5 Safe Methods of Disinfecting Your Home

cleaning glass
Vinegar is ideal for cleaning glass because it doesn't leave a film or streaks behind. Justin Paget/Getty Images

It's the weekend and time to clean the house. You're elbow deep in rubber gloves, wielding a can of disinfectant in one hand and a bottle of bleach in the other. Sure, you want to disinfect your home, but who wants all of those chemicals floating around in the air that you breathe?

The good news is you don't need to use harsh chemicals to keep your house clean and germ-free. And the best part about using natural products is that they tend to be cheaper than a bottle of store-bought household cleaner. Here are five safe methods you can use to disinfect your home that won't break the bank.


1. Vinegar

Anyone who has used vinegar as a cleaning solution is bound to give it rave reviews. This is because despite its stinky nature, vinegar is an all-natural disinfectant. It contains acetic acid, which gives it antimicrobial properties and makes it great at killing mold. Vinegar has endless uses in the household; it's ideal for cleaning glass and stainless steel without leaving streaks. It can also get that nasty mold out of your toilets and sinks, and it's safe for washing all of your fresh produce. Some tough jobs around the house call for straight vinegar, but for those everyday jobs, just mix one tablespoon of vinegar with 1 cup (29 milliliters) of water and keep it in a spray bottle.


2. Hydrogen Peroxide

You've surely used hydrogen peroxide to clean out a cut before applying a bandage, but did you know it's also great for household cleaning? It does wonders on stains in both carpets and clothes, and when used in conjunction with vinegar, it's an excellent scum buster on tubs and tile. And unlike vinegar, hydrogen peroxide doesn't have a noticeable smell nor does it need to be diluted with water. It's also handy for washing your produce and whitening your teeth.


3. Lemon Juice

If your house is plagued with alkaline stains like soap scum, crank out the lemon juice. The citric acid in lemons helps break down that annoying scum better than just about anything else. And you can also use lemons to shine up your copper pots and pans so they'll look like new. But more than that, these tart fruits also are able to sanitize and disinfect non-porous surfaces, and reduce bacteria on hard surfaces — and they smell way better than vinegar.

When life gives you lemons, make household cleaner!
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4. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an all-natural essential oil that's extracted from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca tree. Because tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic, it's commonly used in cosmetics and skincare, but it's also a great household cleaner when mixed with water. It's so concentrated that all you need is a few drops to create an effective cleaner. Use it in everyday applications like cleaning countertops and tile. It's also good for disinfecting areas where pets have had accidents or kids have gotten sick.


5. Soap and Water

If you're not dealing with a heavy-duty germ situation and just generally want to get your house clean, then soap and water is the original eco-friendly cleaner. Soap provides a lather that's able to mix oil and water together in a way that attracts and suspends dirt so that it can be rinsed away. So a bucket full of hot, soapy water is always your best bet for cleaning floors, countertops and other household surfaces.