Turning a house into a home means curating a space that evokes eloquence, tranquility, and finesse. With all the care poured into your curtains, cupboards, and kitchen countertops, why should you stop at your home disinfectant cleaners?
Opting for natural disinfectants can make a world of difference for any homemaker. They’re multifunctional and easy to find—so you may even have a few hiding in your cabinets. Natural disinfectants can not only rid your home of harsh chemicals, but also save you money.
Nothing says welcome home like a breath of natural, fresh air. Discover the benefits, practices, and versatility of these 6 natural disinfectants and keep your house feeling tasteful and tidy.
Why Should I Use Natural Disinfectants?
If you're wondering “what is a natural disinfectant?” you're not the first. It's essentially a naturally occurring product that kills unwanted germs.
So, why should you choose a natural disinfectant over one of the many products lining the household cleaning aisle at the store?
To name a few reasons, natural disinfectants:
- Avoid toxic chemicals – It’s no surprise that there are many harsh chemicals in cleaning products that come from common big cleaning brand names. While these products are marketed as the most powerful household cleaners, these conventional disinfectants can pose health risks. Prolonged, concentrated exposure to these chemicals can be dangerous to humans and pets—unlike their natural disinfectant counterparts, which are organic and therefore safe.
- Are better for the environment – Using natural disinfectant offers an eco-friendly household cleaning solution. By using biodegradable ingredients that break down naturally, you can positively impact the earth while keeping your home spotless.
- Feel gentle on skin – Some chemical cleaners can feel harsh on sensitive skin. Some, like bleach, can cause irritation or allergic reactions. A natural alternative can help protect your sensitive skin from unnecessary irritants and reactions.
These reasons only swipe the surface of non toxic disinfectants' potential. The tools you need to start your organic cleaning journey start right here.
#1 White Vinegar
Vinegar contains a compound called acetic acid, which aids in breaking down bacteria. Sitting middle-of-the-road on the abrasive scale, vinegar offers a gentle touch for your day-to-day cleaning needs. White vinegar diluted in water can help disinfect your:
- Laundry – Just a ½ cup of vinegar in your load of laundry can help banish dirt and strong odors. It can also replace bleach to brighten and whiten your garments.
- Floors – Keep high-traffic zones spot-free with a vinegar and water solution. You'll only need about ½ cup of vinegar per gallon of water. Once the floor sparkles, stow some of the mixture away for later and use it to spot-clean at a moment’s notice.
- Dishes – Add a bit of dish soap to your vinegar and water mixture and say farewell to stubborn grease and residue. If you have any of this powerful potion left over, take it to the bathroom and disinfect your counters and toilet.
Pro tip: Not all types of vinegar are appropriate for cleaning. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar can help naturally disinfect, but other kinds of vinegar are better suited for salads. You shouldn't use industrial vinegar (containing very high acidity) indoors at all.
Why go for lemon-scented cleaners when you could use the real deal? Lemons cost less, they smell fresher, and they can disinfect surfaces with the best of them. Due to their antimicrobial properties, lemons have a knack for killing bacteria and viruses.
With its natural anti-germ formula, you can use lemons to:
- Banish smells – Cut through strong odors with a lemon’s acidity to keep your home smelling fresh. Drop half a lemon down the garbage disposal with a dash of baking soda, or simmer some on the stove for a full-house refresh.
- Scrub surfaces – Slice your lemon in half and dip it in salt if you need some exfoliating power. Clean your cutting board, copper pot, or knives in record time.
- Remove stains – Soak stubborn stains on clothing, towels, or textiles in lemon juice. After an hour, you can use baking soda and water to remove any remaining spots.
When life gives you lemons, go on a cleaning spree. Their uniquely acidic properties and heavenly scent lend them a grove of cleaning advantages.
#3 Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most powerful natural cleaning and disinfecting agents. Health professionals trust it against harmful bacteria, antigens, and viruses. It’s used for a variety of disinfecting jobs, including cleaning cuts, removing earwax, and promoting dental hygiene.
When diluted, you can use hydrogen peroxide for tougher cleaning jobs at home, too.
It’s best to use a soaking method when using hydrogen peroxide to clean your home. A study done by the CDC showed that hydrogen peroxide was most effective when left for 30 minutes on the surface in question.
With that in mind, you can use hydrogen peroxide to clean:
- Toilet bowls
- Shaving razors
- Makeup blenders
- Shower tubs and walls
- Fruits and vegetables
Using hydrogen peroxide is easy because it bubbles up when it’s working—foaming once in contact with bacteria or fungi. This foaming occurs due to the catalase enzyme, which expedites the reaction and releases oxygen. Therefore, when any bubbling stops or slows, it's usually a fair sign to stop soaking and start rinsing.
Pro tip: Like vinegar, using the correct type of hydrogen peroxide is essential. 3% hydrogen peroxide cleans most effectively. If your peroxide has a slightly higher potency, dilute it with ½ cup or more of water.
#4 Hot Water
Many people know that boiling water can help expel bacteria from nearly any room of the house. We use it to deep-clean laundry, wash our dishes, disinfect cutting boards, and scrub our skin at the end of a long day.
But don’t just take hot water at face level. There are a few tricks of the tap available to get the most cleaning power out of your hot water:
- Ensure it’s hot enough – You want your water to be about 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal disinfectant results.
- Protect your skin – When working with hot water, wear protective gloves and goggles to shield your skin from burns. Soak the unclean objects in hot water to avoid long-term exposure to the extra heat.
- Add other cleaning agents – A study published by the Public Library of Science showed how water heated to 130 degrees was less effective at killing viruses. However, when combined with an oxidizing agent, it became more effective. With that in mind, you can combine additional cleansers for a more thorough clean.
Even in modern times, an age-old disinfectant can get the job done exceptionally well. Follow these standard hot water practices to enjoy a clean home straight from your faucet.
Another valuable alternative to chemical cleaners is alcohol. When between 60-90 percent concentrated, alcohol can effectively kill germs by dismantling their cell walls. This, in turn, makes it easier to wipe germs away from hard surfaces.
Create a penetrating natural cleaning solution by combining the following:
- Two cups of rubbing alcohol
- One tablespoon of liquid dish soap
- One tablespoon of white vinegar
- One tablespoon of ammonia
Combine them in a jug and top the mixture off with water. Now, you have an all-purpose cleaner that can sanitize residue on windows, mirrors, chrome fixtures, and more.
#6 Essential Oils
If you're in the market for a natural product to help you unwind, essential oils are a must-have. They can elevate lotions, candles, and soap with their luxurious aroma—all while cleaning like a calm breeze.
A handful of essential oils contain antimicrobial properties. Discovering the different uses behind these well-known oils can help you revitalize your cleaning routine:
- Tea tree – Combine one teaspoon of this essential oil with a cup of water to create a quality antibacterial spray perfect for mold and mildew. Keep the spray bottle in your shower for quick and easy tile touch-ups.
- Lavender – Lavender oil boasts antimicrobial properties and has even been shown to fight against a large number of antibiotic-resistant infections. It makes a delicate natural cleanser and can even double as an insect repellent.
- Peppermint – Awaken your senses with an essential oil that slows bacterial growth and wafts minty freshness throughout your home. Mix with water and vinegar for a fresh-smelling spray to keep germs at bay.
Pro tip: In comparison to other natural disinfectants, essential oils are on the milder side. Consider blending your essential oils with vinegar or alcohol for a more potent cleanser.
Clean Your Home Naturally with Archipelago
Ditch the harsh chemicals and welcome natural, organic cleanliness into your home. These natural disinfectants can do wonders for your health, home, and Mother Nature. Your house guests will plead for your secrets as they enter the foyer, only to be transported to a field of sparkling lavender bliss.
With Archipelago natural cleaners, you can skip the measuring, mixing, and stirring—because we’ve done it all for you. Our new natural cleaner contains natural ingredients that disinfect as well as store-bought bottles without harsh chemicals or irritants.
Find everything from kitchen soap to laundry detergent in our natural cleaning products line, all expertly formulated with natural ingredients like lavender, mint, alcohol, and citric acid. Fill up your cleaning tote and surround yourself with pure, natural clean.
US EPA. Identifying Greener Cleaning Products. https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/identifying-greener-cleaning-products
Martha Stewart. 13 Unexpected Ways to Use Lemon Around The House. https://www.marthastewart.com/1121333/uses-for-lemons-around-house?slide=afd67670-26c5-456d-8c16-77aa736b61fd#afd67670-26c5-456d-8c16-77aa736b61fd
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Table Four. https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/tables/table4.html
Greatorex, Jane S et al. “Effectiveness of common household cleaning agents in reducing the viability of human influenza A/H1N1.” PloS one vol. 5,2 e8987. 1 Feb. 2010, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008987. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813869/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chemical Disinfectants. https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/chemical.html
Wińska, Katarzyna et al. “Essential Oils as Antimicrobial Agents-Myth or Real Alternative?.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,11 2130. 5 Jun. 2019, doi:10.3390/molecules24112130. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6612361/