April 2, 2020

Back to Basics: 4 DIY Alternatives to Store-Bought Cleaning Products.

Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon


It’s no secret that we are a fast-paced society.

In the land of drive-thrus with super-size me this and single-serve me that, we have forgotten the basics.

In an era of convenience, our “bottled up” amnesia has convinced us that we need to purchase certain items from big companies and that our “homemade” recipes are less effective. This just isn’t true—sometimes we’re just too lazy to get back to basics.

But if there ever was a time, the time is now.

Here are four DIY alternatives to store-bought products:

  1. Hand Sanitizer

The key to making an effective, germ-busting hand sanitizer is to stick to a 2:1 ratio of alcohol to aloe vera gel. This keeps the alcohol content around 60 percent, which is the minimum for killing germs.

  • Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent alcohol volume)
  • Aloe vera gel (do not use sunburn relief—it makes it sticky)
  • Antimicrobial essential oils, such as Tea Tree or Eucalyptus (10-15 drops per preference)
  • Re-purposed container
  1. Disinfectant Wipes

 At-Home Use:

 Re-purpose old T-shirts or rags for this. Cut them up into smaller pieces, and throw them in the wash after use.

  • 1 cup of Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (at least 70 percent concentration)
  • 2 cups of distilled water (bottled water or make your own)
  • 2-3 tbsp of Dawn cleaner
  • Antimicrobial essential oils (10-15 drops per preference)
  • Jar for storage

On the Go:

Turn a roll of paper towels into a cheaper, just-as-effective version of wet cleaning wipes. You’ll have to experiment with this—depending on how you like your wipes: wetter or dryer. (Note: cheaper paper towels tend to disintegrate the more wet they get. Use the recipe above, minus Dawn.)

  • Roll of paper towels (cut in half, may or may not remove cardboard center)
  • Re-purposed container (I suggest using an old one for this—it’s easy access through the top for on-the-go)
  • Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol
  • Antimicrobial essential oils (10-15 drops per preference)
  • Water
  1. All-Purpose Cleaner

If you prefer a bleach solution, buy bleach and dilute it in water. But this is a healthier alternative. Vinegar hinders the growth of microorganisms. It is considered a mild antiseptic but should not be regarded as a broad-spectrum disinfectant. Let the spray sit for 60 seconds before rinsing.

  • Spray bottle
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • Antimicrobial essential oils (10-15 drops per preference)
  1. Screen Cleaner

This mixture gives you a simple cleaner for your monitor, smartphone, and other gadgets.

  • 1 cup of Isopropyl or rubbing Alcohol
  • 1 cup of distilled or bottle water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • Spray bottle

While store-bought products tend to be the standard, some are harmful to our health and our environment, as well as being costly and wasteful. These are just a few of the homemade recipes we can make, but they’re worth it—for our wallet, our health, and the health of our planet.


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