Two weeks ago, Mrs. Sniffles knocked on our “door.” I tried to convince her to leave with my homemade remedies, but she insisted on staying, so for the last two weeks we’ve been battling an unwelcome guest and nasty sinus infections.
Mrs. Sniffles was sure to pack every “present” for her extended stay, too: runny nose, sore throat, tiredness, etc. Thankfully, after lots of rest, vitamin C, sore throat tea, elderberry syrup shots, and elderberry soda, Mrs. Sniffles finally decided to pack-up her remaining luggage and move on. Hallelujah! It’s wonderful to have energy and a clear head again.
As it turns out, our family isn’t the only family who’s been affected by Mrs. Sniffles. She’s quite the experienced traveler! The entire school district in Pinellas County (where we live) has been hit hard by her visits. Some schools have seen dramatic decreases in weekly attendance since January.
Right now is the perfect time to start talking about (and using) a light disinfectant spray. Or shall I say a replacement for the stuff found on store shelves? I’m sure most of us have vivid memories of heavily-perfumed sprays due to their popular use in restaurant bathrooms, homes, and even classrooms.
Just the other day I noticed a store-bought spray and its infamous, headache-inducing scent in the women’s bathroom at Dustin’s work. Honestly, I don’t blame his work (or others) for using a store-bought spray, because marketing would lead me to believe that a store-bought solution, full of mystery ingredients, is the only way to properly clean and disinfect a room. Personally, I never once thought about what was in those sprays before our real food conversion, or even thought that a simple alternative may be sitting in my pantry or medicine cabinet.
Alcohol may be used for much more than a strong cocktail. It’s also a very handy DIY ingredient, along with vinegar.
Disinfecting is an activity that’s (generally) done after cleaning and, in my cleaning opinion, needs to be done much less often in the average home. “Disinfecting…refers to killing a high percentage of the germs on a surface or rendering them incapable of reproducing.” (source)
Disinfecting takes care of more than just dirt, grease, or dust. I don’t believe disinfecting every surface on a regular basis is essential in a modern-day home, thanks to indoor plumbing and healthy hygiene practices. Now when Mrs. Sniffles comes knocking, or I cut raw meat on my favorite cutting board, I’m all about using a homemade disinfectant spray. PS: I share my preferred approach for disinfecting a cutting board at the bottom of my recipe.
And that, my friend, is exactly why I mixed up a bottle of my simple 3-ingredient homemade spray this past week. Take that Mrs. Sniffles!
Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray
- 1/2 cup high-proof vodka or rubbing alcohol or vinegar
- 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 50-60 drops tea tree essential oil or lavender essential oil
Pour the vodka into a 16oz. spray bottle, and then the essential oil(s). Shake the bottle to combine the vodka and oils. Finally, add the vinegar and water, and shake the bottle again.
Recipe Update: This recipe originally called for alcohol, water, and tea tree. A few readers expressed concern with my recipe. As always, I want to share recipes that are effective. Live Simply is a personal blog, and I share recipes that I’m using in my home–with the desire to pass these recipes on to my kids. But I also realize that many others now read Live Simply, so I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to always provide the best recipes I know how to create. After taking their comments into consideration, I’ve updated my original formula to include vinegar. You can also see my current go-to all-purpose spray (which I also use as a disinfectant in my home), here.
Essential Oil Note: I’ve also used a Bandit Oil (Thieve’s Oil or Germ Destroyer) blend in my spray. Learn more about the science behind using essential oils for disinfecting.
Cutting Board Note: When it comes to disinfecting cutting boards (after cutting raw meat), I disinfect the surface using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (do not combine these ingredients in one bottle!); the order doesn’t matter. First spray one ingredient, letting the disinfectant rest for five minutes, then wipe the surface with a cloth. Finally, repeat with the second disinfectant. Wait five minutes, then wipe the surface with the cloth. You can see the entire process in this cutting board post. Another disinfectant spray option in the kitchen is a Bandit Oil Spray.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #LIVESIMPLYBLOG. I'd love to see what you make!
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