Everyone has heard the saying "moderation in all things;" this includes disinfectant substances that you use around your house on a weekly basis. Store-bought disinfectants used in cleaning can contain all sorts of nasty chemicals, some of which should really only be used in controlled settings such as hospitals. When used around the home inappropriately, these substances can actually help bacteria become resistant to the chemical, creating "superbugs.
A chemical of particular concern is triclosan. Used in everything from bar soaps to toothpaste, it can also be found in some commercial disinfectants. According to researchers, people who added triclosan to river water and shined ultra violet light on the water found that between one and twelve percent of the triclosan was converted to dioxins. Dioxins are incredibly toxic to aquatic organisms, animals and humans and as these substances are bioaccumulative, they work their way up the food chain. In a U.S. Geological survey study of 95 different organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, triclosan was one of the most frequently detected compounds(http://www.greenlivingtips.com).
Let's make a greener alternative.
It's important to bear in mind that disinfecting something means killing something else; that the nature of the process is destructive - however, the goal is to minimize "collateral damage."
Try eucalyptus oil
While there are quite a few environmentally-friendly products on the market, making your own eco-friendly disinfectant is very cheap and extremely quick to do using just eucalyptus oil and water.
Add 1.6 oz (50ml) of eucalyptus oil to a quart (liter) of water, and that's it! Be sure to shake well before use and use as you would a store-bought disinfectant. Also keep the mixture out of direct sunlight in an opaque container.
Not only will you have a greener disinfectant, but by making your own, you're more likely to use the same container, therefore cutting down your plastic consumption.
Another great disinfectant - tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has been recognized for centuries as a powerful natural antiseptic and disinfectant. Tea tree is from the myrtle family tree whose leaf oil is one of the best natural antiseptics. Tea Tree, native to the northeastern coast of New South Wales in Australia but also grown elsewhere, is in no way related to what we call tea. It also has medicinal properties.
For cleaning around the home:
Germ Destroyer: Instead of bleach, make your own bathroom disinfectant by mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil.
Mold and Mildew Remover: Green guru Annie Bond swears by tea tree oil for a go-to mold and mildew combatant. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil to a cup of water and mix it in a spray bottle. Spray the moldy area and let it sit for a couple of days. Once the strong scent dissipates (it will!), the mold's musty smell will be gone for good.
Quick and Simple