Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

During this time, we’re all disinfecting our homes like mad. Lysol is flying off the shelves – people are literally hoarding the stuff. But did you know you can make your own disinfectant spray at home? You don’t have to panic buy tons of Lysol to keep your home clean, trust me. This homemade disinfectant spray will work just as well, if not better. There’s also an additional benefit: You know exactly what’s going in it! No questionable ingredients here. Just the necessary ones. Here’s how to make zero waste disinfectant spray.

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Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

Why should I make this zero waste disinfectant spray?

Lysol is flying off the shelves right now. It can be hard to actually get your hands on some.
My boyfriend told me a story he overheard: Someone took at least 20 cans of Lysol for themselves at a grocery store! You can imagine this lead to someone saying “leave some for the rest of us!”
Yikes, huh? That’s the opposite of what we want happening – Panic buying, people at each other’s throats. All of that isn’t ideal.
During this time, it’s better to make your own so you can avoid situations like that.
Also, Lysol tends to have a bunch of questionable ingredients in it. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Lysol may contain ingredients with potential for developmental, endocrine, and reproductive effects, along with respiratory effects. It also has the potentional for acute aquatic toxicity – aka, not good for the environment.
Is that really something we want to inhale while quarantined at home?
No, because it can also cause allergic reactions too. Ever wonder why you can’t breath or start to cough and sneeze after spraying the stuff? It’s no coincidence: Lysol is known to cause allergies.
However, making your own disinfect spray keeps things simple. It’s so easy, and it certainly won’t trigger your allergies like Lysol.
Plus it isn’t costly! You only need a few ingredients to make this disinfectant spray, and once you have them, you’ll be able to make several batches in the future.
Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

How do I know the spray will work?

According to the CDC, you want to use an alcohol that is at least 70 percent alcohol to disinfect surfaces.
You can use either ethanol (what’s in the alcohol you drink) or isoproyl (rubbing alcohol). Both are effective disinfectants, but the key is to use a product that has at least 70 percent alcohol.
Here are some alcohols you can use in this DIY to properly disinfect surfaces for viruses and other germs:
1. 70%+ isopropyl alcohol – You can find this in the pharmaceutical section of your local drug store, Target and Walmart. Look for bottles with the label isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol.
  • 70% rubbing alcohol
  • 91% rubbing alcohol
  • 99% rubbing alcohol
2. 70%+ ethanol products – you want 140 proof or higher drinkable grain alcohols. You can find them in the grain-alcohol (specifically vodka) section of your liquor store.
  • Golden Grain – 190 proof, 95% alcohol
  • Everclear – 190 proof, 92.4% ethanol
  • Spirytus vodka – 192 proof, 96% alcohol
Note: While most vodka sold in America is only 80 proof, or 40% alcohol, Spirytus is an exception. You want to choose a vodka that is at least 140 proof for this homemade disinfecting spray.
Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

Note: Using a glass spray bottle is best because the citrus essential oils can eat through the plastic. Also, don’t use a metal spray bottle either because oils can pit the metal. It’s better to just use a glass spray bottle. Or reuse a glass bottle at home and just buy the sprayer for the bottle.
Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray
  1. Fill a spray bottle with mostly rubbing alcohol using the funnel (doesn’t have to be filled to the tippy top, but close enough works well).
  2. Add the essential oils to the spray bottle too.
  3. Cap the bottle and give it a good shake to mix essential oils and alcohol together.
Tada! You just made your very own disinfectant. How easy, am I right?
Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

How to use zero waste disinfectant spray

This zero waste disinfectant spray is so easy to make and use. And it’s super versatile!
To use it, simply shake it before use, then simply spray it directly on counters, faucets, doorknobs, etc.
For remote controls, light switches or electrical items, make sure to spray the disinfectant on a cloth first, then wipe the item down with said cloth.
Just leave the surface wet for a few minutes and let it air dry on its own.
Here’s where you can use this disinfectant spray:
  • door handles
  • counter tops
  • faucets
  • toilet handles
  • light switches
  • remote controls
  • trashcans
  • furniture (chairs, sofas, mattresses, throw pillows, etc.)
  • carpets + rugs
  • smelly shoes
  • athletic gear
  • clothing
As you can see, this spray is quite versatile.
Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray
Here’s some more advice on how to use it properly, step by step.
To disinfect:
  • Make sure to pre-clean the surface.
  • Shake the spray bottle before each use.
  • Spray directly onto the surface – unless it’s a remote control, light switch or electrical item (spray onto a cloth then wipe item, in that case).
  • Leave surface wet for a few minutes and let it air dry.
Pro tip: To control and prevent mold, use once a week.
To sanitize, deodorize and refresh fabrics:
  • Shake the spray bottle before each use.
  • Spray on fabric until it’s slightly damp, but not overtly wet.
  • Fabric should remain wet for approximately 30 seconds.
  • Let it air dry.
Pro tip: For difficult odors, reapply. Works great with smelly shoes and gym clothes.
Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray
Also, if you’ve got a smelly garbage can, you can spritz some of this stuff around it. Generally though, if you compost, your trash really shouldn’t smell – so start composting if you haven’t already!

I sprayed this stuff near my smelly compost pail and was WOWED when the smell went away. My compost pail was full at the time, so some smell couldn’t help escaping. This spray deodorized it in seconds! That’s mighty impressive.

There are just so many ways (and reasons) to use this versatile disinfectant.
Here’s a recap as to why this zero waste disinfectant rocks:
  • It’s super easy to make
  • Saves you money
  • Is better for your health
  • Kinder to the environment
  • Effective and reliable
There’s honestly no reason not to try making it, providing you can get your hands on the ingredients and supplies.

When you run out, you can just refill the bottle by repeating the 3 easy steps. Totally beats running out to the store, wouldn’t you agree?

Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

Would you give this zero waste disinfectant spray a try?

If you’d like more tips for facing this difficult time, here’s how to stay zero waste during the coronavirus outbreak.

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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