Nontoxic Virus Defense: Make Disinfectant Sprays with Essential Oils

Annie B. Bond by Annie B. Bond | May 4th, 2009 | 26 Comments
topic: Family Health, Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Home

Spray BottleEspecially when there are flu and virus outbreaks in your community, added protection against germs is often warranted. Try these homemade essential oil mists — an easy way to add antiviral and antibacterial yet natural scent to your home. They are proven allies in the fight against germs, and they don’t pose the health dangers of many store-bought disinfectants.

Recipes for Homemade Disinfecting Spray

Germ-Killing Essential Oil Mist

This formula takes a few seconds to make. I like to make it in a colorful spray bottle.

  • 4–8 drops essential oil (I suggest the known-antiseptic essential oils listed below)
  • 1 cup purified or distilled water

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle; shake to blend.

Use liberally on non-staining surfaces or simply spray upward in the center of the room, being sure to avoid contact with eyes.

Concentrated 3-Essential-Oil Base (enough for 5 cups of disinfecting spray)

Use an eyedropper to place the following in a small glass jar with a lid (a baby food jar is ideal):

  • 20 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Mix well. To use, add 4–8 drops of this base to one cup of purified or distilled water in a spray bottle, shaking to mix. Store in a cool, dark place.

6 Germ-Killing Essential Oils

You can change the essential oil blend of the formulas above as you like, but the following list of essential oils are known to be highly antiseptic. (Interestingly, many of the most germ-killing plants are also used as spices in cooking.)

  • Cinnamon – cozy, comforting
  • Clove – spicy, warming
  • Lavender – relaxing, soothing
  • Rosemary – invigorating
  • Thyme – refreshing, purifying, herbal, peppery
  • Balsam pine – purifying, vitality-promoting

Alternately, try an electronic air sanitizer to destroy airborne odors, bacteria, viruses, molds, chemicals, smoke and allergens.


  1. Hello, Ms. Bond -

    I have been an Essential Oil Therapy enthusiast for nearly 12 years now, and I can safely say that this is an EXCELLENT article. This advice you give is right on the money too! We need more of this info to get out to the general public, in and out of the Internet. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!


    Please be sure that the essential oils you use as “therapeutic grade.” That phrase must be on the label. Otherwise, you really don’t know what’s in the bottle. Far too many producers take “short cuts” with their product, easily duping the unsuspecting consumer. I don’t want to offend anyone by “plugging” the company I use, but if anyone is interested, please contact me directly ( I will say that they are a “world leader” in essential oil production and I use them in my holistic health coaching business for all kinds of health issues.

    In the meantime, forward this blog to everyone you know. Please do your part to get TOXIC STORE-BOUGHT DISINFECTANTS out of the home, especially where children and the elderly reside.

    Blessings to all!!

    Holistic Joe | May 4th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. Very informative article! If possible, I would like to add Tea Tree to your list of germ-killing essential oils. It’s extremely potent for not only eliminating germs, but also mold and mildew.

    Mindy | May 5th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. I would also like to recommend using small amounts of cinnamon as it can irritate the skin. Great article! Good for wholistic living.

    Amber Dragonfly | May 6th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  4. Great article…I’ve been cleaning kitchen counters with a mixture of everclear (grain alcohol) and lavender…dead are the germs. I would also add manuka to this list. Since taking a 100 hour medical aromatherapy course, I’ve found how useful this oil is. It is part of the melaluka tree family, same one as tea tree!

    Kim | May 6th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  5. Take care with the spraying. A co-worker of mine seriously exacerbated her allergies when spraying her office with an essential oil mix like those suggested above. The true culprit of her constantly feeling clogged and run down was mold, and all her spraying just add humidity to spur its growth. Something to keep in mind.

    Jen | May 6th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  6. Is it safe for granite countertops?

    Jane | May 6th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  7. Hi -Great article & discussion.

    I don’t even allow chlorine bleach & harsh chemical cleaners in my home – haven’t for years. There are a number of good products on the market – check out Gaiam’s offerings. Essential oils are great for cleaning surfaces and the air in your home. Try it out on a small area first if you have concerns about damaging sensitive surfaces. If you mix them with water in a spray bottle, be sure to shake the bottle well with each use. Studies show that many essential oils are very effective against bacteria, viruses, and even mold.

    For tough cleaning jobs, I mix the essential oils in with some good natural detergent or cleaner, and even use a few drops of EO’s in with a natural laundry detergent with my wash. Mix EO’s in thoroughly with detergent and some water before adding clothing.

    Lavender | May 6th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  8. Thank you so much! I was about to break down and buy some Lysol (despite my concerns about it) since we’ve all had colds but after reading this article I will try the essential oils spray instead.

    Carolyn | May 6th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  9. Do you have a tree tea oil formula that I can use for cleaning?

    Windy | May 6th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  10. This is such great info. for everyday use, but especially now that people are freaking out about the swine flu. I’ve passed this link on to my yoga classes, friends, & family. I have been using only natural products in our home for the last few years and love the clean (Non-Toxic) smell & feel of our home and laundry. Also love how much money we are saving by making our own cleaning supplies & laundry soap. Thank you for getting this kind of information out there. Namaste’

    Dawn | September 23rd, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  11. will pure lavender oil with spring water in a spray bottle ( 20 drops to 8oz water ) be strong enough to disinfect against H1N1 and other nasty viruses….. what other essential oils will work mixed with water ?

    luka | October 19th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  12. Thank you for the great article. I would like to check what is the shelf life of the spray. As I know that the shelf life is limited by the carrier, ie distilled water. What about substituting distilled water with ethanol, any difference? Would the shelf life be extended?

    Please advise.

    Sweetie | November 28th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  13. Does anyone know what EO is the most effective at killing germs and viruses? Wondering if there is one better than the others. I would like to make a hand sanitizer and from what I can find online it seems that Thyme is the best. That is also the active ingredient in CleanWell which is a natural hand sanitizer available in stores now. Any info for me?

    Alison | December 7th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  14. I have heard that vodka is useful as a carrier instead of water. Any comments?

    Lisa | December 13th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  15. hi lisa- re your question on 12/13/09, vodka breaks down the oil so that the oil will evenly spray out of the container. i don’t have the recipe handy, but to a few drops of EO, you might add a tablespoon of vodka, and then fill the container with at least 1 cup of purified or distilled water. i found the recipe on google about a year ago, very easy, no shaking of sprayer. best to all!

    judith | December 20th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  16. I live in Costa Rica, and baking soda is not cheap… it’s about 50 cents for four table spoons and they only sell them in little packets. My question is, is there an alternative for baking soda?

    jenny | January 26th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  17. The added benefit of lavender oil is, it clears the negative energy in the environment

    Anonymous | July 25th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  18. I certainly can attest that essential oils are one of the most versatile substances at our disposal. I am not without some essential oil in my purse for protection against so many pathogens on surfaces and in the air. On the air vent,or in a spritz bottle, I find because they can be used for multiple purposes, they really are economical.

    Kat | October 25th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  19. Fabulous post! Thanks for the great information! I LOVE essential oils!

    Shelley | January 13th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  20. I just used Febreze in my house and it STINKS. It’s giving me a headache. I totally want to try using EOs instead. Thank you for this article.

    Christine | January 16th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  21. Christine and Jen,

    I saw an ad the other day in the USA Today about a new disinfectant that is odorless without toxic chemicals but I forgot what it was called, Sano….something. My significant other and I won’t use bleach or those ammonium products due to funny smells and my darn allergies.

    Davey | January 18th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  22. My favorite oil has got to be peppermint essential oil. I use it in my mouth by rubbing it on the bottom of my tongue whenever a sore throat is coming on.

    Dan Terry | May 31st, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  23. Hi, I got some Sweet Orange Oil following your advise above, and tried mixing it in water. However I found that Orange oil was floating in the top and it never mixed. Even after shaking it thoroughly, they were like enemies, they stayed apart. Is some thing wrong here?


    Gopa | January 15th, 2014 | Comment Permalink
  24. Thank you for any other excellent post. The place else could anyone get that
    kind of information in such a perfect manner of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the search
    for such information.

  25. Thank you for the great article, I love the smelt of citrus. It is so informative and useful the information.

    Cynthia Patrick | October 6th, 2015 | Comment Permalink
  26. Trying to find ingredients and recipes for natural disinfects,please call or email 734-299-0261 Thanks Tom

    tom | February 1st, 2016 | Comment Permalink

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