Non-Bleach DIY Disinfectant that Kills Viruses Fast

How to Make a DIY Disinfectant For Spraying Down Packages Delivered By Mail

This is a recipe for a Non-Bleach DIY Disinfectant that kills viruses and consists of just two ingredients.

My husband and I spooked ourselves out over the possibility of catching the coronavirus from packages that come in the mail.

We order a lot of stuff online and get packages nearly every week.

Yes, we’ve read all the reports that say that catching something from a package in the mail is highly unlikely.

Yet, our fears persisted.

Oh, How News Stories Can Cause Fears

Our paranoia continued after reading that both a USPS worker and an Amazon employee were confirmed to have the virus.

Note though that from the reports, the Amazon employee appears to be an office worker and not someone who was employed in the warehouse, but still… what if that employee had contact with warehouse workers?

Not only that, but a recent report found that coronaviruses can live on surfaces anywhere from a couple of hours to 9 days!

Additionally, at cold temperatures (4 degrees Fahrenheit or lower), some coronaviruses can live for over 28 days!

On top of that, Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, confirmed that coronaviruses live longer than a couple of hours on plastic and cardboard surfaces.

However, he also stated that packages that have been in transit for several days or weeks have a low likelihood of being infectious.

But what about same-day, overnight, or 2-day packages?

So my husband suggested that we spray down our packages with disinfectant.

I realized we were being too paranoid, still, we asked ourselves:

What kind of disinfectant?

I didn’t want to use Lysol or bleach because of all the chemical residue left behind.

I didn’t want to use a vinegar disinfectant because household vinegar is just very diluted acetic acid and thus typically takes a long time to disinfect. Some reports suggest a 30-minute incubation to be truly effective.

Then I had an idea…

The Disinfectant Used in Laboratories

When I worked in the lab, we used a 70% ethanol solution to disinfect our workbench.

Ethanol evaporates quickly, is proven to kill viruses, and requires only a 1-minute incubation to be effective.

Ethanol is an alcohol and is what is found in alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, and vodka.

In the lab, we purchased 95% lab-grade ethanol that sometimes was denatured with a tiny amount of methanol. I’ve always been suspicious about the methanol because methanol is a known carcinogen. But, it’s put into the alcohol to prevent the alcohol from being used for drinking.

It’s possible to purchase lab grade ethanol that is not denatured, but the cost is significantly higher.

Anyhow, you won’t be able to purchase lab-grade ethanol easily.

But you can purchase 92.4% ethanol at a liquor store. It is sold as 190 proof liquor under the brand name Everclear.

Because it is sold for drinking, Everclear is not denatured with methanol.

If you aren’t able to find 190 proof, Everclear also comes in 151 proof (75.5%).

You might also find Everclear in 120 proof (60%) but you won’t want to get this as you need to have a concentration of 62 – 70% in order for the disinfectant to be effective.

Simple Alcohol Disinfectant

Below is a quick and easy recipe for making a non-bleach DIY disinfectant that kills bacteria and viruses including the coronavirus.

It consists of just alcohol and water.

In the lab, we used deionized filtered water, but it’s not necessary for home use. The filtered water just provides for fewer particulates in the solution.

Tips for Use

The smell of alcohol in this disinfectant is extremely powerful.

It reminds me of being in the lab and yet, it seems even stronger than what I remember.

Nevertheless, I would recommend spraying packages outside the house as follows:

  1. Spray package down on the porch, outside of the house.
  2. Let package sit for at least 1 minute so that the disinfectant evaporates completely.
  3. Unbox/remove the packaging and discard the packaging material immediately as it will likely retain the smell of alcohol for several minutes (if you let the package sit for 10 minutes or so, the smell should be completely gone).

As with any household cleaner: please remember to keep this disinfectant spray out of the reach of children!

Recipe for 70% Ethanol Disinfectant

 ¾ cup 190 Proof Everclear
 ¼ cup Water


Pour 3/4 cup of 190 proof Everclear into a measuring cup.


Add water to the 1 cup line.


Stir well and pour into a spray bottle.


LABEL THE SPRAY BOTTLE APPROPRIATELY! For example: 70% Ethanol Disinfectant.


Makes 1 cup of disinfectant.


 ¾ cup 190 Proof Everclear
 ¼ cup Water



Pour 3/4 cup of 190 proof Everclear into a measuring cup.


Add water to the 1 cup line.


Stir well and pour into a spray bottle.


LABEL THE SPRAY BOTTLE APPROPRIATELY! For example: 70% Ethanol Disinfectant.


Makes 1 cup of disinfectant.

70% Ethanol Disinfectant

I don’t recommend disinfecting packages for everyone. I realize that my husband and I are being overly cautious in this regard as the CDC has stated that the possibility of transmission of the virus from packages is very low.

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  1. Lillie Belle says:

    If you are using 190 Proof alcohol you need to make sure that it is in a GLASS spray bottle. You should have mentioned that in your post/blog.

    1. alilaclife says:

      Hi Lillie, thanks for your comment. It’s not necessary to use a glass spray bottle for this. In fact, lab-grade alcohol at 190 proof or higher is sold and stored in plastic. Glass bottles are used for long term storage if the alcohol is intended for ingestion to avoid leaching small amounts of plasticizer. In this case, the alcohol solution is intended just for disinfecting. In all the labs I’ve worked in, we used plastic spray bottles for this 70% ethanol solution.

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