How to Naturally Disinfect Surfaces

By Marilee Nelson |

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we’re not big on “sanitizer” or “disinfectant” cleaning products. We consider these words red flags on labels as they typically indicate the product contains an EPA-registered pesticide, which is designed to kill, and has been shown to encourage the proliferation of superbugs.

Given this new information, the FDA now recommends against consumer use of sanitizers and disinfectants with harmful ingredients.1. This comes as a shock to many of us “clean freaks”, since we thought we were doing the right thing by sanitizing often.

Unfortunately, over-sanitizing with disinfectants designed to kill causes clever bacteria and germs to mutate into stronger more dangerous germs2.. Plus, did you know that simply spraying and wiping a surface with a chemical disinfectant does not kill all germs?

Unbeknownst to most consumers, these products require “dwell time” of up to 10 minutes, and even then they can leave behind resistant germs which further strengthen and mutate. Not what you want in a healthy home!

Why It's Best to Germs (vs of Killing Them)

To take care of germs safely, it's best to REMOVE them! The CDC has done testing that shows conclusively that cleaning with a soap or cleaner removes all germs without leaving behind resistant bacteria3.,4.. So for everyday cleaning, a natural soap or cleaner like Branch Basics is all you need to remove (not kill) germs safely and effectively.

How to Remove Germs Using Branch Basics

Materials Needed Process
  1. Spray Branch Basics directly onto the surface
  2. Allow 2-5 minutes “dwell time”
  3. Wipe surface clean

How to Disinfect Using Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar

When someone is ill in a household, cleaning with soap and water and then using a safer disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide on frequently touched surfaces is recommended. For tough jobs, like disinfecting of cutting boards, you can pack a punch by using a combination of distilled white vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide (stored in separate bottles) on surfaces5. ,6. .

Materials Needed

    • Branch Basics All-Purpose or Bathroom cleaner
    • Split fiber Microfiber
    • Distilled White Vinegar (5% acidity) and/or Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution–brown bottle)
    • A spray nozzle for the brown bottle of peroxide. Exposure to light breaks down hydrogen peroxide so the brown bottle protects it.
    • A spray bottle for the vinegar (or a spray nozzle for the bottle if it will fit)
  1. Clean the surface or object to remove germs with Branch Basics or another non-toxic cleaner and preferably a microfiber towel
  2. Spray a few sprays of vinegar or peroxide on the surface, and let the one product dwell 5-10 minutes. Do not use them at the same time as this could create harmful fumes.
  3. Wipe thoroughly.
  4. Then spray the other product on the same surface. Let dwell and wipe thoroughly.

When To Use A Disinfectant Spray Vs. Soap And Water

It is easy to take care of germs without using sanitizers or disinfectants with harmful ingredients. Remember, studies have shown the best way to remove germs from surfaces without making them resistant is to use hot water and soap. Here are a few examples of when it is appropriate to use a safer natural disinfectant spray like hydrogen peroxide or vinegar and hydrogen peroxide:

  • Cutting boards or surfaces which have come into contact with raw meat, fish, or seafood
  • Non porous toys—especially those your baby may put in mouth.
  • Cell phones.
  • Toilet seats—especially after someone has been sick.
  • Surfaces soiled by pets (or children!).
  • Baby’s feeding tray table.
  • Door knobs.
  • TV remotes and controllers—especially when a family member is sick.
  • Sinks that have come into contact with raw meat, fish, or seafood.
  • Computer keyboards—spray microfiber with vinegar and wipe, then wipe with hydrogen peroxide.
It is also appropriate to increase the use of natural disinfectant sprays during cold and flu season, or if a family member has a contagious illness. Use common sense, avoid taking clean-to-the-extreme, use soap and water to remove germs as your first choice to avoid creating superbugs, and remember not all germs are bad! Plenty of research has shown that regular exposure to harmless bacteria and germs actually strengthens your gut microbiome and immune system, which will protect you from a variety of acute and chronic ailments7..
Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.