NOTE: If you’re looking for a homemade disinfectant for COVID-19, please check out my other post on hydrogen peroxide, which has been found to be quite effective against many viruses, including coronavirus (the family of viruses associated with COVID-19), rhinovirus, adenovirus, and influenza A and B. (source)
Harness the power of essential oils to make this natural antibacterial spray for hard surfaces. For use on counters, yoga mats, door knobs, etc.
It’s everywhere. Sprays, soaps, hand-sanitizer, trash bags, cutting boards…
It seems anything and everything can be “antibacterial”-ized these days. But what does that actually mean? Are we supposed to be killing any and all traces of bacteria in our everyday lives? What about good bacteria? I think I remember learning a little something about those guys back in high school biology…
So, What’s the Real Story?
The truth is that manufacturers of commercial cleaning products play on our fears of hygiene issues by convincing us that we need the latest and greatest spray that miraculously “kills 99.9% of bacteria” in our home.
The introduction and widespread use of antibacterial products for home use has inevitably led to drug-resistant bacteria. That’s right, bacteria that has mutated and become completely immune to antibiotics. Not only that, but these products also kill the good bacteria that are supposed to keep the bad bacteria under control.
Of course, antibacterial products have their place in society; they were originally used exclusively in hospitals and other healthcare settings, where risk of infection is very high. However, now that they’ve made their way into ordinary households, their use and overuse is doing much more harm than good.
Lysol is a popular brand of antibacterial spray and I’d venture to guess that your kitchen or bathrooms have been graced with its presence at one point or another. In reality, sprays like Lysol are very hazardous to our health. They contain ingredients like formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, and phenylphenol – a skin, respiratory and mucous membrane irritant, according to the CDC.
What Are We Supposed to Use?
Good old soap and water is just as effective at killing germs – and it’s cheaper, less hazardous, and doesn’t require the use of protective gloves or safety goggles. You can make a simple all-purpose cleaning spray like this one for regular use.
But when you need to quickly spray down your counters or other surfaces, making a homemade, natural antibacterial spray is fairly easy. Instead of toxic chemicals, I like to harness the powers of essential oils.
Tea tree oil has potent antimicrobial properties if used at a .5% concentration, so that’s what we’re using in this natural antibacterial spray recipe. Thyme oil has also been shown to be effective against even drug-resistant bacteria.
Other oils can be added to help round out the scent of the tea tree oil, and also add extra germ-fighting power:
- orange: anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-viral
- lavender: anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial,
- eucalyptus: anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal
Natural Antibacterial Spray
Below is the recipe that I’ve formulated, but feel free to play around with it to suit your own needs. Some find the strong scent of eucalyptus oil to be a bit strong, so you may want to decrease the amount you use in your spray (or eliminate it completely).
The tea tree oil is a big player in this recipe, so don’t leave it out or change the amount so that it stays at the right concentration for this natural antibacterial spray.
NOTE: Ideally, we should be using dark brown or blue bottles when working with essential oils to protect them from light. Glass is best, but PETE plastic works as well. Some options are here.
Natural Antibacterial Spray
- Add witch hazel to 8 oz spray bottle.
- Add essential oils, and swirl to combine.
- Fill with water until about 1/2″ from the top.
- Shake well before use.
- Spray on countertops and other hard surfaces and let air-dry.