Many plants, including herbs you may have in your garden, work well as natural cleansers. Some can even disinfect to some extent. There are some advantages to using a natural home sanitizer or cleanser, but be aware that they will not kill most microbes, including viruses. For thorough disinfecting, you need something stronger, BUT you may just have the right ingredients in your home.
How to Clean Your House Naturally
You can turn to your herb garden for some natural, safe cleansers, just don’t rely on these to thoroughly disinfect or protect your family from the flu, cold, and other viruses. For general cleaning, however, try these natural disinfectants:
- Lavender. Lavender oil mixed with baking soda makes a great carpet deodorizer. Sprinkle it on, let it sit a while, and then vacuum.
- Mint. Mint oil with lemon juice and water makes a good glass cleaner that repels pests too.
- Eucalyptus. Add eucalyptus oil to tea tree oil and water for a disinfecting bathroom spray cleaner.
- Clove. For combatting mold in your home, make a spray of clove oil and water.
- Rosemary. A great general cleaner is rosemary-infused vinegar. Put a sprig of rosemary in white vinegar with citrus peels and let it infuse for a few weeks before using.
Using Home Products to Safely Sanitize
While you can’t sanitize with natural ingredients to a degree that will keep your family safe from illnesses, it is still possible to use home cleaning products to disinfect and sanitize safely. There are some health issues with commercial cleaners, such as aggravating asthma, but using them correctly will minimize these risks.
First, when dealing with a potential outbreak of disease, disinfecting, or killing 99.99 percent of germs, takes on added urgency. Begin by cleaning surfaces. For this step, you can use natural cleansers or soap. Then, use a disinfecting agent. Those recognized by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are preferable and will have a symbol indicating this on the label. Also, keep in mind that sanitizing or disinfecting an area is temporary since it becomes “re-contaminated” the moment it is touched again, which includes sneezing or coughing.
Popular household disinfectants include:
- Bleach is a typical disinfecting agent most people have in their homes, and the one most recommended for use, but it is highly toxic and irritating to airways. Use it with ventilation, or open windows and doors for greater air flow.
- An alternative to bleach that is less irritating is hydrogen peroxide. You can use 3 percent preparations to disinfect surfaces as long as it is allowed to sit for a minute before wiping.
- You can also use undiluted rubbing (Isopropyl) alcohol that is 70 percent or higher. It needs to sit on a surface for 30 seconds to disinfect.
- Household vinegar can be used in place of bleach if nothing else is available. This should be the white vinegar with 4 to 7 percent acetic acid. Mix with water at a 1:1 ratio. It is generally safe to use on most surfaces.
None of these products are recommended for disinfecting skin or hand washing. Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is adequate.