As a teacher, one of my favorite things about starting the school year was that disinfecting wipes were included on our school supply list. We had “Wipee Wednesday” where we’d clean all our desks, doorknobs and anything else that seemed dirty. With 75 fifth graders in my class each day, EVERYTHING seemed dirty! I always felt better after that. That lemon smell obviously meant things were clean.

As a mom of a one and two year old, we are constantly cleaning up. Sticky high chairs, juice spills on the floor, toothpaste on the bathroom sink.  I resorted to the same lemon cleaning wipes I loved using as a teacher, but those things are expensive, especially when we’re cleaning all the time.  I had to make a change, and fast!

I took two of my old, white bathroom towels and cut them up into washcloth sized squares. I also dug out all the old baby washcloths and burp rags. Yes, of course I saved those! I had a pretty good sized stack of rags. I then searched the internet for an all-natural disinfecting spray I could make myself. I figured, might as well go all natural, especially with little kiddos! There were recipes galore. I chose this one:

  • 1/2 teaspoon lavender castile soap
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon washing soda
  • 2 cups hot water

Mixed it up in my squirt bottle, and a new cleaning ritual was born.

Now it’s not noxious, eye-watering lemon disinfecting anymore. It’s a light hint of lavender. This new cleaner works just as well as the wipes. I use it on everything! I use my cloth rags to wipe down counters and high chairs, and toss them into the washing machine. It really doesn’t make any difference at all to the laundry, and we’re saving money on paper towels.

I even went so far as to give bottles of it for Christmas gifts. It’s handmade and thoughtful, plus it’s cheap! You could really jazz it up with cool washcloths and a vintage label if you wanted more pizzazz than I did. I’m fine with a white squirt bottle labeled “All Purpose Cleaner” and an old wash cloth.

Sure, it’s more work than pulling out a fresh wipe, but I saved money and loved the Earth a little more. That makes it worth it.

This has been a guest post by Bonnie from Boerne, TX
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26 thoughts on “DIY Disinfectant Spray: No More Expensive Cleaning Wipes”

  1. Carrie says:

    Do you use this for both the kitchen and the bathroom? My concern in making my own cleaning products is when I am dealing with raw meat. Would this kill the salmonella?

  2. Imona Budget says:

    I used the good ol’ fashioned vinegar and water in a spray bottle….but I used it to clean the oven, refrigerator and dishwasher….I would still buy all-purpose cleaner for everything else….so this recipe will help with the DIY cleaner smell…! Thank You! 
    I also use my husband’s old stretched out tshirts, and the babies’ old onesies as ‘rags’…….
    Old socks also make good rags because you can slip your hands into them, spray the cleaner into small cracks and crevices, and use the sock on your hand to clean the tight spaces……

  3. Anonymous says:

    great idea. make a trip to the dollar store for the vinegar, and scented something, and you really have a deal. thank you for all of the great ideas that help us all cut time and save money.

  4. Can I use different scent other than Lavendar?

  5. For those asking about whether vinegar kills bacteria, here’s a link to prove it does. I recently found really great spray bottles at walmart. Look on the shelf below the mops, and if you’re store is like mine, your should see some tall spray bottles with green, red, etc tops, i believe it was about 2.99 or so. I’ve had mine a few months and they work great!

    • Anonymous says:

      Since vinegar kills bacteria, I think they should make vinegar mouthwash!  Would you believe that no one has come up with that idea already?! :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do you really have 75 kids in your class or was that a misprint?

    • Anonymous says:

      When I was still in high school in 2007 (budget was already bad), we had 50-65 students in ONE classroom, and there were only 40 desks. I won’t be surprised if she really meant 75 =P

    • dayna lloyd says:

      Perhaps she means 75 kids coming throughout the day for different subjects.  We had 2 to 3 homerooms with 20-30 kids each.  We switched classes for different subjects.  I’m thinking this is what she means.  Not 75 kids in one class. 

  7. Paulino Rdz says:

    My question would be, how do you know that you kill all the bacteries?

    • Fireball says:

      I have heard that vinegar doesn’t kill all bacteria, but it is a good all purpose cleaner. I think Hydrogen Peroxide is supposed to kill bacteria better? Haven’t found any studies showing the effectiveness though.

  8. where do I get the castile soap and the washing soda?

    • Emily says:

       I believe any Walmart or large grocer will carry these in the laundry aisle. I haven’t seen the lavender scented version though–I’ll have to keep a eye out for it! To the author, thanks for sharing this recipe! Much appreciated.

      • deni says:

        Our store has liquid castile soap in the drug section with all the specialty bath soaps and scrubs

    • Anonymous says:

      natural food/products section for castile soap.
      Laundry detergent aisle for washing soda.

  9. I love this! I have a 7month old and have been worrying about using sprays and wipes etc. This seems safer and so much more affordable!

  10. Diana Richardson says:

    I’d like to know what spray bottles you recommend.  I can’t find any that are highly rated and would love if anyone could recommend them for some homemade cleaners!

  11. what is castile soap and where can i find it ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Most likely in the natural food/products aisle. Comes in different scents. Post mentions lavender, I have peppermint (edited to say I use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, you can search online to see what it looks like).

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow!  I don’t know how you can deal with 75 fifth graders each day!  Instead of ‘Wipee Wednesday’, Pizzaz would be looking forward to ‘Suicide Saturday’! ;)