A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a detailed blog, giving 6 Reasons to Green Clean.
But as our lives continue to focus on cleaning, and disinfecting and trying to make our homes as clean and virus-free as possible, I wanted to focus in on how we can do that, but without sacrificing our desire to do so in a green way.
So let's look at ways in which we can disinfect our houses effectively, but in an environmentally friendly way.
1. White Vinegar
The primary ingredient of many natural cleaning products is white vinegar. Vinegar is acetic acid, which has the ability to destroy bacteria and viruses. It can tackle, salmonella, E.Coli and other bacteria which can cause pneumonia, meningitis and other infections.
In addition, UK researchers found that vinegar can rapidly inactivate the flu virus. And US researchers found that vinegar can efficiently kill the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (after 30 minutes of exposure to a six per cent acetic solution).
To make your home-made cleaning products extra strong at resisting bacteria, viruses, you can add doTERRA essential oils. They also have natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral and decongestant properties. DoTERRA’s Melaleuca (Tea Tree oil) for example is up to 60% Terpinen-4-ol (functional group - alcohol).
Three White Vinegar Cleaning Spray Recipes
All Purpose DoTERRA Cleaning Spray
- 1 x 500ml glass spray
- 250ml white vinegar
- 240ml water
- 20 drops of dōTERRA On Guard / Lemon / Purify essential oil OR 2tbs On Guard cleaner concentrate
- Add the vinegar and water to the spray bottle first then the essential oil or cleaner concentrate
- Shake, spray and wipe with a cloth!
- FOR: Surfaces, stainless steel appliances, hob, oven glass, fridge, microwave, cupboard doors, handles, windows, bins.
Simple Cleaning Spray (& Dishwasher Rinse Aid)
- 1⁄4 Lemon Juice
- 1⁄4 White Vinegar
- 1⁄2 Water
- Combine all the ingredients into a spray bottle
- FOR: I use ours as both a surface cleaning spray and a rinse aid for our dishwasher.
Citrus Infused Cleaning Spray
This recipe is still super simple, but takes a while to prepare (two – three weeks). That said, the reward is great – there is no strong vinegar smell at all - just a delicious, citrus aroma.
- Peel from citrus fruit – I’ve used Oranges, Grapefruit and Satsumas so far
- 250ml-500ml White Vinegar
- (If you want, a few drops of essential oil – Lemon, Tea Tree, or On Guard.)
- Place your left-over peel in a glass jar – I’ve either used a storage jar or an old olive jar
- Cover the peelings with White Vinegar
- Leave for two – three weeks. (The one I left for three weeks smelt amazing!)
- After three weeks sieve the liquid into a jug – you need to catch any of the bits of fruit and pith
- Pour into the spray bottle
- Top up with water
- Add a few drops of essential oils if you wish
- The ratio should be about 50:50 citrus vinegar to water, but I just add as much water as I have space and dilute further once I’ve used some up.
- FOR: surface cleaning spray and a dishwasher rinse aid.
Important Coronavirus / Covid-19 Side Note[i]:
There is no evidence that vinegar kills coronavirus; nor does using drinking alcohol, such as vodka – however strong! For alcohol to be effective, it needs to be at a concentration of 60% or more [ii].
But if you want some extra oomph in terms of disinfecting, options you can use that aren’t harmful for the environment are:
2. Isopropyl or Ethanol Alcohol / Rubbing Alcohol
To read more about how to use rubbing alcohol, check out this article: Rubbing Alcohol Is Great for Cleaning, But Here Are 6 Things You Should Never Do
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
According to the CDC (the US Centre for Disease Control), household (3%) hydrogen peroxide is effective in deactivating rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within 6 to 8 minutes of exposure. Rhinovirus is more difficult to destroy than coronaviruses, so hydrogen peroxide should be able to break down coronavirus in less time.
According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, Hydrogen Peroxide easily breaks down into just water and oxygen, so is not harmful to the environment.
When we're worried about the health of our family, and want to do everything we can to make sure we've killed dangerous viruses, it's comforting to go to what we know will do the job. But before you reach for the bleach, just consider some of these risks:
What are the risks associated with using traditional household bleach?
- Bleach is an irritant and is corrosive and can cause skin burns, irritation of the eyes, lungs, nose and throat.
- Bleach can also react with other household chemicals such as toilet bowl cleaners, detergent, vinegar, acids, ammonia containing products, or organic matter (wee and poo for example), to produce toxic gases.
In terms of its effects on the wider environment, once in the water system, bleach reacts with other chemicals to form, among other products, dioxins, which are known to be highly dangerous toxins, which can have serious impacts on health.
Bleach also puts wildlife at risk; its byproducts have been linked to cancer in studies on laboratory animals. Environmental toxins created by bleach have lowered the populations of several species of birds and fish. And it's particularly damaging to the environment because it lingers for many years.
For further reading about why you should be cautious, read this article: Cleaning With Bleach: 6 Reasons Why You Should Be Cautious
So as we continue to focus on cleaning, and disinfecting effectively and trying to make our homes as clean and virus-free as possible, I hope I've shown you how we can do that, but without sacrificing our desire to do so in a green and environmentally friendly way.
As ever, with love from our family to yours,
And stay safe and keep well,
References & Further Reading:
Environmental Working Group - Cleaning Supplies and Your Health - https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/cleaners_and_health
Women’s Health Magazine - Is Vinegar A Disinfectant? What To Know Before Using White Vinegar For Cleaning -https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a31264367/is-vinegar-a-disinfectant/
David Suzuki - Does vinegar kill germs? - https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/does-vinegar-kill-germs
ABC.Net - Does vinegar really kill household germs? - https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2018-01-12/does-vinegar-really-kill-household-germs/8806878
Consumer Reports - These Common Household Products Can Destroy the Novel Coronavirus - https://www.consumerreports.org/cleaning/common-household-products-that-can-destroy-novel-coronavirus
Wired - Does alcohol kill coronavirus? The biggest myths, busted -https://www.wired.co.uk/article/alcohol-kills-coronavirus-myth-busting
Nature’s Nurture - How to Naturally Disinfect Your Home Without Bleach -https://naturesnurtureblog.com/simple-natural-disinfectant
Home Guides - How Does Household Cleaner Affect the Environment? -https://homeguides.sfgate.com/household-cleaner-affect-environment-79335.html
Canadian Partnership for Children's Health & Environment - What are the risks associated with using bleach for cleaning? - https://www.healthyenvironmentforkids.ca/qa/what-are-risks-associated-using-bleach-cleaning
[i] These Common Household Products Can Destroy the Novel Coronavirus
[ii] Does alcohol kill coronavirus? The biggest myths, busted -