How to Make a Natural Disinfectant Spray

Decrease the toxic chemicals in your home and opt for a natural disinfectant spray that's healthy and easy to make!
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Glass bottle filled with natural disinfectant spray.
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In this modern day and age, the world is full of harmful substances from the food we eat to the household products we use every day. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency only requires companies to list ingredients that are active disinfectants or potentially harmful. Making your own natural disinfectant spray is just one small way we can make a change.

Not only can these products be dangerous, but they can also be very expensive. Over the years we’ve transitioned our home to store-bought cruelty-free and “green” cleaners, but these come with an even higher price tag. What you may not realize is that you most likely have all of the products you would need to keep your house clean hiding in your pantry and medicine cabinet!

Plastic spray bottle with text overlay "homemade cleaning spray."

Why You Should Avoid Conventional Cleaners

Toxic Load

Conventional cleaners may seem harmless because of how frequently they are used, but many contain potent chemicals that can cause unnecessary risks. Most surface cleaner sprays contain toxins such as phthalates (a hormone disruptor that can trigger asthma and migraines), 2-butoxyethanol (which can contribute to lung, kidney, and liver damage), and some products even contain “preservatives that release low levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde.” (1) Yikes.

Environmental Effects

Not only are the chemicals being used in cleaners impacting people’s health in a negative way, but they are also causing significant contamination to our planet. When a cleaner is flushed down the toilet or rinsed down a bathtub or a sink, waste removal processes remove a lot of the chemicals, but many aren’t filtered out.

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia are common contaminants that aren’t filtered out and can cause major issues. While these are natural elements of our ecosystem, when massive loads of these nutrients are dumped into streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean, it can cause “nutrient pollution,” which offsets the balance of the ecosystem causing huge problems. (2)

More Cost Effective to Make Your Own

Making homemade cleaners is extremely easy, just as effective, and eliminates the risks of being exposed to dangerous chemicals. And, making your own cleaners will also save your family a lot of money! A spray bottle of surface cleaner typically costs $4 – $5, while a gallon of white vinegar typically costs $3 – $4 and can be used to make countless bottles of natural cleaners. Win-win-win!

Kind To Animals

Many conventional cleaning products and companies rely on outdated animal testing which is cruel, ineffective, and unnecessary. Today it’s easy to find safe, natural products that are also cruelty-free. Even major retailers like Target and Walmart offer many products that are cruelty-free (look for “cruelty-free” or the leaping bunny symbol on the label).

Key Ingredients

It’s easier than ever to eliminate unnecessary chemicals when all you need are three simple ingredients and a few minutes to mix it all up!

  • White vinegar – This natural cleaning powerhouse is great for breaking down mildew, dirt, and hard water stains, and is a natural disinfectant!
  • Water – Use water to dilute the vinegar to suitable levels for cleaning without being too harsh. You can use regular tap water or distilled water if you plan to use the spray on glass and want to avoid streaks.
  • Essential oils – Lemon essential oil is great for cleaning and adds a lovely fresh scent. For additional antibacterial properties, consider adding tea tree oil.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure to shake up your natural disinfectant spray before each use to evenly distribute the essential oils.
  • Use a glass spray bottle, preferably amber, green, or cobalt. These dark color bottles prevent the essential oils from breaking down from exposure to light.
Green and amber glass spray bottles.

How To Use This Natural Disinfectant Spray

The power of vinegar is really versatile and great for use all around the home. Here are the best ways to use this homemade cleaning spray:

  • Appliances like coffee makers, microwaves, and even glass top ranges can be cleaned with this solution. Just avoid parts that are metal or rubber as the vinegar will rust and eat away at them.
  • Mirrors and windows
  • Countertops—As long as they’re not stone like granite or marble. Vinegar will eat away at the coating due to its high acidity so for stone countertops use dish soap and water instead.
  • Faucets
  • Showers and tubs
Hand with a green rubber glove on holding a glass spray bottle of natural homemade cleaner.

More Natural and Cruelty-Free Guides

As you run out of your usual cleaners this year, instead of restocking with conventional cleaners, try upgrading to more natural cruelty-free brands or swapping it out with homemade, vinegar-based cleaners! You’ll be surprised at how effectively they work and how much money you’ll save as well. Here are more guides to help you get started:

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Natural Disinfectant Spray {3 Ingredients}

Author: Dr. Kasey Johnson
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This natural, homemade, chemical-free surface cleaning spray is extremely easy, cheap, and just as effective as a store-bought cleaning spray!
Glass bottle filled with natural disinfectant spray.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Servings 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 10-20 drops essential oil, Lemon essential oil is an amazing cleaning agent!

Instructions

  • Add the white vinegar, water, and essential oil to a spray bottle, shake it up, and it’s ready to use!
Love this Recipe? Leave a Rating!And follow @Vegan on Instagram for more.

This homemade cleaning spray guide was written with support from Dr. Kasey Johnson.

Resources:

1. Environmental Working Group: Cleaning Supplies & Your Health
2. Environmental Protection Agency: Chemicals and Toxins

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