The most non-toxic disinfectants for the home are made with the active ingredients of hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorous acid (HOCL), or Thymol.
The simplest and purest product will be HOCL because you can use this as a single-ingredient product. But all three are good options for disinfecting jobs around the home.
The article focuses on sanitizers that work for chemically sensitive folks as well as for anyone going above and beyond to avoid toxins.
Active ingredients considered to be the most non-toxic and suitable for chemically sensitive folks:
- Hydrogen Peroxide – this odorless liquid is the most widely tolerated ingredient, based on a survey of chemically sensitive folks. However, ready-made formulas contain many other ingredients.
- Nanosilver – used in hospital-grade disinfectants in Australia but not in the US, this ingredient is used by some chemically sensitive folks.
- Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL) – this slight chlorine-scented ingredient is non-toxic and natural since it’s made from electrolyzed salt. Though some chemically sensitive folks react to the smell, it’s considered non-toxic and is fast to evaporate.
- Citric Acid or L-Lactic Acid are generally well tolerated by the chemically sensitive and are used for home cleaning.
- Alcohol: ethanol or isopropyl alcohol – these ingredients are very fast to evaporate though the fumes are not non-toxic.
- Thymol – is naturally derived from Thyme oil and is suitable for those who do well with natural scents.
This was based on a survey of chemically sensitive folks as well as 10 years of working with chemically sensitive folks.
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1. Hydrogen Peroxide-Based
Hydrogen peroxide is water with an extra oxygen molecule. It breaks down into oxygen and water and it doesn’t leave a residue. It’s the preferred disinfectant among the chemically sensitive (based on a survey of 67 highly sensitive individuals). You can use hydrogen peroxide from the pharmacy or grocery store but these need to be diluted and are not stabilized; an open bottle will expire within 6 months (source).
You can use hydrogen peroxide around the house but it’s not compatible with stone and it can bleach fabrics. For hardwood floors, it usually can work unless you apply highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide or you have really dark hardwood floors.
A. Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant
An EPA-registered, noncorrosive disinfectant based on hydrogen peroxide.
You’ll get fast kill times on over 40 pathogens. That’s more EPA-registered kill claims for antibiotic-resistant organisms compared to other popular wipes that use quats and alcohol.
Ingredients: Stabilizer, ppg-3 methyl ether, phosphoric acid, benzenesulfonic acid, alkoxylated phosphate polymers, salicylic acid, alkyl glucosides and polyglucosides, lauryl betaine, 1-(1-hydroxypropoxy)propan-1-ol (dipropylene glycol), tetrasodium iminodisuccinate, myristyl betaine, cetyl betaine, hydrogen peroxide, water, sodium hydroxide, sodium chloride, glycol ethers. Active Ingredient: Hydrogen Peroxide 1.4%. Fragrance-free.
B. MomRemedy Spray and Wipes
Made with a fairly simple ingredient list of plant-based ingredients, the wipes clean and sanitize and are safe around kids and pets.
Although it says “fragrance-free” it does contain D-limonene which has a citrus scent.
Ingredients: Water, Alcohols C9-11: Ethoxylated (which can be plant-based), 1.4% Hydrogen Peroxide, D-Limonene. Active ingredient: Hydrogen Peroxide. Fragrance: Yes, natural citrus.
Hypochlorous acid has a weak chlorine-like smell to it but is a stronger disinfectant than bleach. It’s non-toxic (it can be used to clean baby pacifiers), non-irritating even for sensitive skin, leaves no residue, and is very safe for the environment.
It doesn’t damage stone, so it can be used on stone countertops.
You can make it yourself very affordably with the little HOCL generators, which is what I do. I have this one. However, you don’t get a consistent concentration and it’s not stabilized.
A. CleanSmart Hospital Grade Disinfectant
EPA & FDA Approved. EPA Listed “N” to kill 99.9% of bacteria & viruses without harmful chemicals.
CleanSmart Daily Surface Cleaner/Disinfectant is EPA-Approved for all household surfaces. EPA-Approved to spray directly on a baby’s pacifier without rinsing after. Safe for dog kennels and litter boxes.
Ingredients List: 0.017% Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL), 99.919% Ionized Water. Active Ingredient: HOCL. Fragrance-Free
Where to find it: Amazon
B. BrioTech Sanitizer + Disinfectant
I like this brand as I have used their HOCL mouthwash for a long time. I’ve also tried their HOCL skin products and have been very happy with both.
BrioTech Sanitizer + Disinfectant is an all-natural hypochlorous acid that kills 99.99% of viruses and bacteria.
It’s for household cleaning of countertops, high chairs, floors, appliances, bathrooms, kitchens, tablets, mobile devices, glass, keyboards, pet toys & bowls, and kids’ toys. It’s safe for food contact surfaces and it’s safe to use around kids and pets.
Ingredients: Ionized Water, Salt, and Hypochlorous Acid. Active ingredient: Hypochlorous Acid. Fragrance-free.
Where to Buy: Amazon
Thymol-based disinfectants are derived from Thyme oil. It’s both natural and effective. It does have a fairly strong natural odor, so it’s not suitable for all chemically sensitive folks. It is safe for use on stone so you can use it on countertops.
A. Benefect Decon 30
EPA-Registered to kill over 99.99% of germs. It is Health Canada registered as well. It only needs a 30-second contact time.
Based on natural Thymol (from Thyme oil) this is proven to kill over 99.99% of bacteria and surpasses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efficacy requirements for broad-spectrum hospital disinfectants.
Ideal for decontamination, preventing cross-contamination, cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing. For use in residential homes including kitchens, it is a food surface contact sanitizer. No rinsing or wiping is required even on food contact surfaces.
Ingredients: Thyme oil, oregano oil, lemon oil, bio-based surfactants, water, ionized water. Active ingredient: Thymol. Fragrance: Yes, natural Thyme and lemon fragrance.
Where to find it: Amazon
B. Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner
It can be used on hard surfaces from countertops, appliances, and food preparation surfaces to windows, finished hardwood, and washable floors (be sure to wipe clean to avoid slips), children’s toys, pacifiers, gym equipment, food contact surfaces, doorknobs, bathroom surfaces, and more.
No rinse required, even on food contact surfaces and children’s toys.
Spray ingredients: Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate (Bluestone), Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Citronella Oil, and Lemongrass Oil. Active Ingredient: Thymol (0.05%). Fragrance: Yes, Thymol and essential oils.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.