Contributor post written by Marie of HumbleBee and Me.
My kitchen counters are very well used. Over the course of a week they might see the making of a few pounds of soap, serve as a dump zone for bags of groceries, act as an impromptu seating area, take a bread-kneading beating, supervise the preparation of a myriad of meals, and endure several frustrated glances from yours truly for looking so disheveled (sorry, counters, that’s my fault, not yours).
That’s where this awesome disinfecting kitchen spray comes in. Starring a few of my favorite safe cleaning ingredients, it comes together in a flash and leaves counters, stove tops, and more looking (and smelling) their best.
The majority of this spray is a 50/50 blend of white vinegar and water. White vinegar is a wonderful cleaning ingredient—inexpensive, safe, and effective.
To this base I’ve added a blend of rubbing alcohol and Bandits oil, an essential oil blend you can make yourself, or purchase as Thieves® Oil or Germ Fighter Oil. Bandits oil is a powerful blend of antibacterial and antiviral essential oils like lemon and clove. Legend has it the blend was developed by a group of thieves while the Black Plague ravaged Europe so they could rob its victims. It’s not the happiest of tales, but certainly illustrates how strong of a disinfectant this blend of botanicals is.
When combining essential oils (which are oil soluble) in a water base you need an emulsifier or solvent of some kind to disperse the essential oils so they don’t just float to the top. That’s what the rubbing alcohol is for. High proof alcohol will dissolve essential oils, and that alcohol/essential oil mixture can then be added to a water base, where the essential oils will disperse reasonably well. It’s not quite an emulsion, but it helps reduce the need for vigorous shaking. The alcohol also lends additional disinfecting power to the final product.
Once everything is mixed up you’ll be left with a hazy looking bottle of citrus-spice scented DIY disinfecting spray. I like to spritz down my counters and stove, let it sit for a minute, and then wipe everything down. Disheveled counter tops be gone!
- Measure the rubbing alcohol and bandits essential oil into the bottom of a trigger spray bottle or mister bottle with a 2 cup (500mL) capacity and let rest for approximately 5 minutes. What we're doing here is giving the alcohol a chance to dissolve the essential oils a bit, meaning they will disperse better in this water-based solution. This isn't quite an emulsion, but does a nice job of helping the essential oils disperse while adding a bit of disinfecting punch from the alcohol. Please do be sure to use a brand of rubbing alcohol that's at least 70% alcohol—weaker solutions won't dissolve the essential oils very well.
- Once the rubbing alcohol and essential oils have sat for at least five minutes, measure out the vinegar and water into the spray bottle. Cap and shake gently to combine.
When you introduce water into a product without a preservative you always run the risk of introducing bacteria, so use water-based products quickly.
To use, spray over your counters, stove top, or anywhere else that needs a good cleaning, and wipe down with a damp sponge.
Learn how to make your DIY cleaner bottles using vinegar bottles here.
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