I read a post the other day where a reader was concerned that green homemade cleaners may not disinfect like the store bought versions.
This is a valid question that many people have after being exposed to so many commercials telling us that bacteria have to be “disinfected” away and only their product can do that! That just isn’t true.
I am going to compare my homemade disinfectant with lysol and you can come to your own conclusions.
The homemade version contains water, vinegar, castile soap, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. Tea tree oil has been shown to be a “powerful disinfectant – non poisonous and non irritant” (British Medical Journal). Tea tree oil is antiseptic (actually kills bacteria), antiviral (kills viruses), and fungicidal (kills mold). It kills both gram negative and gram positive bacteria. For those of you who are not microbiologists, this means that it kills E. coli, Salmonella (gram negative) and other “gut” bacteria (most of which are g-) along with Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas. It used to be used as an ingested antibiotic (before Penicillin) so it is completely safe for our cells. Many people still ingest it. Studies show it actually boosts the immune system. Eucalyptus has disinfectant and antiseptic properties and will also help kill airborne bacteria. It is great against Strep and Staph. So while you are cleaning the surface with the TTO the Eucalyptus helps take care of the air. It also leaves a “fresh” scent. Both work at a 1-2% concentration. Acetic Acid (Vinegar) is used to clean Salmonella from freshly laid eggs in only a 2% concentration (I am using a 50% concentration in my recipe). A 5% solution of vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of viruses. I add castile soap simply to make the mixture mix together easier and water is a completely harmless medium to use as the base.
Here is a link for the ingredients and warnings for lysol It contains Carbon dioxide, Ethyl alcohol, and 2-phenylphenol. Ethyl alcohol is harmless. CO2 and phenols are not. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and unidentified organic compounds can form during thermal decomposition. It warns of skin and inhalation entry. None of the compounds are classified as carcinogens so that part is good.
It is up to you of course. If you want to use lysol then go ahead! But, don’t do it because you are afraid another product won’t “work”. The homemade version kills off the same pathogens, but also kills airborne pathogens (at the same time), and it is antiviral (I couldn’t find this on the lysol site) and fungicidal (also couldn’t find this on the lysol site) and it has been shown to provide immunological BENEFITS with exposure (even accidental). The storebought version causes inhalation risks in your home and accidental exposure may lead to a trip into the emergency room. What about the slow exposure you will get with years of use!
Don’t even get me started on bleach…