How to Make Food Safe Disinfectants

Kitchens are gross. “Not mine,” you think. Of course. You clean your kitchen and keep it spotless. 


Unfortunately, your kitchen is gross too. Even when it looks pristine, it’s crawling with microbes, and many of them are dangerous. Unless you’re using a good disinfectant, you aren’t getting rid of those microbes.


And, for someone who is into self-sufficiency or homesteading, powerful disinfectants aren’t always easy to come by. Fortunately, you can make your own disinfectants that are safe for the kitchen and won’t hurt you if you use them on cooking tools or preparation surfaces.


Now, both of these disinfectants do require ingredients that are hard to make from scratch, but you can get them in bulk and still maintain your self-sufficiency.


Mix Bleach and Water


This is one of the easiest things you can do, and when you do it right, it’s a very safe, very effective disinfectant. All you need is regular bleach from the store and tap water (and something to hold your mixture).


It all comes down to getting the ratio right. You want to use one teaspoon of bleach for every quart of water. You can scale that up or down as long as you keep the ratio right—just like adjusting the size of a batch of cookies.


With this ratio, you have enough bleach to kill germs, but it’s not enough to hurt you (probably still don’t drink it). You can use this to sanitize dishes, utensils, and cooking surfaces, but there are a few things to keep in mind. In fact, many restaurants use this exact mixture to sanitize everything.


First, this mixture only stays potent for about a week, and that’s only if you store it in a sealed bottle. Also, you should store it in a dark place.


Second, this is a disinfectant. You don’t use it to scrub the dishes or surfaces. Do all of the scrubbing first. Then, when things appear clean, you apply the bleach mixture, and it kills any lingering microbes.


Just Use Vinegar


If the last one seems too tricky, or if you don’t have access to bleach, you can use vinegar instead – although you should never mix the two. Specifically, white distilled vinegar can disinfect surfaces. You need a five-percent vinegar mixture, and, fortunately, that’s the standard percentage sold at stores.


You don’t have to mix anything with the vinegar; it’s a disinfectant all its own. But, it’s not quite as potent as the bleach mixture. The bleach mixture can kill germs in about a minute. Vinegar will need to stay in contact with the surface for around 10 minutes to really be effective.


If you can add heat, that’s a lot better. Above 130℉, white vinegar becomes more potent. It kills more germs and does it a lot faster.


That covers it. These are two disinfectants that are perfectly safe to use in a kitchen, and you can make them at home. If you’re looking to make your own bleach or vinegar from scratch, that’s a lot more complicated and a lot riskier. So, take advantage of modern conveniences, and you can keep your kitchen perfectly clean.