5 Ways to Disinfect Your Home Safely

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Home Improvement

Vinegar is the perfect solution for cleaning glass as it doesn’t leave any residue or streaks. Justin Paget/Getty Images

It’s the weekend and time to tidy up your house. You’re wearing rubber gloves, holding a can of disinfectant in one hand, and a bottle of bleach in the other. However, you don’t want to inhale harsh chemicals while disinfecting your home. The good news is you can clean your home naturally and inexpensively. Here are five safe ways to disinfect your home without breaking the bank.

1. Vinegar

If you’ve ever used vinegar as a cleaning agent, you know how effective it is. Despite its pungent smell, vinegar is an all-natural disinfectant that contains acetic acid, making it perfect for killing mold. It’s also great for cleaning glass and stainless steel without leaving any streaks. Moreover, it’s safe for washing fresh produce and removing mold from toilets and sinks. For daily cleaning, mix one tablespoon of vinegar with 1 cup (29 milliliters) of water and store it in a spray bottle.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is useful for cleaning cuts before applying a bandage, but it’s also great for cleaning your home. It removes stains from carpets and clothes, and when used with vinegar, it effectively eliminates scum from tubs and tiles. Unlike vinegar, hydrogen peroxide doesn’t have a strong odor and doesn’t require dilution. It’s also great for washing produce and whitening teeth.

3. Lemon Juice

For alkaline stains such as soap scum, use lemon juice. The citric acid in lemons breaks down scum effectively. You can also use lemons to polish copper pots and pans to make them look new. Additionally, lemons sanitize non-porous surfaces and reduce bacteria on hard surfaces. They also smell better than vinegar.

When life gives you lemons, make household cleaner!
Glasshouse Images/Getty Images

4. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an all-natural essential oil extracted from the Australian Melaleuca tree. It’s naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic, making it a popular ingredient in cosmetics and skincare. It’s also a great household cleaner when mixed with water. A few drops are enough to create an effective cleaner. Use it to clean countertops and tiles, and disinfect areas where pets have had accidents or kids have been sick.

5. Cleaning with Soap and Water

For general cleaning purposes, soap and water is an effective and environmentally friendly option. Soap creates a lather that combines oil and water, attracting and suspending dirt so that it can be easily rinsed away. When cleaning household surfaces like floors and countertops, a bucket of hot, soapy water is the best choice.

Now That’s Interesting

In a pinch, vodka can be used as a disinfectant due to its 80 proof alcohol content. While it can technically remove mold or mildew, we recommend saving it for a well-deserved cocktail after your cleaning is done.


1. What are some common household disinfectants?

Some common household disinfectants include bleach, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and disinfectant wipes or sprays.

2. How should I dilute bleach for disinfecting?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends mixing 1/3 cup of bleach with one gallon of water for disinfecting surfaces. Be sure to wear gloves and use in a well-ventilated area.

3. Can I use vinegar as a disinfectant?

Vinegar is not a strong enough disinfectant to kill all germs, but it can be used to clean and remove some surface bacteria. It is not recommended for use on surfaces like cutting boards or countertops.

4. How long should I let disinfectant sit on a surface?

The time required for disinfectant to sit on a surface varies depending on the product. Check the label for specific instructions. In general, CDC recommends letting disinfectant sit on a surface for at least one minute.

5. How often should I disinfect my home?

The frequency of disinfecting your home depends on the level of risk in your community, but it is recommended to disinfect commonly-touched surfaces (like doorknobs, light switches, and countertops) at least once a day.

6. Can I use disinfectant on my electronics?

Disinfectant wipes or sprays can be used on electronics like phones and tablets, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions first. Avoid getting liquid in any openings and use a soft cloth to wipe away excess disinfectant.

7. How can I disinfect soft surfaces like couches and carpets?

Soft surfaces can be disinfected using a disinfectant spray or by steam cleaning with a high-temperature steam cleaner. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you are using.

8. How can I disinfect my laundry?

To disinfect laundry, use the warmest water setting possible and add bleach if safe for the fabric. Dry on the hottest setting possible. If using a laundry disinfectant product, follow the instructions on the label.

9. Is it safe to mix disinfectants?

No, it is not safe to mix disinfectants. Mixing different types of disinfectants can cause dangerous chemical reactions and produce toxic fumes.

10. How can I make my own disinfectant spray?

You can make your own disinfectant spray by mixing 1/3 cup of bleach with one gallon of water, or by mixing 70% rubbing alcohol with water in a spray bottle. Be sure to label the bottle and store it out of reach of children.

11. Can I use disinfectant on food surfaces?

Disinfectants should not be used on surfaces that come into direct contact with food, like cutting boards or dishes. Instead, use hot soapy water to clean these surfaces.

12. What are some natural alternatives to chemical disinfectants?

Some natural alternatives to chemical disinfectants include vinegar, tea tree oil, and hydrogen peroxide. These may not be as effective as chemical disinfectants and should be used with caution.

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