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Eco-Friendly Disinfecting: Kill Germs Without Harsh Chemicals

March 5, 2024

Eco-Friendly Disinfecting: Kill Germs Without Harsh Chemicals

Keeping your home clean and free of germs is important, but many conventional cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can be bad for your health and the environment. Thankfully, there are a number of effective, eco-friendly disinfecting options available. As someone who cares about green living, I wanted to learn more about how to kill germs without using toxic chemicals. Here’s what I discovered about eco-friendly disinfecting.

Why Avoid Harsh Chemical Disinfectants?

Many conventional disinfecting products contain ingredients like bleach, ammonia, synthetic fragrances, and more. When used regularly in the home, these chemicals can cause or exacerbate asthma, allergies, and other health issues. Some ingredients are also suspected hormone disruptors.

In addition, harsh chemical cleaners get washed down the drain after use, contaminating waterways. Many conventional cleaning products also come packaged in disposable bottles made from fossil fuel-derived plastics. Using more natural, eco-friendly alternatives is better for your family’s health and reduces your environmental impact.

Effective Eco-Friendly Disinfecting Strategies

Thankfully, there are many ways to effectively kill germs without exposing yourself to harsh chemicals. Here are some of the best eco-friendly disinfecting strategies:

1. Diluted Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. Simply mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on surfaces and let sit for a few minutes before wiping clean with a cloth. Undiluted vinegar can also be used for tougher jobs.

Vinegar is shelf-stable and inexpensive. It kills bacteria, viruses, mold, and other germs without any harsh fumes or chemical residues. Vinegar is safe to use on most surfaces.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

Like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide is an effective natural disinfectant for home use. Mix 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water and put in a spray bottle. Spray on surfaces and let sit for at least one minute before wiping clean.

Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen, so it does not leave any chemical residues behind. It is effective at killing many types of bacteria and viruses. Use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect toys, play areas, bathrooms, kitchens, and more.

3. Essential Oil Disinfectants

Many essential oils like lemon, oregano, clove, thyme, and tea tree oil have natural disinfecting properties. There are a few options for making essential oil disinfectant sprays:

  • Mix 5-10 drops of your chosen essential oil(s) with 1 cup distilled white vinegar and 1 cup water.
  • Mix 15-20 drops of essential oil with 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup water, and 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin.

The key is using 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils. Thoroughly spray surfaces and let solution sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping. Essential oil sprays naturally kill germs and make your home smell fresh.

4. Steam Cleaning

Steam is an effective natural disinfectant for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces. To steam clean, fill your steam mop or handheld steam cleaner with distilled water according to directions. Run the steam cleaner over surfaces, keeping the head in motion. The combination of heat and moisture kills germs without any added chemicals.

Steam cleaning is safe for use on sealed floors, countertops, windows, appliances, upholstery, mattresses, and more. It kills bacteria, viruses, mites, and other germs helping reduce allergens in your home.

5. UV-C Light

UV-C, or ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, takes disinfecting up a notch. This involves using a UV-C lamp device to emit UV rays that alter the DNA structure of pathogens, destroying their ability to multiply or infect. UV-C can disinfect entire rooms and HVAC systems.

There are UV-C wands to disinfect objects, robot UV devices to automatically disinfect rooms, and HVAC installed UV systems. While the devices require an initial investment, they provide effective whole-room disinfecting without chemicals.

Other Helpful Tips

Here are some other ways to reduce germs in your home without harsh disinfectants:

  • Let in fresh air and sunlight which naturally disinfect.
  • Wash laundry, towels, and other fabrics in hot water regularly.
  • Use microfiber cloths which pick up and remove more germs.
  • Quarantine new objects like shoes or kids’ toys for 1-2 days before placing around the home. Many germs die off in that time.
  • Get a HEPA air purifier to filter allergens and reduce airborne germs.

Following healthy habits like washing hands frequently, coughing into elbows, and disinfecting phones and doorknobs also reduce spread. Keeping surfaces clutter-free makes cleaning easier.

The Bottom Line

There are many simple, affordable, and effective options for disinfecting your home without using harsh, toxic chemicals. Natural disinfectants like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils, and steam cleaning kill germs and viruses without leaving chemical residues behind. Using these eco-friendly strategies reduces your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals while also keeping your home’s environment clean and healthy.

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