With two (soon to be three!) littles running around, disinfectant spray is a major staple in our house. But I really don’t want my kiddos exposed to the toxic chemicals that are usually found in commercial disinfectants. So I make this super easy, all natural disinfectant spray using just three ingredients: vinegar, lemons, and rosemary.
Don’t worry that your kitchen will smell like vinegar. I promise it won’t! The cleaner does have a vinegar smell while you are cleaning, but it goes away quickly.
Vinegar isn’t the best at removing grease and grime, but it does a great job of removing inorganic soils and mineral deposits (which is why it is so popular for cleaning windows). This study even showed that vinegar was effective in reducing the amount of E. Coli from several different countertop surfaces. Add the power of citrus and rosemary and you’ve got a powerful all natural, non-toxic disinfectant!
Here’s how I make Lemon Rosemary Disinfectant Spray
Occasionally, I buy a big bag of fresh lemons from Costco and I juice the whole bag. I freeze the juice in ice cube trays so I have lemon juice on hand, and I freeze the peels. I don’t remove the flesh – I just toss the juiced fruit in a freezer-safe container after juicing.
You can use any kind of citrus. I use orange peels too, sometimes. I just save the peels after peeling oranges to eat and use those.
Put the peels of oranges, lemons, and/or limes in a large mason jar. Add three or four palms full of dried rosemary. You could also use fresh rosemary and this would probably yield an even better result. I use dried because it is less expensive.
Fill the jar with white vinegar and close the jar tightly. Let the jar sit in a cool, dry place (like your pantry cabinet) for 7 to 14 days. Every couple of days, give it a mix by turning the jar upside down a couple of times.
Pour the vinegar through a sieve to remove the peels and herbs. If there are still small bits left in the vinegar, pour it through a cheese cloth folded over several times. You want to get all of the small bits out because they can clog up your spray bottle.
Now pour the vinegar into a spray bottle and use it as you would all-purpose cleaner to clean your kitchen counters and stovetop. So easy!
I also like using this in the bathroom. I use it to disinfect counters, sinks, toilets, and tubs after scrubbing with a soft-scrub cleaner. After scrubbing and rinsing, I just spray the surfaces with the disinfectant and wipe with a wet sponge or rinse with water.
A word of caution about reusing spray bottles that contained commercial cleaners: Chemicals in commercial cleaners may react with the vinegar, citrus oils, and rosemary; especially bleach. When bleach and vinegar mix they release highly toxic chlorine gas that you do NOT want to breathe. You know how I love to reuse before buying knew, but in this case I feel it is better to be safe than sorry. I have heard a recommendation that if you triple rinse the bottle – rinse it fully with water three times – that any remaining commercial cleaner in the bottle will be removed. I DON’T PRACTICE THIS.
I always use new bottles for making my own cleaning products, and I love this spray bottle by Grove Collaborative.
Interested in more DIY eco-friendly and frugal cleaning recipes? Follow me on Pinterest!