A Powerful Homemade Antibacterial Spray
Learn how to make a DIY disinfecting spray that is all natural, cheap, and powerful. This homemade antibacterial spray has three different methods to also make it antiviral. With options like essential oils, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol, there’s a recipe for everyone. Here’s a natural alternative to Lysol that will deodorize, sanitize, and kill harmful germs, bacteria, and viruses.
Make Your Own “Lysol” Alternative (Natural Disinfectant Spray)
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Sometimes I wish I could shower in disinfectant.
I live in a house full of germ carriers.
Snotty nosed, finger-licking, double-dipping germ carriers. As a mom of four delightful children, I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen a finger in places that fingers just shouldn’t go.
And then watch as said finger reaches out for me or trails the cloth of my couch.
Kids are gross.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re worth all the nasty!
And because they’re worth it, I disinfect my house and furniture and self constantly (ok, not constantly, but it sure does feel like that).
Unfortunately, most household disinfectants sold on the market are just poison in a bottle. I am sadly serious.
The main big brand and similar off-brands have ingredients that are toxic and kill not only bad bacteria, but good bacteria with it (which can actually lead to more sickness).
Some of the ingredients in store-bought disinfecting sprays are linked to cancer and various lung illnesses. All of the ingredients combined equal a product that has scary caution warnings…and if any gets sprayed in the face, you’re probably headed to the ER. Because it could destroy your eyeballs (yes, I’m very scientific in my details).
After learning all of this about Lysol, but seeing how germy and nasty kids are, I found that there’s a really healthy alternative to Lysol disinfecting spray.
Enter this homemade antibacterial spray.
Read next: How to Make Hand Sanitizer (antibacterial & antiviral)
Related: 9 Powerful DIY Cleaners that Cost Pennies to Make
Natural DIY Disinfecting Spray Ingredients
It only requires 3-4 ingredients that you have to buy (but might already have on hand) and water.
Here’s a little bit about the ingredients and why you want them in your homemade disinfecting spray.
Vodka. Vodka, ya’ll. I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for what feels like 7 years straight. So this is about all the alcohol I pour.
Vodka is a high-proof alcohol that does a fantastic job sterilizing whatever you’re spraying, but without knocking out the majority of good bacteria. Rubbing alcohol could also be used here if that’s what you have.
Please check updated recipe below following the CDC guidelines for an antiviral disinfectant spray
White vinegar is a beast when it comes to killing bad bacteria, mold, and pollutants. The smell can be strong at first, but the vinegary smell wears off very quickly, even though it continues working.
Vinegar is also scientifically shown to kill the flu virus, which means it can be a powerful antiviral component.
Want a DIY disinfectant spray without vinegar?
A few of my friends reached out and shared that they just can’t handle the smell of vinegar. If that’s you, there’s a solution for you!
Simply swap out the vinegar for double the essential oils OR for double the alcohol content. It will still be very effective.
Essential oils offer this homemade disinfecting spray a punch of germ-killing power (that’s a scientific term). Now which essential oils you use in your disinfecting spray is really up to you.
Some great antibacterial essential oils include Thieves blend, tea tree, lavender, peppermint, clove, cinnamon, and rosemary just to name a few.
Lavender and lemon are another favorite combo of mine. I go on peppermint and orange kicks often, too.
Just make sure that they are real, quality essential oils.
Read next: How to tell if your essential oils are FAKE or the real deal
My two favorite brands right now are Plant Therapy and Zongle Therapeutics.
For those of you with pets in the home, research which essential oils are safe for your furry friends. Tea tree oil is a no-no for dog owners.
Other Ways to Make Disinfectant Room Spray
Homemade Disinfectant Spray With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a fantastic ingredient for a DIY disinfecting spray.
According to the CDC, even 1.5% hydrogen peroxide has been shown to kill viruses, even the current pandemic virus.
To make a disinfectant spray with hydrogen peroxide, simply pour 3% hydrogen peroxide into a 16 oz spray bottle.
Add essential oils, like tea tree, clove, Thieves blend, or lemon.
Shake and spray on surfaces to disinfect.
NOTE: Hydrogen peroxide does have bleaching capabilities. This kind of disinfecting room spray is best used on hard surfaces, and not on cloth or unsealed fabric.
DIY Disinfecting Spray with Isopropyl Alcohol
This is an easy and inexpensive method for a quick disinfectant. The down side is that isopropyl is dangerous if ingested or sprayed in the eyes.
It is best kept out of reach of little hands.
When making this easy room spray, use at least 70% isopropyl alcohol. If you have 90-99% isopropyl, you’ll add either vinegar or water to it.
Vinegar actually remains on surfaces longer and has great antibacterial properties. I recommend using this if your alcohol is 90% or higher.
Pour isopropyl alcohol into a 16 oz spray bottle (glass is best!).
If using 90% or higher alcohol content, add in white vinegar.
Add in essential oils of choice, and shake well.
DIY Disinfectant Spray With Vinegar
Vinegar, as mentioned above, has excellent antibacterial properties.
It makes a great kitchen spray for this reason.
I keep a spray bottle of white vinegar in my kitchen to wipe down cutting boards and counters quickly.
It’s also food-safe, which is a plus in this area!
Vinegar, however, is not a great option to kill viruses. At least not alone.
To make a disinfectant room spray with vinegar, you” want to add it to either high proof vodka or isopropyl alcohol.
Because vinegar doesn’t dissipate as quickly as alcohol, it will remain on the surface longer, killing bad bacteria.
Simply add alcohol of choice (90% or higher) to a 16 oz glass spray bottle and top off with vinegar.
Add antiviral and antibacterial essential oils, twist the top on, and shake well before each use.
Homemade disinfectant spray essential oils combos:
- Springtime: 18 drops lemon and 12 drops lavender
- Icy fresh: 20 drops peppermint and 10 drops orange
- Green Clean: 12 drops tea tree, 10 drops peppermint, and 8 drops rosemary
- Warm and spicy: 14 drops cinnamon, 8 drops clove, 6 drops orange
- Squeeze of summer: 20 drops lemon and 10 drops of orange
What kind of bottle should you store your disinfectant spray in?
The kind of container you store your disinfecting spray in matters.
My top tip is this:
Use a glass bottle.
Alcohol and vinegar can both erode plastic over time, leeching plastic particles into your disinfectant spray.
Essential oils should always be stored in a glass bottle as well. They are extremely potent and will also erode plastic.
To protect essential oils, use a colored glass bottle such as amber or cobalt. Colored glass protects the essential oils from UV rays, which break down the essential oils and reduces their potency.
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Ingredients you need for your DIY Disinfectant
See antiviral measurements below for a more powerful disinfectant spray that is effective against the current virus.
- 1 cup filtered water
- ½ cup vodka (or rubbing alcohol), 40% alcohol content or higher
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 15-30 drops essential oils of choice
Please see April 2020 updated ingredients below to make this antiviral according to the CDC guidelines
- Legit, just pour in a spray bottle and shake.
- No seriously, you’re done
Antiviral disinfectant spray measurements
October 2020 Update: The CDC recommends disinfectants contain 70% alcohol to be antiviral. They have also found 3% hydrogen peroxide to be effective on the current virus.
To make this disinfectant hold to that standard, use the following measurements:
Antiviral Disinfectant with Isopropyl Alcohol:
- 1 1/2 cups isopropyl/rubbing alcohol, or high-proof vodka like Everclear, 90-99%
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 30 drops antiviral essential oils
Antiviral Disinfectant with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol:
- 1 1/2 cups isopropyl/rubbing alcohol, or high-proof vodka like Everclear, 70%
- 30 drops antiviral essential oils
Antiviral Disinfectant with Hydrogen Peroxide:
- 1 1/2 cups hydrogen peroxide, 3%
- 30 drops antiviral essential oils
*hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent. Be careful to avoid spraying colored fabric.
NOTE: No added water is needed for the antiviral disinfecting spray so that the alcohol or peroxide stays at the CDC recommendation.
Vinegar dilutes the higher percentages slightly, and is preferred over water as it lingers longer to fight other bacteria.
Read next: The Best DIY Foaming Hand Soap
Top 10 Antiviral Essential Oils
These are 10 of the most powerful antiviral oils, but they’re my favorite because of their versatility.
To Use Your DIY Disinfecting Spray
Spray any surface you want to disinfect with a fine mist and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. If desired, wipe away any left-over dampness with a dry cloth. You can also spray it and leave it.
Note: I would be careful spraying anything that alcohol could destroy. Some furniture finishes would do better if wiped down after spraying (I make sure to let the disinfectant sit on my dining room table for 5 minutes and then wipe with a cloth after so that it doesn’t damage the finish).
Can you use this DIY disinfectant spray for toys?
Absolutely! If made with vodka, this disinfecting spray is a great option for disinfecting kids’ toys. Especially because it is safer than most name brands.
If using vodka (not rubbing or isoproyl alcohol), this is a DIY disinfectant spray that is safe even for baby toys where they put them in their mouths.
Gently mist toys and allow the spray to sit for 10 minutes.
For baby toys that will be frequently going in a little’s mouth, wipe the toys after the 10 minutes is up with a dry rag to get any residue off and you’re set.
I use this disinfectant on my older son’s Legos and don’t bother to wipe them off.
Related Post: All Natural Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
I use this disinfectant spray on toys (especially the play kitchen toys…my kids just can’t seem to pretend to eat the play food), toilet seats, light switches, counters, tabletops, chairs, door handles, buttons/remotes, and the diaper changing station.
Pretty much everywhere.
I keep a bottle in a cabinet in each bathroom and a bottle in the kitchen/general area.
Now you can make your own safe, effective disinfecting spray. Because kids are gross…Adorably (and not so adorably) so. 😉