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DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray: When Hand Sanitizer is Not Enough

Avatar for Jodie Weston Jodie Weston  |  Updated: September 5, 2020
DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray: When Hand Sanitizer is Not Enough

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Although news of Ebola has been dominating the headlines, there is currently another nasty outbreak circulating the United States. Since August, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has caused clusters of respiratory disease in the US with over 690 people affected.  As of this writing, five children have died.

This is not something to take lightly and is reason enough to start doubling up on the frequency of handwashing and the use of hand sanitizers. This includes adults, of course, but also children who seem especially at risk.

DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray

According to Wikipedia:

EV68 almost exclusively causes respiratory illness, and varies from mild to severe. Initial symptoms are similar to those for the common cold, including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever.

As the disease progresses, more serious symptoms may occur, including difficulty breathing as in pneumonia, reduced alertness, a reduction in urine production, and dehydration, and may lead to respiratory failure.

In addition to the copious use of hand sanitizers, there is something else you can do to potentially ward off a virus; you can create an easy to use anti-viral spray using readily available essential oils and witch hazel.  With assistance from contributing author Rebecca Schiffhauer, here is how to create your own DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray.

Nature’s Antiviral Sanitizing Spray

One of the most valuable benefits of pure essential oils is their ability to kill a virus. Yes, you heard that right KILL a virus and, without side effects mind you!  This reason alone makes essential oils universally beneficial for all mankind because our bodies battle bacterial and viral infections daily. Additionally, more virulent strains of bacterial infection like MRSA are growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics.  But here’s the kicker…

Traditional prescription antibiotics cannot kill a virus, did you know that?  However, our ever generous planet offers us a superhero solution to the complex health hazard of antibiotic resistance – essential oils.  It’s so simple it’s almost unbelievable but it’s true, spend some time with Google and learn for yourself because I love validation!

Now that school is back in full swing so are microbes that make us very nervous, namely Enterovirus D68.  Tis the season for enterovirus related illness especially contagious in schools. This virus isn’t new but the strain showing up this fall is spreading rapidly and that IS new.  Enterovirus D68 is a big worry for children with compromised respiratory systems ie: asthma, chemo patients, infants.

After reading many articles, a common preventative is to wash hands often especially in public places like schools, stores and public transportation.  “Store bought hand sanitizers are not enough”.  This comment was made on national news last night.  Not a good choice anyway, many contain triclosan which the Environmental Protection Agency has listed as a pesticide.

Let’s get serious and put pure essential oils to work instead.  They’re portable, strong enough to kill a virus and they can protect your family safely, responsibly and effectively.

In my experience, a small spray bottle is the best application to take with you or send with your kids. Glass or PET plastic spray bottles are widely available and affordable. However, you can add antiviral EOs to Naked Salve or a roller bottle if that’s your preference!


Nature’s Antiviral Sanitizing Spray

Add essential oils to empty spray bottle, top off with alcohol free witch hazel and a pinch of salt. The salt acts as an emulsifier but this is optional. If you decide against adding salt to emulsify, shake bottle gently before each use.

Author: Camp Wander


FYI – I made sure this blend wouldn’t be a problem for little hands that rub their eyes.  I tried rubbing my eyes after sanitizing my hands and all was well, no burn from Oregano or Shield with cinnamon and clove in it!

Good news!  Everything in Nature’s Antiviral Sanitizer can be used to fight infection should you or a loved one succumb to Enterovirus D68.  I will suggest two additional essential oils however: Melaleuca to assist Oregano (watch how) and, Respire Respiratory Blend in case an infection goes to the lungs.  Respire can be inhaled or diffused to help open up airways.

The Final Word

Over the past year, I have had some amazing results using essential oils in lieu of over the counter remedies.  My favorite uses are in a healing salve (see DIY Miracle Healing Salve) and in a rollerball bottle when combined with a bit of fractionated coconut oil.

That said, as always, seek medical attention for any sort of serious illness or when you have symptoms of a high fever, persistent cough, or unbearable pain. A diy anti viral spray is great for prevention but nothing is a substitute for professional medical care for more serious matters.

If you cannot get essential oils or have decided they are not for you, remember that hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol both have major disinfection properties. Here is a link to my post “8 Best Essential Oils For Disinfecting and Cleaning” for even more information on using essentials for homemade sanitizer and disinfection spray.

White vinegar and a spray bottle are also worth mentioning as an easy solution when looking for a basic diy disinfection spray. White vinegar is anti bacterial and thus makes a good food safe anti bacterial spray for cutting boards and other food prep surfaces. The odor dissipates quickly just in case you might be concerned about that.

For more information about the basics of hand sanitation, be sure to also read Survival Basics: Hand Sanitation For Good Hygiene.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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13 Responses to “DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray: When Hand Sanitizer is Not Enough”

  1. If I want to make this in a 4 oz spray bottle, what would you recommend for the number of drops for essential oil. Can I also use witch hazel with 14% alcohol?

  2. If you can’t use spray, you could mix this in organic aloe gel (better than a spray bottle for school).
    Also, Plant Therapy carries an alternative called Germ Destroyer, that is made to be safe for children 2y to 10y. Shield and similar 4 thieves-type blends contain essential oils that aren’t recommended for use with children. You could also make your own kid-safe blend with individual oils, like orange, lavender, and tea tree.

  3. As a former transit(bus driver ) operator,I have been exposed to everything from aids to saltwater itch!I have used a,reformulation of standard hand san, 80% alcohol 10% colloidal silver, which I make myself, and 10% essential oil. I use NOW brand oils. I vary between eucalyptus,lime,and rosemary. Works very well using store bought hand san in the quart size, and modify as above.
    I also use a spray of colloidal silver as a direct spray into my mouth sub lingual. The portable battery powered kits can be found on Amazon ( where else ) for under a 100$ a piece, or its fairly easy to just build your own…one caveat SILVER COINS AND JEWELRY ARE NOT PURE ENOUGH TO USE. The new 5,9s Canadian maple leaf would work.
    I found this site from THE READY LETTER, and I’m certainly glad I did!
    One more little thing, I have sleep apnea and in the humidifier section of the machine I always use a few drops of essential oils.And every lung exam my lungs are perfectly clear, even though I was a smoker, now ex, for over 30 yrs. Stay safe !

  4. Hi, Ms. Gaye! I made this as is, but I was wondering why we need to use alcohol free witch hazel. Doesn’t the alcohol help kill germs?

    • I am glad you called me on this. Alcohol can be drying and irritating to individuals with sensitive skin. That said, I have used Thayers Aloe Vera Witch Hazel (the type with alcohol) with no problem. Since alcohol is an effective sanitizer, it will boost the properties of this anti-viral spray.

      You might notice that I have removed “alcohol free” from the recipe.

  5. Is there a way to make your own Shield Protection Blend using the EOs listed on the Spark website-i.e., equal amounts of all?

    • Here is a recipe for DIY Shield with Lavender (you can leave out the lavender).

      45 drops clove essential oil
      35 drops lemon essential oil
      25 drops eucalyptus essential oil
      20 drops cinnamon essential oil
      15 drops lavender essential oil
      10 drops rosemary essential oil

      Instructions: Combine the all essential oils and store in a dark 15 ml glass bottle

  6. IF this ebola and enterovirus D68 get really bad–I plan on carrying a wipes box and a small spray bottle of bleach in both vehicles.
    The great thing for me is I am so prepped, I haven’t left the house in 3 weeks.
    Sweetie brings home bread and milk. Bless his heart!!

    We all plan on staying home, but there will be emergencies like a seizure during the night–yes, it happened and yes, I did not call 911 this time–that we may need to leave the house for.
    I will do my best to stay clear of hosptials and ERs in that situation, butsomething like a heart attack I can’t handle on my own.
    We must realize we are on earth in God’s time, not ours.

  7. Thanks for another recipe for sanitizing. I’ve just made another batch of my Vinegar of the 4 Thieves with a few variations. I didn’t have any dried lavendar so I included some culinary lavender oil (not good quality therapeutic oil like Sparks) and substituted ajwain for thyme, since I had run out of that too. I know I can use the vinegar for sanitizing, but since I use it for internal your recipe will work externally, though since I’m allergic to Eucalyptus, I created another version subbing mint for the Eucalyptus. Check out mint for those who are like me. REmember they couldn’t have used Eucalyptus in the original “Thieves” formula because Australia hadn’t been discovered yet. 😉

  8. Thanks Gaye! What a well-timed post; I had just been googling recipes for just such a spray. I had thought to use rubbing alcohol instead of witch hazel though, as I have plenty of that on hand. Do the EOs break down or lose their efficacy in the presence of alcohol?

  9. Thank you for the Antiviral Sanitizing Spray recipes!

    Here’s a Quick Question I hope you can answer:
    Could these sprays be effective– meaning, quickly & easily– when sprayed on public surfaces before touching them, such as airplane armrests, subway handles, ATM keyboards, restaurant tables, etc.?

    Versus spraying directly on your hands.

    Example: You get on the bus or train, give a quick “toot”, with or without wiping down?– THEN grasp the handle..

    A whole new social “protocol” for self protection against MRSA, Ebola, DV68 etc. might need to emerge for people to do this quick pre-spray as a matter of course before touching certain surfaces..

    Also: Is the Shield Protection Blend the only formulation you can think of that might do the job? Because not everyone can access unusual ingredients right away.

    Please reply.

    Thank you for your public service: Knowledge is power, and Knowledge with compassionate action can save lives!

    • I have been using my Shield spray (without the Oregano) for a few months now. I carry it in my handbag and my pack and also keep a small spray bottle in the car. During my recent trip, I sprayed it everywhere around my hotel room: pillows, telephone, etc. plus the armrests on the plane and on my hands after coming in contact with people. Going forward, I am adding a few drops of Oregano oil as well for extra protection.

      As an alternative to Shield Blend (or other essential oils),consider using vinegar which is readily available and inexpensive. Both white and ACP work. For this purpose (an anti-viral spray), I would use it undiluted.

      Will vinegar be as effective as essential oils? I can’t really say. I rely heavily on my oils but have plenty of vinegar on hand as a backup, especially for cleaning household surfaces.

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