water in emergency situations. In a five-week study found that over 70% of boiled water that had tested positive for fecal matter met World Health Organization standards for safe drinking water.
Boiling water — a minimum of 1 minute at sea level and 3 minutes at 5,000 ft+ — may be used as a natural disinfectant for:
Wondering how to clean a menstrual cup? Put your Casco Cup in a pot of boiling water for five minutes, making sure that it is completely submerged. After that, carefully remove your menstrual cup and allow it to air dry before storing or reinserting it.
A dozen essential oils — concentrated plant extracts used as alternative medicine and aromatherapy throughout human history — have antimicrobial properties according to a study published in medical journal Molecules. Of course, not all essential oils possess the same disinfectant properties; quality and strain matter.
Lavender oil has a variety of antibacterial and antiviral properties. Research has shown that lavender oil may work against:
Wondering how to use lavender as a natural cleaner? Add a few drops of lavender (3–6 drops) and bergamot to two cups of white vinegar, shake, and spray on surfaces. You can also spray lavender on cotton balls to keep insects — moths, ants, cockroaches — out of commonly-infested areas like closets and pantries.
Combine 10 drops of tea tree oil with half a cup of vinegar and two cups of hot water to create a natural cleaner (avoid granite and stone, however, which do not respond well to vinegar). To create a tea tree oil disinfectant spray, combine one teaspoon with one cup of water. Spray on moldy or mildewy surfaces; leave it for a few minutes before wiping it away.
What does tea tree oil do? Studies have shown that it has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. More specifically, research on mouthwash containing tea tree oil found it was effective as a treatment for gingivitis.
Thyme oil is another essential oil with antiviral properties — as shown against Herpes Simplex. Thyme oil — more specifically, the active compound Thymol — is perhaps better known for its ability to combat bacteria, thanks to its acidic nature.
In fact, many natural disinfectants (and insect repellents too) contain Thymol. In the former’s case, the natural ingredient is used in formulas designed to kill bacteria, germs, and viruses. In fact, the EPA has included a couple of thymol-containing natural cleaners on its list of coronavirus disinfectants. Keep in mind that some thymol brands only contain between 20–50% of the active ingredient.
Affordable and natural, vinegar is an easy way to keep your home clean without the chemicals--especially now that you're working remotely from the kitchen. But not all vinegar is appropriate for giving your kitchen a good scrubbing. Cleaning vinegar is a unique kind of vinegar--not something you'd put on a salad like balsamic vinegar or red vinegar.
What's the difference between cleaning vinegar, which you can use as a natural disinfectant, and white vinegar? For starters, the former is much more acidic--6% compared to 5%. Though this doesn't sound like a lot, it means cleaning vinegar a lot stronger. However, if you are looking to use vinegar as a natural disinfectant, you're best off using white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar if you don't have any other options).
Note: Industrial vinegar can have as much as 20% acid and should not be used indoors.
Disclaimer: There is no scientific evidence that vinegar would kill COVID-19.
Do NOT clean marble or granite with vinegar as it can damage the surface. Additionally, do not clean try to use vinegar as a natural disinfectant on knives. Avoid coming into contact with wood furniture as well. Additionally, cleaning vinegar is NOT for cooking. It has not been tested to the same quality standards as white vinegar, for instance.