The coronavirus can remain viable for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces. This is a sobering fact in light of the global pandemic we’re facing. An important step you can take to protect your family from exposure is to make an all natural hand sanitizer recipe and disinfecting spray using alcohol and essential oils. It’s an inexpensive and non-toxic way to keep your hands free of germs and surfaces in your home disinfected.
One reason the virus has been able to spread so extensively is due to its ability to live on surfaces for extended periods of time. Germs, transmitted by an infected person’s hands or air droplets, can survive on cardboard up to 24 hours and hard surfaces up to three days. Making your own disinfectant spray will alleviate unnecessary stress when supplies run low in the local markets.
You can take preventative measures to decrease contamination while out and about by making your own hand sanitizer, and within your home by spraying a disinfectant on counter tops, tables, toilets, appliances, doorknobs, and other surfaces that are potentially infected. Don’t forget to give your smartphone and remote controls a good wipe down throughout the day, as well.
Why Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide?
Alcohol is an effective disinfectant because it destroys pathogens by breaking down the cell membrane. The concentration should be at least 60%, if not higher. 99.9% isopropyl alcohol is ideal. Any time you’re making a hand sanitizer using alcohol, you’ll want 75% of the mixture itself to be alcohol.
Hydrogen peroxide kills most bacteria, fungi, viruses and even mold spores. A 3% solution that you can find in your local pharmacy will get the job done. Hydrogen peroxide is used in smaller amounts than is alcohol due to its ability to potentially damage surfaces. Interestingly, hydrogen peroxide may be more effective at killing germs than ammonia and doesn’t come with the overwhelming smell.
The Disinfecting Properties Of Essential Oils
If you’re like me, you love using essential oils because of how they smell. Lucky for us, they’re also great substitutes for harsh chemicals that many people use without a giving a second thought to the toxic fumes they’re breathing in or applying to their skin, not to mention the negative impact these chemicals have on the environment.
Oils are antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, although the particular makeup of any specific oil will determine its antimicrobial properties. The phenols, antioxidants, and natural alcohol content of essentials oils make them outstanding alternatives to store-bought disinfecting sprays and hand sanitizers.
Natural Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- 99% isopropyl alcohol
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Glycerin 98%
- Distilled water
- Essential oils (tea tree oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, cinnamon, or frankincense)
I use glycerin (glycerol) in my skincare potions so I always have a bottle on hand. Glycerin is an amazing moisturizing ingredient to add to DIY hand sanitizers because it prevents your hands from drying out, especially if you’re using it multiple times a day, which will likely be the case in the coming weeks and possibly months.
Glycerin is a non-toxic, viscous, plant-based humectant that draws moisture to itself, while preventing evaporation. It’s particularly helpful in the dry, dehydrating months of winter. I like the slippery feel of glycerin, which makes any other ingredient it’s mixed with, easy to apply. And since it’s odorless and colorless, it can be added to any recipe without adding or detracting to the look or smell.
Add 12 ounces of alcohol to a medium-sized spray bottle. Mix in 1-2 teaspoons of glycerin and 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide. Gently shake and top off the solution by adding 3 ounces or so of distilled water. Add a few drops of your essential oil of choice. My favorites are tea tree oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, cinnamon, and frankincense. Use what you have on hand. The above mentioned all have disinfecting properties.
Even though this hand sanitizer is a spray, the addition of glycerin, makes it more substantial. The recipe calls for distilled water because the distillation process removes mineral deposits and other impurities. Alternatively, you can use boiled water, just make sure it’s sufficiently cooled before adding it to the mix. A pure source of water will extend the shelf life of your spray. Please don’t use tap water to make hand sanitizer. It’s full of all kinds of toxic substances.
Disinfecting Surface Spray Recipe
You know those ingredients you just used to make your hand sanitizer? Well, don’t put them away just yet, because you can repurpose them to make an all-natural disinfecting spray that is non-toxic, and can be used as an antiseptic on household surfaces to kill viruses, bacteria, mold, and mildew. This is good stuff.
- 12-16 ounces of 99% isopropyl alcohol
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide
- Essential oils
- Spray bottle
If you’re going to make a disinfecting spray, you may as well make a big bottle so it lasts a while. We’re all going to be disinfecting for an extended period of time from the looks of what’s happening worldwide. Ideally, glass spray bottles are best, but use what you have on hand. And yes, I know plastic is more convenient, so you make the choice.
Fill a 12 or 16-ounce spray bottle, almost to the top, with 99% alcohol. Add up to a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide if using a 16-ounce bottle. Add 1/8 teaspoon (about 12 drops) each of several essential oils that have disinfecting properties. Choose from melaleuca (tea tree oil), rosemary, clove, frankincense, sandalwood, or eucalyptus. I add more melaleuca (1/4 teaspoon) because of it’s incredible anti-pathogenic properties.
Attach the lid, gently shake, and apply to surfaces in your home as needed, knowing you’re doing all you can to protect yourself and your family. Use the spray in the kitchen, bathrooms, doorknobs, cabinet handles, faucets, light switches, and any other surface or area that is frequently touched and could become infected.
In the wake of the coronavirus, it’s imperative to have a bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times. There will be many situations in which you won’t have access to soap and water. Prevention is always the best medicine. Hand sanitizer is great for traveling in the car, while out and about, and any time you think you might have been exposed to a virus.
Disinfecting sprays are vital for keeping your home free of germs. Making your own spray, will not only save you money, but you won’t be adding to your toxic load. Plus, it will prevent panic when supplies run low.
Have you made a natural hand sanitizer before? Let me know in the comments:)
(1) NPR: The New Coronavirus Can Live On Surfaces For 2-3 Days – Here’s How To Clean Them
(2) U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA provides guidance on production of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help boost supply, protect public health
(3) U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA provides guidance on production of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help boost supply, protect public health
(4) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Get Your Home Ready