Cheap and Effective Sanitizer




Introduction: Cheap and Effective Sanitizer

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

After cooking in the kitchen, I want to clean everything up and make sure to kill any remaining germs, but I'm not too keen on using bleach. Instead, you can use a couple of other items you may already have in your house that are very effective against germs.

Step 1: Secret Ingredients

The two ingredients are white vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide. These are both cheap and available at the supermarket. When sprayed one after the other they are remarkably effective against germs such as Salmonella, Shigella, and E. coli. In addition to cleaning up after cooking, you can also use this combination to clean germs off of fruit and vegetables you're planning to eat.

How to disinfect your salad

Step 2: Two Bottle System

The key to this system is that the two ingredients are in separate bottles and one sprayed after the other. Again, the order does not matter.

What also matters is that the hydrogen peroxide is in an opaque bottle and kept in a cool area when not in use. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down in light which is why it is sold in brown bottles.

An opaque spray bottle isn't the easiest thing to get, but I found out that the spray tops to my spray bottles fit the hydrogen peroxide bottle perfectly. With a quick swap, I now had a hydrogen peroxide sprayer.

Step 3: Doing the Two Step

My process for cleaning is simple:
  1. Get spray bottles out from under sink (cool, dark place)
  2. Spray one bottle on all areas where it needs it
  3. Spray the other bottle
  4. Put the bottles back under the sink
  5. Wipe up with a sponge
And that's it. Lots of germs go away. Or, that's almost it. One last thing to be aware of before you try this. I'll even put it in bold.

White vinegar is an acid so do not spray it on anything for which this would be a problem so look it up first. For example, granite, marble, and grout need neutral cleaners so do NOT use this on them.

OK, that's it!



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    62 Discussions

    <<I'm not too keen on using bleach>>

    No offense, but hydrogen peroxide is bleach.  It's not the same bleaching agent as what's in Clorox and the like which is sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), but they're both relatively safe in common grocery/drug store concentrations.  Hydrogen peroxide eventually breaks down to water and oxygen.  Sodium hypochlorite breaks down in to salt water relatively quickly if left in open air.

    If you want to use something less harsh or less likely to damage clothes, I would suggest normal soap or a "green" cleaning solution.  I think (but have not researched) that using a steam-cleaner would probably kill just about anything you're likely to run in to with no chemicals at all.

    Good luck.  :)

    2 replies

    While I don't question the safety of chlorine bleach, the smell of it gives me terrible headache that lasts for hours. I feed my dog raw food that I prepare so I find this Instructable very useful.
    Oh, and no offense, water is a chemical ;)

    Steam-cleaner is the BEST! Not only it cleanses, it deodorizes whatever the steam gets in contact with. Not only will it STERILIZE, it will also KILL BED BUGS (they die at 104 deg Fahrenheit or 40 deg Celcius). I bought one from "AS SEEN ON TV". I use this more often than ironing my clothes! LOL!

    Don't use vinegar on pearls, either, if washing jewelry with it. Or on menstrual sponges. :-p

    I have used a mix of vodka and distilled water....I usually go 1/2 and 1/2...altho you can go less on the vodka. I just find the cheapest bottle of it I can find...altho 80 proof is the best. I call it 'my foodgrade' cleaner/sanitizer and leaves no residue and the scent dissipates. I use it on doorknobs and cutting boards and etc.. Try it you'll like it!!
    Also, coloudial(sp?)  silver kills germs...altho I have not figured out how to really utilize it...

    5 replies

    I read that you should use this in a ventilated space. But it is suppose to work well. Vodka is not cheap either so I will be using my vinegar and peroxide for my cleaning of counters, etc.

    Using alcohol for cleaning is a well-accepted idea, but it is not really killing the germs unless the alcohol is greater than 60%. In order to be effective you would need to use something that is 120 proof and not cut it with water. This link leads to information posted by the CDC about research into commercially available hand sanitizers that had less than 60% alcohol in them. This research verified the CDC recommendations. It basically showed that using >60% alcohol reduced the number of germs on participants hands. Using <60% alcohol did not reduce the number of germs, it simply moved them around so they were distributed more evenly on the hands. The article is available at:

    Alcohol is very toxic to many people. Best not to use it. I cannot be near it. They love it when I go to hospital. LOL I cannot be near it EVER.

    Here's a New York Times story on the same findings:

    Everyone should do a web search for uses of vinegar. It is unreal what you can do with it. Since I can no longer use most products on the shelf I buy white vinegar 4 gallons at a time and also a gallon of cidar vinegar. You can clean the floors and windows and counters and towles, etc. Way cheaper than many products and way safer. I use cidar vinegar for cooking and for a hair rinse. Half water with half cidar vinegar in a spray bottle and use after shampooing than spray in and rinse. Your hair will be squeeky clean.

    Also note that you should not spray that combination onto most metals. the peroxide oxidizes the metals (copper, lead, iron) and the vinegar creates metal acetate's (water soluble metals, which vary from harmful to very poisonous) I used that mixture before for electroplating copper and lead dioxide (lead ions that are forced toward the positive terminal).
    just my two cents on danger warning.
    And before anyone says it do not mix acetone and bleach. in fact it is smart NEVER TO MIX ANY CHEMICALS unless you understand how they interact.

    3 replies

    I think you mean do not mix AMMONIA and bleach. Mixing acetone and bleach isn't very smart either and IIRC produces chloroform, but mixing AMMONIA with bleach will liberate the chlorine gas and is considerably more dangerous.

    This isn't saying mixing acetone with bleach is a good idea it's also dangerous, but who is likely to be doing that unless they're making chloroform on purpose anyway (you can't just throw them together either they need cooling and other stuff I'm deliberately leaving out)? Mixing AMMONIA and bleach is a common error that kills and injures many people.

    Do not use it than you will be safe. They both are toxic rather mixed together or not.

    no I really did mean acetone and bleach, you make chloroform which decomposes to phosgene gas (a carcinogen), though yeah ammonia and bleach is stupid and kills like 100 people (with really clean toilets) a year. a general rule of thumb DO NOT MIX CHEMICALS unless you absolutely know the results.

    Ick! OK, I recently had to clean up a dead mouse that had been there a while and oozed. I feel your pain. I did not use this as I went with the nuke-from-space option of spraying concentrated cleaner on it.

    In retrospect, it would've been a great experiment. At the time... nuke from space!

    Ok, I've been looking up info on this. Vinegar may be better than bleach for mold killing! Bleach seems to actually just turn the mold clear and does not kill the roots. I don't know if vinegar kills the roots, I couldn't find anything on that. If you're not squeemish on chemicals a mold remediation expert says that "Clorox Pro Results Outdoors" is an effective biocide that will kill mold all the way down to the roots. I was trying to figure out what was different about it but can't find anything.