You can make this safe and effective homemade disinfectant using vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water, or make one using chlorine bleach.
I switched to making my own cleaning products, like this homemade bathroom disinfectant, for several reasons. First, I got tired of spending a small fortune to buy products that won’t even tell me what’s in them. It’s my home and health — shouldn’t I know what I’m dealing with?
Also, my son and I noticed that several commercial products made our allergies worse, but homemade cleaning recipes did not. Still, because maintaining good indoor air quality is so important to overall health, I open windows or turn on exhaust fans when using homemade cleaning products and recommend that you do, too.
Homemade Bathroom Disinfectant Spray
This is an effective germ-fighter perfect for use as part of a weekly bathroom cleaning routine. Do not use it on wood surfaces — use the DIY bleach-based disinfectant instead.
8 oz. water
6 oz. isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
2 oz. distilled white vinegar
5-10 drops of essential oils (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well.
- To clean: spray the surface and wipe with a damp microfiber cloth.
- To disinfect: spray pre-cleaned surfaces until they are visibly wet, then wait 5 minutes
- Rinse the cleaner off of surfaces by using a fresh, damp cloth or damp paper towels.
- Store unused homemade disinfectant in a cool, dark spot away from heat and light. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Discard after 2 months.
Check out my other homemade cleaning recipes.
Homemade Bleach-Based Disinfectant
If you cannot find rubbing alcohol or prefer not to use it, you can make an effective homemade disinfecting cleaner using bleach. To make a homemade bleach-based bathroom disinfectant, add 2.5 ounces of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water or, for a smaller amount, stir 4 teaspoons of bleach into a quart of water. Do not use this bleach solution on marble or granite surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the questions I’m most frequently asked about this homemade disinfectant recipe. If your question is not answered here, please feel free to leave it in the comments!
What essential oils should I use?
Some essential oils have mild anti-bacterial or germ-fighting abilities in addition to a pleasant scent. Oils with mild disinfecting properties include tea tree oil, rosemary, orange, clove, thyme, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus. Not all essential oils are safe for use around pets, however. Lavender is, so that’s what I use.
Why do I have to clean before disinfecting?
Cleaning and disinfecting aren’t the same thing, as the CDC explains. Too much grime on a surface overwhelms the germ-fighting ability of disinfectants. Cleaning removes the grime but not all germs. Disinfecting a pre-cleaned surface tackles those remaining germs.
Can I use a different type of alcohol?
The rubbing alcohol used in this DIY disinfecting spray is isopropyl. It’s possible to swap ethanol-based alcohol, such as 120-proof vodka or Everclear, if you’d prefer.
Can I Use This in My Kitchen?
The EPA changed rules about what is safe to use on food preparation surfaces to meet the supply shortages following the coronavirus outbreak. The agency now approves of using isopropyl alcohol cleaners on food preparation surfaces, but it should not come into contact with food.