Sometimes, you need not just cleaning but also sanitising the surfaces of your home. Infact:

  • Cleaning is about removing contaminants from a surface.
  • Disinfecting is about killing pathogens.

Bleach could be excessive in most cases, if you don't have to sanitise a place open to the public, but just your private home. In fact, we need to remember that cleaning agents and beauty products could be dangerous for our respiratory system. There is a study that shows that while transport-derived emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have decreased owing to stricter controls on air pollution, volatile chemical products derived from coatings, printing inks, adhesives, cleaning agents, and personal care products has increased and now contribute fully at one-half of emitted VOCs in 33 industrialised cities (full study here). Also, you should never mix bleach solution with ammonia or any other cleanser. Use bleach as a last resort if you can't source any other kind of disinfectant. You can make your own bleach-free sanitiser spray using Peroxide (recipe here).

The WHO (World Health Organisation) suggest using for disinfection alcohol solutions with at least 70% ethyl alcohol, or sodium hypochlorite at 0.5%. Making your own alcohol-based sanitiser for cleaning your home surfaces is very easy as you need just two ingredients!



Ethyl Alcohol  

Boiled Water 


The quantity depends on the alcohol content you decide to use, and it's very easy to calculate. In fact, there are different types of alcohol. If you are using a 99.9% alcohol, and your solution should be at 70% alcohol concentration, then calculate using the following: 1000ml (total solution) X 70 (% concentration) / 99.9 (% alcohol content). In this case, you need 700ml of alcohol and 300ml of water. If you are using a 90% alcohol, the calculation is really simple to modify the ingredients' quantity.  1000 X 70 / 90 = 778ml alcohol + 222ml water. Have a look at this file for more info. 

The best alcohol to use is the Grain Neutral Spirit, because is "natural" alcohol without any additives. You can use rubbing isopropyl alcohol as an alternative, but this alcohol has additives and is synthetic. It can cause damage to the central nervous system and drowsiness or dizziness when inhaled (have a look at the file). 



Spraying and leaving the disinfectant untouched on surfaces for around 30 seconds before wiping helps to kill the bacterias more efficiently. Make sure that the area is well-ventilated while you’re cleaning. Boiled water is an essential precaution to avoid every risk of microbiological contamination (eg. spores). It also very important to wash your cloths and sponges, so they cannot spread germs themselves. Pop the sponges into the dishwasher or washing machine, or soak them with hot soapy water and sodium percarbonate and leave overnight. It's also a good idea to run the washing machine empty once a month at a high temperature with 50g of sodium percarbonate to sanitise and prevent the growth of germs (more tips here).  



If you are in the UK you can buy Surgical Spirit here or here.





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