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How to Make DIY Sanitizing Spray

As COVID-19 continues to ravage lives globally, the demand for affordable and effective hand sanitizer and disinfecting spray continues to grow.

While cleaning your hands with soap and water is enough to keep your hands free from germs and bacteria, making your store-bought or homemade disinfectant spray is pretty simple once armed with the right ingredients.

However, you might need some knowledge on properly mixing the ingredients, keeping in mind that wrong proportions will either render the spray ineffective or harmful to your body.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 70% of alcohol in your homemade hand sanitizer.

This article details all you need to know about homemade sanitizing sprays, including ingredients and pro tips to make an effective DIY hand sanitizer spray.

DIY Sanitizing Spray Ingredients

Below is a list of things you’ll require to make a sanitizing spray.

  • 16-ounce spray bottle
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 5 cups of isopropyl alcohol or vodka
  • Bowl
  • Funnel
  • Distilled Water

a spray bottle and a lemons

Image Credit: Don’t Mess With Mama

Note: Do not use isopropyl alcohol and vodka at the same time. You may choose one depending on the surfaces you intend to disinfect. Isopropyl alcohol has a higher content of about 91%, so make sure to add a little water to dilute it to the recommended 70%.

Antimicrobial Essential Oils

Antimicrobial essential oils are commonly referred to as essential oils. They’re unnecessary ingredients if the scent of your sanitizing spray is not strong, or you’re okay with it. Their sole purpose is to add a nice scent to your sanitizer spray.

However, some oils like lemon oils already have Antimicrobial properties that will boost the spray’s effectiveness.

Here is a list of quality oils without harsh chemicals you may choose from for the spray.

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Clove
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Tea Tree
  • Peppermint
  • Lemongrass
  • Thieves
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Eucalyptus

Note that you can also use these oils in your homemade beauty and cleaning products. But, avoid using cheap essential oils in your sanitizing spray; they might cause skin irritation plus other allergies.

Step By Step Procedure

  1. Wash your lemon and peel several pieces using a sharp knife

a slice lemons with knife

Image Credit: Don’t Mess With Mama

  1. Drop peels of 2-3 lemons into a bowl and fill your jar with 1.5 cups of isopropyl alcohol or vodka (120 proof or more)
  2. Add antimicrobial essential oil of your choice and stir until you achieve a well-mixed solution.
  3. Pour the even mixture into your 16-ounce spray bottle.
  4. Leave the lemon peels in the jar for 1-2 weeks. That is the ideal period so that all the oil from the lemon peels is completely drained. However, you may consider using the spray immediately if you can’t wait.
  5. Shake the bottle well and fix the spray nozzle.
  6. Your sanitizing spray is now ready, and you can start using it. First, spray the surfaces you want to disinfect and let them lie there for about a minute before wiping with a paper towel.

Top Five Pro Tips For a DIY Sanitizing Spray

  1. To achieve a highly effective sanitizing spray, leave your lemon peels/vodka mixture to lie there for at least one week, but two is even better before using.

That period is sufficient to extract oil (lemon oil) from the peels. However, you can use fresh peels in your sanitizing spray if you can’t wait.

  1. You can also use the lemon sanitizing spray to disinfect your mattress. You may consider this tip during hot summer when people sweat a lot. Before making the bed, let the mattress dry completely.
  2. The natural sanitizing spray does more than disinfecting surfaces. For example, if you live in damp areas prone to fungi and mold growth, you can use the sanitizing spray as a mold remover.

Just spray the affected areas and let the antimicrobial sanitizing spray do the rest.

  1. Although the alcohol-based sanitizing spray is safe to use across many surfaces, it may discolor some types of plastics. Therefore, you may test it out first.
  2. Use warm water in case you want to dilute concentrated alcohol.

Why Vodka and Lemon Peels Make a Good Sanitizing Spray

There are other options that use simple ingredients to make a sanitizing spray other than using vodka and lemon peels. For instance, you may mix aloe vera and different types of alcohol and still get a good disinfectant spray.

However, below are reasons why a mixture of vodka and lemon peels stands out:

Lemon Peels

  • Essential oils in the rind have antibacterial properties, always noticeable when you squeeze the lemon (lemon essential oil). The oil is a powerful anti-bacterial capable of killing Escherichia coli (E.Coli) – a type of bacteria found in the intestines.
  • Use lemon oil for your sanitizing spray while keeping the lemon juice for making a DIY natural bleach.
  • Avoid lemon oils bought in bottles. Some of them are not 100% pure; instead, they may have a lot of fragrance and other fillers, making them less effective.


  • Vodka has 140 proof and higher, making it an effective disinfectant and sanitizer.
  • Vodka may have a powerful scent, but fortunately, DIY sanitizing spray that uses lemon neutralizes the strong scent giving it a pleasant smell. In addition, you may not need any other essential oil when using lemon oil.
  • You can use the sanitizing spray on fabrics and carpets since vodka is a natural deodorizer.
  • Even the cheapest vodka gets the work when making this DIY sanitizing spray. So you can save that extra coin for a cocktail.


A DIY sanitizing spray will not take you more than 30 minutes to make. Although storing the mixture for a week or more is ideal for maximum extraction of lemon oil from the peels, using fresh lemons right away will still serve the purpose.

However, you may need to select some essential oils with caution, mainly when you have people suffering from asthma around.

It is because some essential oil products will easily trigger asthma and other skin conditions. You may need to consult a medical professional first if unsure.

Otherwise, apart from vodka, other natural ingredients you can also use in making a DIY sanitizing spray are:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • White vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)


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