An earlier version of this article referenced vodka, which can often have an alcohol percentage around 40 percent, rather than alcohol with at least 70 percent alcohol.
What else can you do with liquor with a high-alcohol percentage besides mixing a bang-up bevvy? Use it for green cleaning your countertops, faucets, bathroom tile, and mirrors. Spirits with an alcohol percentage of 70 or above can kill mold and mildew and disinfects well.
The smell of a high-alcohol spirit, such as Everclear, dissipates quickly, and when you add natural essential oils, which have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, a fresh scent lingers.
Essential oils even provide some health benefits while you clean. For example, lavender can calm the nervous system. Because they come directly from plants, essential oils are environmentally friendly and biodegradable, which makes them friendly for the earth and you.
Give this all-purpose “cleaning cocktail” a try the next time you clean your home. No need for the expensive liquor—the cheap variety works just fine.
This recipe makes 8 ounces. Multiply the ingredient amounts as needed to fill your spray bottle.
To use the alcohol cleaner, spray any area that needs to be cleaned and then wipe it off. For tougher cleaning jobs, like dirty grout, use a toothbrush or scrub brush with the alcohol cleaner and rinse well.
About Choosing Essential Oils
Depending on your mood, you may try different combinations of essential oils to use in your green cleaning. Here are some ideas:
- Lavender with tea tree: Relax and clean away with this disinfecting combo
- Lavender and orange: Lift your spirits
- Lavender and peppermint: Get pepped up for cleaning
- Lemon: Brighten your mood
It is important to use essential oils safely. If you get essential oils in your eyes, flush with water for 10 to 15 minutes. Consult a doctor if irritation persists. If you get essential oils on your skin, wash with warm soapy water. The exception is lavender, which doesn't harm the skin; it is often used directly on the skin to treat burns and insect bites.
Equipment / Tools
- Measuring cup
- Spray bottle
- 4 ounces water
- 4 ounces liquor with over 70 percent alcohol
- 12 to 14 drops essential oil
Select Essential Oils
Choose one or a combination of essential oils.
Pour Alcohol and Water Into the Spray Bottle
Using a measuring cup and funnel, which are great tools to have for making your own products, pour the alcohol and the water into a spray bottle.
Add Essential Oils
Add the essential oils directly to the spray bottle.
Shake the bottle to incorporate the essential oils.
Label and Store the Bottle
Label the bottle and store it out of direct sunlight or heat, which can change the chemical components in the essential oils.
Tips for Using Alcohol Cleaning Spray
- When disinfecting or trying to kill mold, leave the spray on for a few minutes to let the alcohol do its job.
- After showering, spray this cleaner on the tile to prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Use it on doorknobs, light switches, and other areas for quick eco-friendly disinfecting.
- Spray a little into the air as a natural room deodorizer.
- Buff mirrors and fixtures dry with a soft, eco-friendly cloth.
Koulivand, Peir Hossein et al. Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, vol. 2013, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/681304
11 Essential Oils: Their Benefits and How To Use Them. The Cleveland Clinic.
Vakilian, K., Atarha, M., Bekhradi, R. and Chaman, R. Healing advantages of lavender essential oil during episiotomy recovery: A clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 50-53, 2011. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.05.006