Antibacterial Cleansers from Everyday Ingredients

As shelves around the country continue to be restocked, we thought it would be helpful to share a few easy ways you can make antibacterial cleansers from ingredients you might already have. If you don’t have these things, they might be easier to find should your local grocer be out of your regular cleaning supplies. We understand that bleach and antibacterial cleansers have their place, but they can be harsh and pretty pungent. It’s always good to have a natural alternative near at hand for everyday cleaning or if you run out of your usual supplies.

The Old Stand-By

A mixture of white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice has been used for generations as an all-purpose cleaner. The high acidities of vinegar and lemon make them great for fighting bacteria on surfaces throughout the house, and the baking soda helps break up dirt and grime. Each of these ingredients can also be used on their own for different cleaning needs. A recipe we’ve found that we like is:

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 litre (4 cups) hot water
  • 1/2 a lemon

As a note: we’ve heard baking soda isn’t good on glass, aluminum, ceramic stoves, marble, quartz, wood furniture, or antique silverware.


While we can think of better uses for vodka, in a pinch it can be used to disinfect surfaces. It’s typically 80 proof; if you can get 100 proof it’s even better. Obviously rubbing alcohol will work, too, but it doesn’t work nearly as well for a funny blog heading.

Hydrogen Peroxide

We all remember this one from when we got a cut or scraped ourselves up as kids. If you’re like us, then there’s a big brown bottle in your bathroom cabinet. It’s in the back—maybe behind the towels.

Essential Oils

If you have any essential oils around the house that you normally use for skin care or in a diffuser, surprise! They can be used to fight bacteria, too. We’ve seen a few recipes where you add them to vinegar to make it smell better and increase its cleansing power. Our favorite is:

  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oils

Steam Works, Too

If you have a steamer in the house, then you know it’s a great chemical-free way to clean and disinfect. It’s best if it can get up to 200 degrees. Pro tip: taking your time provides the best results.

And Castile Soap

We’re not just saying this because we make it. Castile soap is a great cleaner in general, and with the addition of citric, botanical, and essential oils, it can be even more effective.

That’s our list. What have you got? We hear adding dish soap to a vinegar mix can work wonders. Any other common household ingredients that you reach for when you’re cleaning? Do you have a fool-proof mix that’s different than ours? Let us know in the comments so we can spread the word!

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