A small glass bottle of essential oil next to aloe vera.

3 DIY Cleaning Supplies & Disinfectants

By Sarah Sumner Kuhn
Published

With concerns around the spread of COVID-19 increasing daily, it's easy to feel like wrapping yourself in bubble wrap to completely isolate during these unprecedented times. Although not always convenient, one thing we've learned we could all be doing more of is washing our hands and disinfecting all the things!

Deep cleaners and antibacterial products can get pricey (not to mention products like hand sanitizer and commercial cleaners are quickly disappearing from grocery store shelves), but making your own will cost you a fraction of the price. Recycle your used bottles by cleaning them really well and fill them with these cost-effective homemade cleaning concoctions.

Homemade antibacterial hand soap

According to the CDC, keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and from spreading germs.1 Whether you're sick or not, a lot of hand washing is currently being done. Here's a good recipe from Pronounce.2 I personally like this one because it's moisturizing, too (all that hand washing leaves my hands dry).

Here's what you need:

  • Soap container with hand pump
  • Distilled water
  • Liquid Castile soap
  • Almond oil
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Essential oils of your choice

Here's how to make it:

  1. Pour liquid Castile soap into bottle up to 1/4 full
  2. Add 2 Tbsp of almond oil
  3. Add 1 Tbsp of vegetable glycerin
  4. Add in essential oils: lavender (15 drops), cedar wood atlas (8-10 drops) & tea tree (8-10 drops)
  5. Add in distilled water to top off and add the hand pump

Homemade disinfectant spray

Have you ever read the list of chemicals found in common commercial disinfecting products? I had no idea that some trigger asthma.3 It makes sense now why sometimes I've found myself gasping for air after spraying cleaner. This disinfectant spray from LiveSimply4 will not only help keep your home clean but will also avoid nasty adverse effects.

Here's what you need:

  • 16 oz. spray bottle
  • 100 proof or higher vodka OR vinegar - 1 cup (vinegar will be cheaper, but I recommend using whatever you have in your cabinets at home)
  • White distilled vinegar or more vodka - 1 cup
  • Tea tree or lavender essential oil - 50-60 drops (this is an antibacterial agent)

Here's how to make it:

  1. Pour 1 cup vinegar (or vodka) into 16 ounce spray bottle
  2. Add essential oils, replace lid and shake to combine
  3. Add 1 cup vinegar (or more vodka), replace lid and shake again
  4. Label bottle

Tip: Spot test before use. Vinegar should be avoided on granite, marble or other stone surfaces because the acid may dull and weaken the sealant over time.

What surfaces in your home are touched most frequently

According to the CDC, cleaning and disinfecting high-tough surfaces daily (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks) will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in homes.5

  • Tables
  • Hard-backed chairs
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Remotes
  • Handles
  • Desks
  • Toilets
  • Sinks

Homemade hand sanitizer

While hand sanitizer isn't effective on all germs, it is recommended when you can't wash with soap and water, or if you want added protection after washing with soap and water.6 Nebraska Medical Center has a basic recipe to make your own hand sanitizer with a few items you may already have around the house.

Here's what you need:

  • A clean, empty container, such as a 3 oz. travel bottle
  • Minimum 91% isopropyl alcohol - 2/3 cup
  • Aloe Vera gel - 1/3 cup
  • Essential oil for scent (optional)

Here's how to make it:

  1. In mixing bowl, mix alcohol and Aloe Vera gel until fully mixed
  2. Add essential oils and stir
  3. Using the funnel, pour mixture into travel container
  4. Close lid and label bottle

Recap: Wash Your Hands

Although it's nothing fancy, always remember there isn't much that can beat simply washing your hands often with soap and water. Visit EPA.gov for a complete list of all disinfectants that meet EPA's criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.7 Also check out Better Homes & Gardens for a list of more homemade cleaners.

Sources:

1 Staff. (2018, September 17). Show Me the Science - Why Wash Your Hands? Retrieved from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html

2 Staff. (2020, March 13). Super Moisturizing DIY Antibacterial Hand Soap (Leaves Your Hands Silky Smooth & Ready for Handshakes). Retrieved from Pronounce: https://pronounceskincare.com/diy-moisturizing-antibacterial-hand-soap-leaves-your-hands-silky-smooth/

3 Vincent, M. J. (2017, September 1). Chemical-induced asthma. Retrieved from National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5650922/

4 Marr, K. (n.d.). Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant and Deodorizing Spray. Retrieved from Live Simply:https://livesimply.me/homemade-disinfectant-spray/

5 Staff. (2020, March 6). Clean and Disinfect. Retrieved from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html

6 Duda, K. RN. (2020, March 23). How to Properly Use Hand Sanitizer. Retrieved from Very Well Health: https://www.verywellhealth.com/should-you-use-hand-sanitizer-770727

7 Staff. (2020, March 19). Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. Retrieved from EPA: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

Sarah Sumner Kuhn
About
Sarah Sumner Kuhn
Read more from Sarah
As the youngest of seven children and raised by a single mother, financial security was not a mainstay. My money mindfulness was fueled by fear rather than a desire to be educated or successful. After several years working in retail banking and embracing financial responsibility, I've gained monetary experience that continues to help me grow on the daily.

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