DIY: Natural Disinfectant Spray (Like Lysol But Homemade!)

Natural Disinfecting Spray Like Lysol but made from all natural ingredients including essential oils

There is a nasty new virus floating around called enterovirus D68. This virus outbreak has sent hundreds of children to the hospital with respiratory problems.

My oldest daughter has been hospitalized with respiratory issues before and it is scary. When respiratory viruses start circulating, I go into protective, mama bear mode. I arm myself with disinfectant and CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!!!!

What steps should we all take to keep our homes healthy?

1. Institute mandatory hand washing! This is the number one recommendation of the Center for Disease Control. It is inexpensive and easy. Stay vigilante and send everyone straight from the front door to the sink with instructions to wash up. If you are out and about, whip up all natural hand sanitizer to carry with you and use it.

2. Disinfect Surfaces – especially doorknobs. Cleaning your doorknobs, refrigerator handles, faucets, and toilet handles with a disinfecting spray can help guard your family against viruses.

If you are trying to run an all natural household, what are your options for safe, non-toxic disinfecting?

Here’s what you will need to make your own Natural Disinfectant Spray Like Lysol but Homemade:

DIY Natural Disinfectant like Lysol Ingredients Include vodka and essential oils

–Click NEXT to Get The Recipe–

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  1. I use Thieves cleaner from Young Living essential oils. Smells great too!

  2. I love using essential oils whenever possible, especially in in place of cleansers and insect repellants etc. However, I had a near fatal reaction to orange oil, so I would also add the note to clean a small test area & check for adverse reactions. There is also the chance if you overdo it that people with sensitive systems can develop allergies to essential oils, particularly if skin is coming in contact with it, such as on door knobs etc. But again, I do love not only using natural ingredients, but going shopping in your cupboards is a great way to save money.

  3. could you use rubbing alcohol in place of the vodka?

  4. Hi Devin, There are a couple drawbacks to using rubbing alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is a skin irritant, and I’m not sure how diluted it needs to be to minimize that. Even if you are just spraying surfaces, you’d need to be careful. You also need to keep in mind that it is a poison, so keep away from children. Finally, it does have a pretty strong odor, and I’m not sure that it wouldn’t overpower the essential oils. However, it does sterilize and kills both bacteria and viruses. So basically, having never used it, I can’t really endorse it. Hope that helps just a little, Andrea

  5. Can I use clear rum? Don’t have vodka handy.

  6. Do you let it air dry or wipe witha cloth?

  7. I have been making a version of this for several years now, sometimes I dilute the vodka and sometimes I don’t. It is great for an air freshener and a fabric freshener as well as a surface disinfectant. I used to use it on my phone and keyboard at work, especially after a weekend when other people would use my office and as an air freshener to clear the smoke smell from the office and furniture.

    I don’t use rubbing alcohol just for the reason that I believe the medicinal smell would over power the scent of the EO’s. Aside from the fact that I hate the smell of rubbing alcohol – ick.

  8. Hi Janine, I let it air dry. The key to being able to do that is to find a spray bottle with a mist setting. If it comes out too much, you might want to wipe up any big drips. Andrea

  9. Hi Kari, Rum has more sugar which lessens it’s ability to sterilize. Plus, you might not get the great smell of the essential oils since it also has a stronger scent than vodka. Andrea

  10. Trish, I agree that it makes a lovely air/fabric freshener. There aren’t many cleaning products out there where you can spray, sniff the bottle, spray, sniff the bottle. ๐Ÿ™‚ Andrea

  11. is there a substitute for the lavendar? I cant use lavendar but like this idea of natural disinfectant.

  12. Hi Erin, Yes! If you can’t use lavender, substitute lemon essential oil. You can get a bottle for just $6.35 here: in case you don’t have your own source. Andrea

  13. I am in love with this recipe!
    Just making sure it is considered “Safe” as I have two and four year old boys (Haha hence the need for disinfectant). I’ve heard mixed things about eucalyptus.
    Also I would like to give some to my sister but she is pregnant. would any of the above be considered “unsafe” for a pregnant woman and could I substitute tea tree (melaluca) oil.

  14. Hi Cassy, I’m so glad you like this recipe! I would consider this “safe” even though you have a 2 and 4 year old because you aren’t applying it directly to them but are using it on household items. If you are concerned, I might use it when they aren’t around (naptime?) and allow it to dry thoroughly before they come into contact with whatever you have sprayed. I’m back and forth about how I feel about pregnant women and eucalyptus. Again, it shouldn’t be used directly on her, so it should be safe. But if you feel more comfortable using tea tree, I think that is an excellent substitute! Andrea

  15. Hi! I’m excited to have found this just in time for a family member’s travel plans. I’m wondering though, if tangerine oil could be subbed for the orange with the same effect? Thanks!

  16. Hi Jen, Most of the citrus essential oils have the same properties, so tangerine would work. However, if you have Lemon, that would be an even better substitute. Have a safe and fun trip! Andrea

  17. The essential oils…do these ave any disinfecting properties? I much rather prefer mint and the citrus oils deter the cats…would vodka and essential mint.oil have an equal disinfecting effect as your original recipe?

  18. Hi Nadine, Yes, the essential oils do have disinfecting properties. The absolute best oils are the citrus ones. I’m sorry they deter your cats. Andrea

  19. Do you have to use a glass spray bottle? Thanks!

  20. Hi Katie, I used an opaque plastic bottle and I store it out of the light. I go through it pretty quickly though. If you think you’ll only use it occasionally, you might consider glass. Andrea

  21. Tara Detlor says:

    Hi there;

    I’m not opposed to vodka ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just wondering if you know whether Hydrogen Peroxide would work as substitute for the Vodka portion.
    Would likely have to use up more quickly, or make a smaller batch as the Hydrogen oxides quickly. Any other concerns?

  22. Tara, To be honest, I just don’t know how hydrogen peroxide would work as a substitute. Sorry I can’t be of more help! Andrea

  23. I don’t have rosemary oil, could I use dried rosemary and chop it up finely and put that into the spray bottle. Would the oil from that still be effective?

  24. Hi All,

    I’m wondering if this recipe is pet friendly. We have a dog and two cats, I know lavender is a “no-no” for cats, but what about the other EO’s?

  25. Tea tree oil is not pet safe, a few drops can cause seizures and death in some animals. Please avoid use if you have pets.

  26. Momof5kids says:

    Do I need to let it air dry, or can I spray, then wipe?
    I’m just starting out with natural products, so I just don’t know the “rules” when it comes to oils yet.

  27. Hi Mom of 5 Kids, Yay for starting with natural products! I spray and allow to airdry. However, if your spray bottle leaves a thick mist, instead of a fine mist, allow to dry for a bit and then maybe give it a swipe so it doesn’t drip everywhere. Andrea

  28. My main concern here is Rota virus and noro virus. What is the accuracy that this kills those two stomach viruses if at all? I’m all for natural substitutes but I’m a fear factory when I comes to tummy bugs and lysol is proven to kill those. Idk what to do here!

  29. Well that’s awesome! Who would have thought vodka sterilizes.

  30. I’m new to using/making natural products so I’ve never used essential oils before. I had a reaction to something with eucalyptus in it, can/should I avoid that oil? I have a dog so it would need to be pet safe. Also, my husband is trying to quit drinking (and vodka is his drink of choice) does this spray smell like vodka when you spray on furniture, mattresses, etc?

  31. is using plain vinegar just as good?

  32. Tina, vinegar is an natural disinfectant but not as strong as alcohol. However, since it is combined with essential oils that also have disinfecting properties, it can be an acceptable substitute. Here’s the kicker: vinegar has a strong odor that the essential oils won’t mask whereas vodka has very little oil making it perfect for use with essential oils. I hope that helps answer your question, Andrea

  33. Hi Beth, If you’ve had a reaction to eucalyptus in the past, I would avoid it and leave it out of the formulation. I’d also skip the vodka for the sake of your husband and maybe trying rubbing alcohol instead. The problem with rubbing alcohol is it has a strong scent that will compete with the essential oils. Hope that helps, Andrea

  34. I love using essential oils around the home and this sounds like a great combination. However I think you’ve confused sterilize with sanitize. Sterilization usually takes place under high temperatures (boiling water) or high pressure / steam (autoclave). Sanitization is removing contamination either from skin or surfaces with soap and water or chemical application (essential oils contain chemical compounds). Sorry I don’t mean to be picky but the use of sterilize is misleading.

  35. Hey, I’m wondering if this is ok to use to fine-mist on a carpet to sanitize in between carpet cleanings, and then let my 7-month-old daughter play on it safely?

  36. I was wondering does it have an overpowering sent like Lysol.

  37. Sharon Fewell says:

    Hi, is there any other substitute for the rosemary? I have all kinds of essential oils just not the rosemary. Or can I leave it out altogether? We have had a stomach bug running through the house and I want to spray sanitize everything. I would go get some rosemary but I can’t leave until I get over this sickness.

  38. Hi Sharon, You can leave the rosemary out and still give the house a good spray! Hope everyone feels better soon! Andrea

  39. Hi Carrie, The short answer is NO! It won’t stink like Lysol! It smells simply amazing. I love spraying it. Andrea

  40. Hi Jenina, You can absolutely spray your carpets, allow to completely dry, then let your daughter play! Andrea

  41. Cheryl Schroepfer says:

    I would like to know what oils would be safe around cats, I don’t want to make my cat sick. I would like to sanitize naturally.

  42. Hi Cheryl, All the oils in this spray are ok to use with cats. However, you don’t want to spray it while they are in the room, and you want to make sure it is dry before they re-enter. The oils you need to stay away from are: Anise, Clove Leaf/Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen, or Yarrow. Hope that helps! Andrea

  43. Hi! I am wondering if Sweet Orange Oil would work in place of Wild Orange? Or even tangerine or grapefruit? I have all of those citrus oils on hand..but no wild orange.

  44. One more! Would a flavored vodka work? We have tons of those from before my husband was diagnosed with cancer, we don’t drink anymore so they’re just sitting here. I just don’t have any plain vodka on hand.

  45. Hi Amber! Yes, a sweet orange oil would work instead of wild orange. Grapefruit would also work well. But, I think I would steer clear of any flavored vodkas. I know it would be convenient for you, but I can’t guarantee how the extra ingredients would react. ๐Ÿ™‚ Andrea

  46. Perfect! Thank you! Heading to the liquor store todayฤ

  47. Corinne Knorr says:

    Thank you so much for posting such an amazing recipe! I have “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils” so I’m glad to have the info you’ve provided to suppliment what I already know. My husband is hacking away, recovering from an awful respiratory infection… In other words, he’s coughing all over EVERYTHING at no fault of his own, and I get sick at the drop of a hat.

    I’m pretty masterful at cleaning, but I’ve never really needed to disinfect anything that couldn’t be easily thrown in the washer, AKA: the entire sofa. Do I risk damaging my beautiful furniture using this recipe? I noticed that you mentioned this is carpet safe, so I’d like to assume this will be safe to use on ALL surfaces–hard and soft.


  48. Clarissa says:

    Hi! The only EO’s i have are Peppermint, Lavender, Four Thieves, Purification and Relaxation Blend. What can i use for me to still sanitize my home? I cant follow the recipe since i only have the lavender essential oil. Thanks!

  49. Brygida says:

    I like you used Polish vodka ๐Ÿ˜‰

  50. Thanks for the recipe.
    However, I find it overkill to have the mix of essential oils and vodka itself already prohibits bacterial and viral growth while killing it.
    Hence, I’m sticking to lavender rose.
    I’ll experiment further with 2 combinations of essential oils but not overdo it.

    Thanks again for the insight

  51. I made this tonight and love the clean smell. Do you use it on painted surfaces or wood or tile floors? Thanks!

  52. Hi Stephanie, You SHOULD have no problem on wood or tile but I’d be cautious with painted surfaces. Thanks for asking! Andrea

  53. Where can I find information on how effective this is at killing germs and viruses? I would love to see test results where it is shown to kill xx% of various pathogens.
    I haven’t done all the costing, but what is typical price per gallon of this formula, does anyone know?

  54. Mendie Storey says:

    What are your measurements? Thank you.

  55. Essential oils are very weak (at best) germicidal agents. Lysol is probably not the healthiest and is certainly overpriced, but it is highly effective against a wide variety of pathogens. Either do it right or don’t do it at all.

  56. I’m working with essential oils for the very FIRST time and trying to “Go Green!” and replace all the chemical laden cleaners in our home. To add a little extra “punch” to this cleaner can I substitute white vinegar for the water instead to have a 50/50 vodka/vinegar blend? I just wanted to make sure the was no adverse reactions between the vinegar and vodka. Thank you!

  57. Hi Dee, Love that you are going green! I can’t wait for you to smell this disinfectant. So different from the commercial cleaner. If you want to “up” the cleaning power I might just add a bit more vodka rather than adding in vinegar. It’s a pretty potent blend as is. Andrea

  58. Meagan says:

    Hi there. I didn’t really get a clear answer on whether these are safe around cats and dogs?

  59. Hi Meagan, The spray does contain sweet orange – which cats are sensitive to – but it is a small amount. You could eliminate the orange EO and sub in a few extra drops of tea tree. Andrea

  60. Andrea, I will preface this question by saying that I am a germaphobe, something that I’m sure will become clear as you read on. I work in the heath care field. I also have family members in a nursing home. I generally have a day once every week or two that I feel like I was exposed to yuck. On these days I do a major cleaning of my car. I call it Lysol bombing. I wipe the steering wheel, gear shift, touch screen, knobs, door handle, etc. then I Lysol spray the seat, floor board, etc. the smell is overpowering and I try to leave the windows down for a while after doing this if possible. I then spray my shoes, go into my house, put my clothes in the washer and take a shower. I drive a lot in my car and this is how I don’t feel yucky in it the next day(s). I have a 1 1/2 year old also. I have been doing this for probably 5 years now. I am getting more and more worried about the chemicals I am exposing myself and my family to. I bought essential oils at the beginning of the summer, and a brown glass bottle. (I bought: orange, lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, rosemary, and tea tree- I had seen your recipe before my purchase. With my planned use of essential oils are there any other combinations you would suggest other than this recipe? ) But, shame on me I haven’t mixed them up or used them. Can I use this cleaner for my car? Will it damage the upholstery? How strong will the smell be? Can I also make wipes for the surfaces with this recipe? Can I spray my shoes with it? Are there any indoor surfaces you would recommend not using this recipe on? Do you think I could store the spray and/or wipes in my car on the day I need them or do you think because of heat and cold it would be bad idea? See, I told you I have germaphobia issues. Sorry there is so much info and so many questions. What are your thoughts? Thank you!

  61. Hi Kim,
    When I’ve been exposed to yuck, I also go into clean all the things mode! It’s one of our only ways to protect ourselves from illness.
    You can use this on your car. It should be fine on your steering wheel, gear shift, touch screen, knobs, door handle, and floorboards. However, I’d worry a bit about your upholstery. I’d definitely do a small spot first. Also, essential oils are very sensitive to heat and light. Therefore, storing it in your car isn’t a great idea. You can make wipes with this mixture. Or, shake vigorously and pour a bit onto a rag and use it to swipe. Not knowing what kind of shoes you wear, I’d spot check those too before spraying liberally. I love the smell of this solution. Your car will smell amazing!!!! If you find you do have to use the Lysol and maybe your upholstery, use it first, then use the essential oil solution. It may negate the smell a bit. Did that answer everything? Andrea

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