Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. Banish the germs from your house for good! Multi-purpose and only 3 ingredients!

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.

Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. Banish the germs from your house for good! Multi-purpose and only 3 ingredients!

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.

Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. Banish the germs from your house for good! Multi-purpose and only 3 ingredients!

Alcohol may be used for much more than a strong cocktail. It’s also a very handy DIY ingredient, as well as vinegar and particular essential oils.

Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. Banish the germs from your house for good! Multi-purpose and only 3 ingredients!

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. 

Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. Banish the germs from your house for good! Multi-purpose and only 3 ingredients!

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!

More Natural Ways to Protect Against Unwanted Germs

Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray
4.73 from 11 votes

Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray

3 ingredient disinfecting spray.
Kristin Marr
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course Homemade
Cuisine Cleaning
Servings 16 oz


  • 1 1/2 cups 100 proof alcohol (vodka) or higher get the highest proof alcohol you can find (in some states you can buy 190 proof, which is Everclear, if not at least 100 proof) or at least 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol can damage painted and varnished surfaces so it's best to spot test first.*
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar or more alcohol
  • 50-60 drops tea tree essential oil or lavender essential oil (optional)



*100 proof alcohol does not equal 100% alcohol. There has been some confusion about this, as this is different in some countries. In the US (where I live), a 40% ABV (alcohol by volume) is 80 proof and one that is 45% ABV is 90 proof. And so on. A 50% ABV is 100 proof and it goes higher from there. 
The essential oil is added as an antibacterial ingredient. Hydrogen peroxide can also work as a disinfectant when used straight (not diluted with anything and don't mix with vinegar!). Just be careful with hydrogen peroxide as it can bleach colored fabrics. 
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.
CORONA VIRUS UPDATE: With coronavirus on the rise, this post is particularly helpful from a pediatrician. She specifically addresses coronavirus. I'm not a doctor or disease specialist. Please consult your doctor and the CDC website to do your own research about the best ways to protect your family. The CDC recommends disinfectants contain 60% alcohol or higher.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Homemade Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. Banish the germs from your house for good! Multi-purpose and only 3 ingredients!

Disclaimer: The DIY recipes on this website are based on my personal experiences. I am not a trained chemist, cleaning specialist, or skincare expert. The DIY recipes shared on this website haven’t been tested in a lab. Information about my products or recipes haven’t been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult a doctor or specialist for specific concerns about any skincare issues, cleaning products, or dietary needs. Please use your discretion, based on your own research, when making homemade products.


  1. 5 stars

    My name is Liz and I am the WebAdmin for our Church website, http://www.pahoasacredheart.org. Since the Coronavirus came up, I have been looking on the internet for homemade sanitizers. I came across your recipe, followed your ingredients and I have to say, it is the BEST. I can’t thank you enough for coming up with this stuff.

    I was wondering if it will be okay with you if I could link on our church website the recipe. We are located on the Big Island of Hawaii. We cannot find any hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, sprays, etc. All credit to you of course.

    We will be forever grateful to you.

    ps: I also have a blog and I would love to post and link your website.

    Aloha, Liz M.

    1. Hi Liz, thank you so much for the kind words! Means a lot to LS.

      Yes, you are able to do that. Thanks for wanting to share!

      LS Team.

  2. Thank you for this amazing and wonderful DIY disinfectant ingredients, Kristin!
    However, before I start making this, I want to ask two questions: 1) Can I use this spray to disinfect clothes & 2) Is this ‘baby-friendly’, where in I can use to clean baby toys?

    1. 4 stars
      PS (Lavender oil is toxic to cats also — but not for dogs. Why? Because dogs’ livers process chemicals/oils differently than do cats’ livers.)

  3. Is this much Tea Tree safe for use around pets? I’m just starting looking for a receipe and I’m curious. Thank you

  4. If you have pets, make sure you check which essential oils are toxic to them before you start mixing and spraying! Tea tree doesn’t play nice with cats, for example.

  5. Would you recommend using Oregano essential oil either with or in place of the Tea Tree oil? I’ve read that it is a great disinfectant.

  6. I made this recipe using vinegar, rubbing alcohol and thieves for the substitutions. I do not recommend that at all. It came out smelling like a Big Mac!!! Lol

  7. 5 stars
    So glad I found your blog! I bought your book too!! After my daughter ate some store bought carpet powder (she’s fine, thank God!) and after fighting a bout of strep throat in my home, I think I’m ready to make the switch to some natural cleaning solutions!
    Quick question on this disinfectant spray: what is its shelf life?

  8. So what about 80 proof or the 100 proof ? It seems most people purchase higher proofs for cocktails…….funny how anyone commenting is an expert ? I mean really who buys less than 80 proof?….I guess Brian ??? I think you should remove Brian’s comment ??

  9. After reading through the comments, will both of these recipes work as kitchen wipes and spray:

    1/2 distilled or boiled water
    1/2 white distilled vinegar
    50-60 drops tea tree essential oil


    3/4 distilled or boiled water
    1/2 white distilled vinegar
    1/2 high proof vodka or rubbing alcohol
    50-60 drops tea tree essential oil

  10. Like the idea of this recipe but it will sure open your sinuses! When using the rubbing alcohol and vinegar can I increase the water to a cup to help with the strong smell ? Or will that decrease the effectiveness of disenfecting?
    Also how long does the solution need to sit on a surface to actually disenfect it?
    Thanks for reading all of this!

  11. I actually. Used wintergreen rubbing alcohol , vinegar, and water only. No oils. Im using it to disinfect the couch I slept on when I had a cold. It smells minty fresh now.

  12. how long can this recipe be effective/potent? I probably can’t finish the whole bottle in one go. Of course I can always reduce the proportion but i wanted to avoid the hassle

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