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!
Bandits Oil Disinfecting Kitchen Spray
- 2 TB rubbing/isopropyl alcohol 70–99% alcohol
- 40 drops bandits essential oil blend
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 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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DIY Glass and Stainless Steel Cleaner
Hey I have butcher block but I only wax them so they have no seal, what can I use as an everyday cleanser without hurting the wood
Hey Christine, That’s a good question. I would ask a butcher block specialist. I’m afraid to answer and ruin your wood.
Vinegar should NOT be used on granite at all. It is an acid, which gradually eats away at stone (remember learning about acid rain in school?). Just leave it out and this recipe is great for granite countertops! I use a similar recipe all the time and mine buff up to a perfect shine!
Hey Linden, Correct. We talk about this a lot on the blog. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for this! I ones at other recipes similar, but none of them have the science behind why you need the alcohol and some left it out completely. I used Melaleuca, lavender and lime EOs because I have small children and the Bandits oil recipe had some ingredients that aren’t 100% safe to use around small children.
Awesome, Mrs. Neuby! I’m so glad the information was helpful. I’m glad you customized the oils, too. Great work!
Kristin, how long after mixing all of the ingredients together is the kitchen spray effective? Do I need to mix a new batch each time?
Hey Dishan, The spray will last about 1-2 months :), just shake the bottle each time you use the spray.
Im wondering if i could use vegetable glycerin in place of the alcohol? No reason except I have no alcohol 🙂
Hey Tawny, I don’t think vegetable glycerin will work the same as the alcohol. The alcohol can be skipped; you’ll just want to shake the bottle before each application.
Ok great! I thought I read where vegetable glycerin can be used as an emulsifier. That’s why I asked. I know nothing about vegetable glycerin, lol. Thanks, I’m going to make this today!
Hey Tawny, I believe it can, but I haven’t had much luck with glycerin and oils in water. I think the water and oils will do the same job :).
I was wondering if you could use this to disinfect the air around the house?
Hey Tanisha, Definitely! This would be great. You could even add more vodka for an extra powerful spray.
I was just wondering if this kitchen spray can be used on granite counter tops?
Hey Kristi, I don’t have granite, so I personally don’t have experience with this cleaner and granite. I don’t think any of the ingredients will hurt sealed granite, but I’d double check with a granite company or a respected granite website.