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In our very busy world, what common need could these things possibly have? What on earth ties them together in every home? Let me tell you - a cleanser.

Yep. From the faraway land of your very own cupboard you can make a safe, effective and fragrant cleaning spray. I have used it for years and would recommend it for the first time mother-to-be all the way to my children’s great grandmother still making delicious pies, and everyone in between.

In the past, I have even taken it with us when our children took swim lessons. You just know those floor mats in the locker room are screaming, “BACTERIA!” Spraying their little feet - I got the last laugh.

Germs are everywhere and we have to deal with it. This is how this mama deals with it – I kill them. I’m not an herbal scientist or physician, just a motivated lady who likes to go natural when I can.

I was tired of being worried about chemicals and I was tired of scrubbing and soaking the kids’ toys over and over. I knew sneezes were landing on the couch pillows and I could hear the germs mocking me as they multiplied.

It was time to find something that worked for a home, a baby, the bunk beds and my husband. As you may know, natural cleaners are expensive and you still can’t pronounce some of their ingredients. This was a great solution. I found a simple recipe and expanded from it over time.

Homemade Disinfectant Recipe:

Step 1: Fill your spray bottle half water and half distilled white vinegar

Step 2: Put 1 drop of grapefruit seed extract “GSE” ( NOT grape-seed ) and 1 drop of tea tree oil per ounce of liquid

Step 3: According to your number of ounces, put in half that number of drops of the following essential oils: lavender and peppermint or eucalyptus (frankincense, orange clove or grapefruit would all be great choices too.)

Step 4: Place your spray top back on and voila! You have a truly natural and effective cleaner.

If you want to go a step further, clip a sprig or two of rosemary from your garden and put them in the bottle. It will release its properties due to the acidic pull of the vinegar. Rosemary is an anti-viral and effective germ killer. Also you can put in some lemon peel using a potato peeler – another natural cleanser.

Vinegar can kill germs on contact and the water dilutes it just enough. The GSE is a powerful natural mold killer so it keeps surfaces protected (safe for internal use also).

The oils have effective anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. And the aroma is very pleasant - the vinegar scent doesn’t overpower the spray at all in my opinion.

When our family is sick or things just need a quick and effective clean, I use this on the doorknobs, light switches, backs of chairs, remotes and phones, bathrooms, toys and pillows. This has proven safe and highly effective for us. I read once just spraying vinegar in the air itself can reduce germs spreading - makes sense.

Sometimes it’s convenient for us to just pick up a bottle of spray from the store, however this allows us to use what is safe around our kids and pets. Now we not only have a great disinfectant, but we have some knowledge about what works from our kitchens and gardens that we can pass on to help others.

If you are concerned about any of the ingredients, consult your doctor and/or do a little more research for yourself. Be careful if you have any allergies to the myrtle family - eucalyptus and frankincense are from that family. Direct contact on skin should be used with caution.

For a family who gets sick often, the daycare center, children’s church or for your dear grandmother whom you don’t want catching a cold, place the oils (or premix the oils and GSE in a small vial/jar) in a little basket, pick up a bottle of vinegar and a spray bottle. Write and label the bottle for them with a list of the ingredients with the simple instructions.

Easy and very thoughtful go a long way, especially when it’s a practical solution. Happy Spraying.

Michelle Hamlin is a Douglas County Mom blogger who specializes in homemade, all natural remedies.

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