Recently, a number of friends have asked about the kitchen counter disinfectant I use. I am very careful about what I eat and put on my body, so why not pay attention to what I use to clean and disinfect my house?
Cleaners and disinfectants that we use coat surfaces we touch and place food on, and they aerosolize into the air we breathe. So, when I ran across vingar-based disinfectants a couple of years ago, I tried them and have been using them ever since. They’re super easy to make, they smell good, and best of all they are toxin and chemical free!
I use any combination of the ingredients listed below, and I like to use up items that would otherwise go in the compost or trash. For example, when I finish snacking on an orange or squeezing a lemon, the peels go into a mason jar to become part of the next batch of counter disinfectant.
Making the disinfectant:
Pick a couple of ingredients sitting around your kitchen and stuff them into a mason jar (about half full). I commonly use citrus peels (lime, orange, lemon), vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, herbs, and dried whole cloves. Once the goodies are added, fill the jar to the top with white distilled vinegar. Label with the date and set aside. The disinfectant will be ready for use in about four weeks. Give the jar a shake every now and then. The longer you let it sit, the more cleaning power and fragrance will be extracted from your solids. When ready, strain into a spray bottle for easy use.
How to use:
With anything you wash and clean in your home, you must remove all the extra dirt or food first. Once clean to the site, then you can disinfect by liberally spraying the vinegar disinfectant on your surface and wiping it up after a bit with a clean towel (enjoy the nice scent in the meantime). The vinegar spray is also a great degreaser for gunky stove tops.
Vinegar is so great because it has antimicrobial properties, removes grease, is biodegradable, is safe on stainless steel, and kills molds. Vinegar is a weak form of acetic acid and therefore has a low pH, which is what gives it it’s killing power. Many studies have shown that vinegar is effective at reducing both viruses and bacteria (including on vegetables, strawberries, chicken skin, and dentures). And, because it is also safe to consume, I will happily spray it all over my kitchen!
Use only white vinegar for cleaning. Apple cider vinegar tends to attract flies.
Below is a list of optional additions and their benefits. You can infuse the herbs, peels, leaves, or flowers or you can add a couple drops of the essential oil in your vinegar. Experiment!
- Cinnamon: antimicrobial and antifungal
- Citrus peels: antimicrobial
- Cloves, whole: antimicrobial and antifungal
- Coriander: antimicrobial and antifungal
- Fennel: antiparasitic
- Lavender: antimicrobial (smells awesome too!)
- Oregano: antimicrobial and antifungal
- Rosemary: antimicrobial and antifungal
- Thyme: antimicrobial and antifungal
I don’t know of any real function for the vanilla beans other than smelling yummy.
There are lots of other uses for vinegar too. I haven’t tried many of these vinegar tips, but I’m sure they could come in handy!comments powered by Disqus