If you want to make a chemical-free, antibacterial disinfectant, all you need are a few herbs and some vinegar. During the 1700s, a band of French thieves was caught looting the belongings of plague victims. They seemed, magically, to be immune to the plague and in exchange for their secret, they were given clemency for their crimes.Their secret was a special preparation of herbs and vinegar latter dubbed Four-Thieves Vinegar.We can still make good use of this disinfectant. Instead of relying on harsh chemicals to clean, this antibacterial, herbal vinegar makes an inexpensive, effective and chemical-free alternative.
Things You'll Need
- 2 C. white vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. dried thyme
- 4 Tbsp. dried sage
- 4 Tbsp. dried rosemary
- 4 Tbsp. dried lavender
- Distilled water
- Glass jar
- Tight-fitting, plastic lid
- Fine-mesh strainer (or muslin)
- Spray bottle
Thoroughly clean a glass jar and lid. Combine 4 tablespoons each of dried thyme, sage, rosemary and lavender with 2 cups of white vinegar and using a funnel, combine all ingredients in the jar and cover it tightly with the lid.
Rosemary contains camphor, a powerful anti-microbial. Thyme contains thymol, which clinical studies have shown to kill staphylococcus and salmonella. Lavender contains antibacterial compounds that are more concentrated than many chemical components used cleansers, like phenol, and sage contains natural phenol. Because these herbs are plants, not chemicals created in a lab, they offer less risk of creating super strains of bacteria through drug resistance, or causing adverse reactions in humans and animals.
Allow the mixture to cure for a month to six weeks in a warm, dark place.Shake the mixture occasionally during curing to help incorporate the herbs.Shake the mixture occasionally during curing to help incorporate the herbs.Strain the mixture through a doubled thickness of muslin or a fine-mesh strainer.
Mix equal parts water and the mixture into smaller batches for use. Add diluted mixture to a spray bottle and use as needed to clean counter tops, floors, appliances, glass and other surfaces.
Tips & Warnings
- Vinegar is a mild acid that is produced when sugars and grains are fermented. It is safe and nontoxic household cleaner to use. If you prefer, you can substitute apple cider vinegar for white vinegar.
- Some versions of Four-Thieves Vinegar used more sweet-smelling herbs in the blend. Herbs like mint and lemon balm have antibacterial properties and will improve the fragrance of the completed mixture. If you decide to use these herbs, use 4 tablespoons, dried, of either one or both. Use them in addition to the other four herbs, not as a substitution for any of them.
- If you want to use fresh herbs from your garden, triple the quantities of the dried herbs listed.
- Although this is a mild, nontoxic disinfectant that is safe to use around pets and children, skin reactions can occur in sensitive individual. To test for sensitivity, place a drop of the preparation on a bandage and secure the bandage to the skin of the forearm. If redness occurs within 24 hours, wash the area thoroughly with warm water and discontinue use.
- This mild antibacterial spray is a good choice for areas around pet bedding and food, houseplants, aquariums and terrariums, outdoor eating areas and areas where children and pets play. It is a non-toxic herbal disinfectant, but does not have the strong antibacterial properties of many antibacterial preparations available commercially.
- Although this preparation is safe as a cleaner, it is not intended for use around foodstuffs.
What Are the Ingredients in Hand Sanitizer?
Hand sanitizers, or hand antiseptics, are popular methods used to "clean" hands when soap and water are not available. Hand sanitizers come...