How To DIY Your Own Homemade Cleaners and Disinfectants

Written by

Chantal Lamers

9:00 am
03/26/20

Photography by June Home Supply

In a matter of weeks, a visit to the market has gone from routine to tense, especially when going in search of necessities such as cleaner, disinfectant, and hand-sanitizer. The good news is that with a handful of ingredients, some of these recipes are fairly easy to throw together at home. We rounded up several do-it-yourself formulations that include both virus-killing hydrogen peroxide and (harder-to-find) 70-90 percent isopropyl alcohol. While liquid castile soap doesn’t kill viruses, it’s often easier to find and it can remove and wash harmful germs and bacteria away from hands and surfaces. Check out our full list of DIY cleaners and disinfectants below to get started!

Citrus and Thyme Disinfectant Spray
If you have access to fresh fruits and herbs, co-founder of June Home Supply Joel Cyr shared a garden-inspired recipe that can be crafted with your choice of leftover citrus peels and fresh sprigs of thyme.

“Peel and place two grapefruits and two lemons, ensuring peels are clean and free of fruit, in a clean jar. Add 10-15 sprigs of thyme. Pour 1 ½ cups of 70-90 percent rubbing alcohol, ¼ cup white vinegar, and ¼ cup water (omit if alcohol is less than 90% strength) into the jar. Make sure to cover the peels and thyme. As an option, add 30 drops of orange essential oil. Let the mixture sit for at least a week for all ingredients to infuse properly. Pour the liquid into a new jar or bowl while straining out the peels and thyme. Transfer the strained liquid into a spray bottle and enjoy!”

Castile Cleaning Wipes
Lisa Bronner, spokesperson for Dr. Bronner’s, and granddaughter of the company’s founder Emanuel Bronner, pens the blog Going Green With a Bronner Mom. The blog is chock-full of Bronner-based cleaning recipes, including this easy soap-based recipe for making reusable or disposable wipes.

“For reusable wipes, cut up an old t-shirt or two into wipe-sized squares. For disposable wipes, use a paper towel roll cut in half. Fold and place the wipes in a glass or plastic container. To make the solution, combine 1 1/2 cups filtered, distilled, or boiled then cooled water. Add 1 tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap or 1/2 tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. Add ¼ tsp or 20 drops of tea tree essential oils. Mix, then pour the solution over the wipes. Let them sit for 20 minutes to soak up the liquid. The wipes have a shelf life of 1-2 weeks.”

DIY Hand Sanitizer
Sarah Flowers, author of Cleaning Hacks: Your All-Natural, Go-To Solutions for Spots, Stains, Scum, and More! has a natural living website where she writes about natural living. Below she’s sharing a few of her homemade recipes, from hand sanitizer to disinfectant.

“Hand sanitizer can come in handy to kill germs from hands when you don’t have access to soap and water,” says Flowers. “Since hand sanitizer can be hard to come by right now, you can make your own at home. As long as the solution contains at least 60% alcohol, it should be just as effective as store bought. Remember that hand sanitizer isn’t effective if your hands are soiled or greasy. Be sure your hands are dry before applying hand sanitizer to allow the solution to work effectively.”

“To make it, combine 2/3 cup rubbing alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol) with 1/3 cup aloe vera gel and stir. To use, apply liberally to hands, and rub hands together for about 20 seconds, then let air dry.”

Disinfect with Hydrogen Peroxide
“Since bleach is toxic and can cause a host of health problems, including eye and skin irritation and burns, respiratory distress, nervous system disfunction, and more, I prefer to disinfect surfaces with with hydrogen peroxide, which is safer,” says Flowers. “Unlike bleach, hydrogen peroxide is widely available right now. To use, spray surfaces liberally, and let it sit for at least a minute to allow it to disinfect before wiping clean.”

Baking Soda As A Scouring Powder
“The abrasive texture of baking soda makes it a wonderful natural substitute for scouring your shower, sinks, and bathtub. Just sprinkle liberally, scrub, and rinse clean. Add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar for even more cleaning power.”

Fore more advice on an Earth-friendly home, check out our pieces on 30 Ways To Decrease Your Carbon Footprint As A Family and 10 Tips For A Greener Household.

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