How To Effectively Disinfect With Green Cleaning

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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

The Contented Company Eco & Zero Waste | Green Cleaning | Homemade Vinegar Cleaning Spray | DoTERRA Essential Oil

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 x 500ml glass spray
  2. 250ml white vinegar
  3. 240ml water
  4. 20 drops of dōTERRA On Guard / Lemon / Purify essential oil OR 2tbs On Guard cleaner concentrate

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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)

The Contented Company Eco & Zero Waste | Green Cleaning | Simple Cleaning Spray

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1⁄4 Lemon Juice
  2. 1⁄4 White Vinegar
  3. 1⁄2 Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine all the ingredients into a spray bottle
  • Shake
  • 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.

contented-company-zero-waste-green-cleaning-citrus-peel-white-vinegar-green-cleaning

INGREDIENTS

  1. Peel from citrus fruit – I’ve used Oranges, Grapefruit and Satsumas so far
  2. 250ml-500ml White Vinegar
  3. Water
  4. (If you want, a few drops of essential oil – Lemon, Tea Tree, or On Guard.)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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.

Contented Company Eco & Zero Waste | 6 Reasons to Green Clean | Very Effective - Shiny Taps

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

Isopropyl alcohol (2-propanol), also known as isopropanol or IPA, is the most common and widely used disinfectant within pharmaceutics, hospitals, cleanrooms, and electronics or medical device manufacturing. Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against coronavirus, though it can discolour some plastics. Do not dilute the alcohol solution.

 

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 

Contented Company | Eco & Zero Waste | How To Effectively Disinfect With Green Cleaning

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,

Elena x

Elena Cimelli Signature

******

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

- https://www.consumerreports.org/cleaning/common-household-products-that-can-destroy-novel-coronavirus

[ii] Does alcohol kill coronavirus? The biggest myths, busted -

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/alcohol-kills-coronavirus-myth-busting

 

 


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  • Elena on

    You’re very welcome Ruth :-) It’s actually very simple, quick and cost effective. It just feels like it’s a lot more hard work. Perhaps it is mentally at the beginning, but it soon becomes habit!

  • Ruth Perrin on

    This has been the most useful read. Thank you, Elena, for putting it together. It has made me realise just how simple it is to make effective cleaning products out of household ‘stuff’!


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