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How to Make DIY Disinfectants

brown haired woman spraying down large kitchen countertop with disinfectant

When COVID-19 took over the entire world in 2020, everyone’s lives were turned upside down. More importantly, protecting one’s health, and that of their loved ones, was the number one priority.

In doing so, disinfectants and sanitisers flew off the shelves across supermarkets and stores everywhere! In fact, they were often out of stock which left people more panicked than they already were.

With that said, while many couldn’t get a hold of commercial sterilising products or simply did not want to step into a supermarket to buy one, the next best thing was to improvise and make DIY disinfectants at home. 

It is super easy to make your own disinfectants as all the ingredients are readily available in supermarkets, pharmacies, and wellness shops.

The key ingredients are Isopropyl rubbing alcohol or vodka; specific essential oils that possess antibacterial properties like eucalyptus, tea tree oil, and lavender; and white distilled vinegar. Yes, these are all safe, non-toxic products that can be used in homes with kids and pets alike

While store-bought disinfectants are very effective and quick in their sanitising role, they often include harmful chemicals that cause potential allergies. Natural DIY disinfectants are therefore a better alternative and, when made correctly with the right ingredients, are extremely effective too!

So, let’s get right to it then!

How to Make DIY Disinfectant With Alcohol

woman in blue collared shirt and jeans wiping down a white benchtop with a blue sponge

There are various household uses for Vodka including killing harmful bacteria. To turn this alcohol into a homemade disinfectant solution, however, you will also need a few other ingredients. 

Here are the steps to make a DIY sanitising spray with vodka:

  1. Combine 1½ cup vodka that's 100 proof, ½ cup white vinegar, and around 50-60 drops of a preferred essential oil like citrus, tea tree oil, lavender or eucalyptus. 
  2. To mix these ingredients efficiently, first pour the vodka into a spray bottle, and then add the essential oils to it. 
  3. Give it a good shake before adding in the white vinegar. Shake vigorously till you feel all three liquids are mixed well. 

Your homemade disinfectant is now ready to abolish bacteria around the house! 

NOTE: As an alternative to hard liquor, you can substitute the vodka for Isopropyl rubbing alcohol or ethanol (which is 92.4% proof). 

WARNING: Do not use this DIY disinfectant on surfaces like marble or granite as its white vinegar content can eat into the stone. 

How to Make a Kid-Friendly Disinfectant

woman wearing blue gloves spraying down white kitchen benchtop with disinfectant

Parents looking to disinfect their homes need to consider the health and safety of their children above all else. As mentioned earlier, commercial sanitisers generally contain a number of harsh chemicals that can jeopardise the health of a child if used carelessly. As a precaution, it is advisable to play it safe and make the disinfectant yourself using just a few ingredients from your pantry. Take a look below.

  1. Measure 1 cup each of white vinegar and water (both distilled), and pour the liquids into a spray bottle; shake well. 
  2. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and shake once more till blended. 
  3. Remember to shake the bottle each time before using it. 

This solution is great for cleaning any areas or surfaces your child frequents, and can also be used to sanitise their toys by simply spraying the items liberally; leave them aside for a couple of minutes before wiping with a damp cloth.

Making Sanitising Wipes

woman wiping hands with sanitise wipes in front of bathroom basin

For more convenience, you might want to make sanitised wipes instead. To do this, mix the ingredients in a bowl large enough to fit a whole paper towel roll. Place the roll into the solution, and allow to soak up entirely. Once the roll is completely saturated, store it away in an airtight container for future use. Each square can be torn off and used to wipe down a surface as and when required. 

How to Make Non-Toxic, Pet-Friendly Sanitisers

bottle of white vinegar standing next to green multipurpose cleaner, sponge and orange gloves

When using any product in your home, it’s important to consider the safety of your pets because they have a tendency to lick anything in sight. Unfortunately, using store-bought disinfectants isn’t always the best idea because even the products that claim to be safe for pets can cause reactions in some animals. Moreover, at the end of the day, many commercial cleaners and sanitisers contain at least one or two harsh chemicals to prolong their shelf life. 

Nevertheless, whipping up a DIY pet-friendly disinfectant is easier than you think. You’ll need a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, the peels of approximately 6 lemons, cleaning vinegar, a mason jar, and a spray bottle. Gather up these items, and follow the steps below:

  1. In the mason jar, place the lemon peels and rosemary. 
  2. Pour the vinegar in next, close the lid, and refrigerate for two weeks. While you can use it right away if needed, the longer it is allowed to infuse, the more effective it will be. Additionally, the lemons give off a lovely scent when given more time to soak. 
  3. Once two weeks are up, remove the lemon peels from the jar, and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. 
  4. Add an equal amount of distilled water to the bottle, and mix well. 

This pet-safe disinfectant can be used to clean solid surfaces or as a mist on fabrics for a freshness boost.

The ‘Lysol/Dettol’ Alternative

two bottles of dettol hand sanitiser on a car dashboard

If buying the actual product is a no-go, you can make your very own version of ‘Lysol’ or Dettol using the following items:

  • Distilled water - 3½  ounces
  • Hydrogen peroxide - ½ teaspoon
  • Antibacterial essential oils - 30 - 40 drops
  • Spray bottle - 16 oz 

Combine all the ingredients in the spray bottle, and shake well to mix. Use the disinfectant as you typically would a regular bottle of Lysol. 

Hydrogen peroxide has been proven to kill viruses, including the COVID-19 virus, and it is also a non-toxic ingredient so it’s win-win!

Where and When to Use DIY Disinfectants at Home

ten bottles of miscellaneous different coloured cleaning products on a blue benchtop

Homemade sanitisers or disinfectants can be used anywhere in the house, and will always be considered the safer bet, especially when used in kitchens, bathrooms, and kids rooms due to their high hygiene requirements. 

In the kitchen, foods that are exposed can carry viruses which are transferred to surfaces like counters and sink tops. These include fruits, vegetables, raw fish, and meats. Cleaning your kitchen with a DIY disinfectant solution daily eliminates these contaminants, leaving surfaces clean and sanitary for the rest of the day!

The bathroom is yet another harbour of harmful bacteria and viruses. There are several surfaces one encounters in the bathroom on a regular basis, therefore, daily sanitising is advisable. Your homemade disinfectants can work wonders to abolish bathroom germs, and are especially recommended for people who tend to have allergic reactions to the commercial alternatives.

There you have it; your introduction to leading a clean, green, environmentally sound life, at least where sterilising your home is concerned! Use the recipes and tips above to keep your home and family protected from diseases and harmful chemicals with Maid For You’s simple and effective DIY disinfectants.

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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