During cold, flu, and virus season, using homemade sanitizing products to keep hands and surfaces clean may make the difference between staying well and getting sick. Thorough hand washing with soap and water should always be your first line of defense against germs, but in a pinch, these DIY products can help as well. These simple DIY sanitizing products can help you clean hands and other surfaces in order to kill germs.
How to Make Sanitizing Hand Spray
Sanitizing hand spray is made mostly from isopropyl alcohol, which is the most effective ingredient for killing germs. In the absence of isopropyl alcohol, you can also use vodka or everclear. The essential oil blend here is called thieves oil, which is known for its disinfecting properties. It also makes the spray smell good while aloe and vitamin E add conditioners to keep your hands from drying out with all of the alcohol in the spray.
- Add the alcohol or vodka to a 3 ounce spray bottle.
- Use a pin to prick the vitamin E capsule and squeeze 6 drops of the vitamin E oil into the bottle.
- Add the thieves oil and aloe vera.
- Top with the water.
- Shake well and use as a hand spray.
Thieves Oil Recipe
If you don't have thieves oil or can't find it, you can use 10 drops of any disinfectant essential oil including thyme, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, clove, cinnamon, tea tree, orange, or oregano oils. You can also make your own thieves oil and add it to sanitizers or diffuse it into your spaces. In an amber colored bottle, combine equal amounts of the following essential oils:
- Cinnamon bark
You can add the oil to any disinfectant recipe to boost anti-germ properties. If you wish to use the oil directly, add 2 to 3 drops to 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Never put undiluted essential oil directly on skin.
How to Make DIY Antibacterial Surface Spray
While many people use vinegar as a disinfectant, there are far more effective products you use that kill a higher percentage of germs on surfaces. This homemade antibacterial counter spray will kill about 99 percent of germs. Combined with steam heat using a household steamer, it's even more effective.
- ¼ cup 70% or higher isopropyl alcohol
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ distilled water
- 20 drops thieves oil or another disinfecting essential oil
- Combine all ingredients in a large glass spray bottle.
- Shake before using.
Using Spray Disinfectant
To use, spray on surfaces liberally and allow to sit for four full minutes before wiping with a clean cloth or a paper towel. Always wipe in one direction so you don't inadvertently recontaminate the surface. If using steam, after wiping away, steam the counter with a steamer and then wipe with another clean cloth or paper towel.
How to Make DIY Antibacterial Cleaning Wipes
The most difficult thing to find for this recipe is a sealable glass container large enough to hold a roll of paper towels. However, you can also separate the paper towels and stack them in a container to have the same results.
- 1 roll of paper towels
- 1 cup everclear or 70% or higher isopropyl alcohol
- 1 tablespoon dish soap
- 10 drops of thieves oil (or another disinfecting essential oil)
- 2 cup warm distilled water
- Put the paper towels in a large, sealable glass container.
- In a large glass picture or measuring cup, combine the alcohol or vodka, dish soap, thieves oil, and distilled water. Mix well.
- Pour over the paper towels. Seal and allow the paper towels to absorb the liquid for about 30 minutes.
- To use, wipe surfaces in one direction.
DIY Antibacterial Hand Soap
Just using regular soap and water and washing your hands appropriately is the most effective way to kill germs on your hands. However, if you feel you need some extra disinfecting during cold and flu season, you can make an antibacterial hand soap.
- 4 ounces liquid castile soap
- 10 drops oregano oil
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- 10 drops orange essential oil
- In a jar or hand soap dispenser, combine the castile soup, oregano oil, tea tree oil, and orange oil.
- Shake to mix.
You can also substitute 30 drops of thieves oil for the individual essential oils.
Tips for Minimizing Germs
When sanitizing is important in protecting your health, there are some additional tips you can use to keep your hands clean and your surfaces sanitized.
- Use clean towels or paper towels when wiping surfaces and drying hands to avoid contaminating surfaces.
- Wash your hands frequently, particularly after you've been out of the house or in the room of someone who is ill.
- Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds with soap before rinsing to remove germs.
- Thoroughly spray surfaces to saturated and let cleaners sit on them for four minutes before wiping with a clean towel or paper towel.
- Don't reuse towels for sanitizing.
- Don't use sponges, which can hold bacteria and are difficult to sanitize.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you when you go out in public, but use it in a pinch; it's no substitute for thorough hand washing, which is your first line of defense against germs.
When Someone in Your House Is Sick
If someone in your house is sick, quarantine that person to one room and one bathroom and disinfect all surfaces in the house. Additionally:
- Serve food on disposable plates using disposable silverware and cups. Discard in a sealable garbage bag reserved just for these dishes kept outside of the house.
- Wash hands thoroughly after visiting the sick rooms.
- Wash laundry after the person is well separately and transport it in a laundry basket so you don't "hug" the possibly infected bedding.
- When that person is healthy again, sanitize all surfaces including remote controls, light switches, faucets, cell phones, computer keyboards, or anywhere else the person touches.
Limit Your Exposure to Germs
While you don't need to be germ phobic, even during outbreaks of cold, flu, or other illnesses, it helps to be cautious. Limit your exposure to germs by regularly washing and/or sanitizing your hands and wiping down any surfaces that may hold bacteria or viruses. With some careful care paid to hygiene practices, you can minimize your chances of getting sick.