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Top 4 Natural Disinfectants

There are a handful of products you can use to naturally disinfect and sanitize your home. You probably already have them in your home. They are all effective in killing germs and sanitizing surfaces and toys. Again, remember if you are following CDC recommendation stick with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol or ethanol (drinking alcohol like vodka) at 70% or higher alcohol content.

Let’s go over each one and I’ll explain the best places to use them:

1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide at 3% or higher an be used on most surfaces to disinfect. You can just put a spray nozzle on the bottle to disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, toilet seats, etc. Opt for food-grade hydrogen peroxide to disinfect surfaces that touch food like cutting boards or the lids of canned food you buy from the store.

Avoid using on carpets, upholstery, curtains, and fabrics (unless you want to whiten) as it is a natural bleach and will whiten. But you can use in the laundry if you’re looking to whiten naturally. Check out my DIY Bleach Alternative.

How to use to disinfect: Spray a cloth and wipe down surfaces like computer keyboards, cellphones, doorknobs, toilet seats, etc. to naturally disinfect. Use direct from the bottle or 1:1 dilution with water in a spray bottle. Clean toys by filling a tub half full with water and add about 1-2 cups of. Soak toys for about 30 minutes and then drain and allow to air dry. For laundry, add 1 cup to white clothes or towels and wash as usual in the washing machine with your favorite laundry detergent.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol (or isopropyl alcohol at 70% alcohol content or higher) is a powerful disinfectant but has a strong scent that requires a well ventilated area and open windows. Use it to clean toilets and tubs. Never clean with rubbing alcohol and bleach together. It creates a toxic mixture that can cause serious health issues. It can be used to clean fabrics and carpets to remove stains, but be sure to pre-check fabrics first.

Avoid using on furniture with finishes (like lacquered or varnished surfaces) as it will remove the finish. It is highly flammable so take caution.

How to use to disinfect: Spray direct or wipe on with a cloth on surfaces or dilute as needed in a spray bottle – either 1:1 or 1:2 with water.

3. Vinegar

Vinegar is one of my all-time favorite disinfectants. It can be used on many surfaces to clean and sanitize, including food surfaces, kitchens, floors, windows, tubs, tile, laundry and so much more. It’s my preferred method of cleaning produce like fruit and vegetables. Check out this DIY Produce Wash recipe. Now do keep in mind that it can kill some bacteria and viruses, but not all.

The downside with vinegar is the smell. Add lemon juice or essential oils to help with the scent. Vinegar is great in laundry and actually doesn’t leave a scent on fabrics when they’re washed. Check these 13 Surprising Ways to Use Vinegar.

Avoid using vinegar on granite, marble, stone floors or surfaces, hardwood floors, and iron. The acid in the vinegar can breakdown the natural stone, wood and iron.

How to use to disinfect: Spray direct or wipe on with a cloth on surfaces or dilute 1:1 in a spray bottle. For laundry, add 1 cup vinegar to washing machine and wash with clothes.

4. Vodka

Vodka (at 140 proof or higher) is a fantastic natural disinfectant on food surfaces like cutting boards and on fabrics like upholstery and curtains. Vodka naturally deodorizes fabrics and carpets, so it’s the cleaner of choice as a DIY Fabric Refresher without the harsh chemicals. It is flammable so take caution when using but it’s great as an all-around disinfectant.

How to use to disinfect: Put a spray nozzle on the bottle and spray direct on surfaces or dilute 1:1 in a spray bottle.

Make a Natural Disinfectant as Effective as Bleach

It is possible to make a natural disinfectant as effective as bleach. All you need is hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Now it’s important NOT to use the two together at the same time. Rather, use them separately to make a disinfectant that’s better than bleach.

  1. Clean surface with vinegar. Use a cloth or paper towel to wipe the area clean.
  2. Spray the surface with a 3% hydrogen peroxide (straight, not diluted) and let air dry.

This works really well for surfaces like doorknobs, tubs, tile, toilets, etc. You could even do this with cutting boards and use a food-grade hydrogen peroxide instead or if you’re comfortable using regular hydrogen peroxide you can do that.

Typically, for cutting boards or food prep I opt for vodka instead since it’s more readily available. That’s why I love this DIY Disinfectant Spray.

Closeup of blue spray bottle of natural disinfectant with lemons and flowers in background

About the Ingredients – Making A Natural Disinfectant Spray

Lemon peels

Lemon peels have antibacterial properties due to the essential oils in the rinds. It’s like when you squeeze a lemon you’ll see the oil on the rind. That’s the lemon essential oil. The oil itself is a powerful antibacterial that has even been shown to kill Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.

Lemon juice is a great sanitizer and kills some germs but it’s the lemon oil that’s more effective. Save the lemon juice to make my Homemade Natural Bleach.

Could you use lemon essential oil that you buy in a bottle? It depends on the source. Many essential oils are not 100% pure oils and may contain fillers or fragrance rather than actually essential oil. So unless you know the source – it’s best to use straight lemon peels or get essential oils from the source (this is what I use).


Vodka (at 140 proof or more) is a fantastic natural disinfectant and sanitizer. While it can have a strong scent straight out of the bottle, with this DIY Disinfectant Spray recipe it will smell amazing. Plus, vodka is a natural deodorizer so you can spray fabrics and carpets too. You don’t need expensive vodka (save that for the cocktails). Get the cheap vodka and use to make this simple DIY disinfectant spray.

Removing Residue and Adhesives

Ever wasted too many minutes of your life trying to remove sticky adhesives from price tags, product labels and stickers? You can rid of the stubborn gunk by spritzing the gummy substance with this spray. Let it sit for a few minutes, then use a bit of elbow grease to scrub away the goo, plus it disinfects – a win win! Lemon essential oil works really good as a goo and gunk remover too.

A Natural Disinfectant That Sanitizes and Shines

Give all of the glass surfaces in your home (windows, mirrors, glass coffee tables) a spotless shine. Use this spray to squirt a mist of vodka and lemon onto the glass surface. Buff the glass with a bunched up newspaper and watch all fingerprint smudges and other stains disappear to a streak-free gleam and again, it sanitizes.

Top Tips For This Natural Disinfectant

  • Allow your vodka lemon peel mix to sit for at least a week. But if not you can skip that step and still put fresh lemon peels in your disinfectant.
  • You can use the spray as a mold remover too.
  • Disinfect your mattress. This is great to do in the summertime when we tend to sweat more. Let the mattress dry completely before making the bed.

An overhead shot of whole lemons and cut lemons on a blue wooden surface

More DIY Recipes You Might Like

Did you try this DIY Disinfectant Spray? Don’t forget to rate it and comment below to let me know how it went. You can also FOLLOW ME on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see what other fun things I’m getting up to.

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DIY Disinfectant Spray [Homemade Lysol) |
DIY Disinfectant Spray (Homemade Lysol)

How to make your own disinfectant spray at home without toxic chemicals.

Keyword: chemical free cleaning spray
AuthorDon't Mess With Mama
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1.5 cups vodka (140 proof or higher)
  1. In a 16 oz spray bottle, add peels of 2-3 lemons.

  2. Fill jar with with 1.5 cups of vodka (140 proof or higher).

  3. Ideally, let lemon peels sit it the vodka for 1-2 weeks to get the lemon oil from the peels. If you don't have the time, you can start using right away.

  4. Shake well and put the spray nozzle on.

  5. To use, spray on surfaces and let sit for a minute to disinfect. Then wipe up with a paper towel.

Recipe Notes

You can add water as needed to this recipe depending on the proof of the vodka or alcohol used. For instance if you used alcohol with 95% alcohol content, you could do a about a 3:1 ratio with alcohol and water to meet the CDC 60% alcohol content recommendation for a disinfectant.


Photo credit: / el lobo