Homemade natural spray disinfectant

I recently received a question about using homemade Thieves Oil around children, especially young children under 3 years old. Unfortunately, many of the ingredients contained in it should not be used on small children. In fact, rosemary essential oil shouldn’t really be used around kids until they are at least 5 years old. Some sources indicate that children under 18 months of age should not be exposed to clove or cinnamon essential oils while other places indicate to keep them away from your children until they are at least 3 years old (and then only recommend the oils be used in sprays and diffusers).

In the end, it all comes down to what your child’s pediatrician recommends and what you feel comfortable exposing your child to. No pure essential oils of any kind should ever be put on your child’s body or ingested. Adults should also be very careful about putting undiluted essential oils on their skin because they often burn, especially oils like clove and cinnamon.

So as an alternative for those who would like to disinfect the air but are concerned about their children in the house, here is an alternative recipe for a homemade natural spray disinfectant. This can be sprayed into the air of any room to combat germs, viruses, bacteria and on on. I have also included some variations of the recipe below which are more suitable for children under 3.

Avoid letting the droplets fall on polished wood surfaces, delicate materials or other objects and materials in the room which could be damaged by the water or other ingredients in this spray. Mixing in glass containers is best — but never metal.

This recipe and many others can be found in Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by Valerie Ann Worwood (available at Amazon.com and Amazon.de). This is an excellent resource for parents who want to use aromatherapy and essential oil blends for their children.

If you have questions about making this, please leave me a comment below. I answer all questions as quickly and thoroughly as possible…especially when we’re dealing with children and essential oils!

Happy disinfecting!! :)

Kid-friendly Homemade Natural Spray Disinfectant


  • 4 ounces water
  • 2 ounces alcohol (or vodka)
  • 20 drops thyme linalol
  • 5 drops cinnamon
  • 5 drops clove
  • 10 drops tea tree
  • 10 drops lemon


  1. Add all the essential oils to the alcohol and stir.
  2. Add the oil/alcohol mixture to the water and let sit for 24 hours.
  3. Pour mixture into a clean spray bottle and spray into the air as needed.

Recipe variations for children by age:

Newborn — Use of the above oils is not recommended around children that young. Instead use 25 drops of Chamomile and 25 drops of Lavender. The solution may not be as effective but Chamomile is still an antibacterial and Lavender has antibacterial as well as disinfectant properties.

2-6 months old — Use 20 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata, 10 drops Chamomile, 10 drops Tea Tree Oil and 10 drops Lavender.

7 months to 1 year old — Use 20 drops Niaouli, 10 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata, 10 drops Tea Tree Oil and 10 drops Lavender.

2-3 years old — Use 10 drops Niaouli instead of clove and cinnamon oils. Ravensara can also be substituted or 5 drops of each used to replace clove and cinnamon. Niaouli contains extra anti-parasitic properties but both have antibacterial, disinfectant and antiviral properties.

3 years old and older — All oils okay for use as long as clove and cinnamon oils are only used in diffusers and room sprays.


  1. Jenn says

    THANK YOU TIFFANY!!! Wonderful response and article above as well – you are a wealth of info and I really appreciate your expertise! :)
    All the best,
    Jenn and family :)

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks for the kind words, Jenn!! I know how confusing aromatherapy can be and there are so many risks. I’m planning to study aromatherapy a lot in the future and am happy to be able to share some of what I learn with others. There are some great alternatives to the chemicals we’ve become so used to these days–we just have to be able to locate them and dust off the cobwebs a bit. 😉

    • Markosoupial says

      I’ve found the best homemade air freshener to be a vacuum cleaner and regular applications of elbow grease. Funny how I’ve never purchased an air freshener product and my home is never stinky! Hmm…

  2. Jenn says

    Hi Tiffany!
    I have made the room spray and it’s great! The only hard part was sacrificing a couple of ounces of my Smirnoff! 😉 teehee
    I wanted to find out from you if the drops alone (I used the Niaouli, Thyme, Lemon, Tea Tree) can I then add some of that oils-only mixture to, say a certain amount of massage oil to use on my little one (2 years old) when she is sick (on her feet or somethin), or is it best to stick with just the room spray since she’s younger…thanks again for the help!

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Jenn!

      That’s great news!! Glad to hear it’s already working for you. I also had the same experience with the vodka the first time around…only had Absolut in the house and my husband looked at me like I was crazy when I poured about a cup of it into a deodorant mix. I’ve since then picked up a few bottles of the cheapest vodka I could find for these sorts of projects. 😉

      You can indeed use the oil-only blend in massage oil, lotion, baths and so on. For lotions and body or massage oil, you should use 1-5 drops of the blend to 1 ounce of carrier oil (almond is a great one but jojoba and wheatgerm are other options). This amount applies for 1-4 year olds. One of the easiest ways to mix massage or body oil would be to add the blend to the empty bottle, add the carrier oil and then roll the bottle in your hands.

      For baths you would need to first mix 1-2 drops of the oil blend into 2 teaspoons (10ml) of carrier oil. Then you can add about 1 teaspoon of this blend to the bath water, just swishing it around with your hand.

      Just in case you don’t know, here’s a little more info about the essential oils you’re using:

      • Tea tree is a disinfectant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory.
      • Thyme linalol (not to be confused with regular thyme which is a bit too harsh for kids) is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and a disinfectant.
      • Niaouli is antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiviral and a disinfectant.
      • Lemon is antiviral and anti-infectious. Lemon essential oil is also phototoxic so make sure not to put it on the skin for at least a few hours before going outside.

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe on homemade disinfectant spray. My wife’s current solution uses ammonia so this would be an improvement, more expensive, but more family friendly.

    • Sarah L says

      It’s an investment at first, but once you have the oils, you can do so much with them – and since you are only using a few drops at a time, the blends are actually VERY economical.

  4. Amy@homemade bath products says

    This is a great idea. I really like using homemade cleaners rather than toxic chemicals.
    .-= Amy@homemade bath products´s last blog ..Funky Monkey Soap (Kitchen Smell Dispel) =-.

  5. Nzinga says

    Hi Tiffany, thanks for the article. I want to make a good disinfectant spray for my home. My 4 year old carries some of the nastiest bugs and doesn’t always cover his mouth or stay out of his nose. Only thing I want to use the essential oils I have on hand already. I have lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, cedar, sweet orange and peppermint. Any advice for the recipe? Oh, and I also have a 8 month old.

    • Tiffany says

      Most of the oils you mention are safe enough for you to be using around your kids, even your youngest, with the exception of cedar, eucalyptus and peppermint. These three are way too harsh for even older kids.

      You could try something like 10 drops Neroli (sweet orange), 15 drops Lemon, 10 drops Tea Tree Oil and 15 drops Lavender.
      If this scent isn’t something you like, you can vary the amounts of Neroli, Lemon & Lavender, keeping the number of drops the same but fluctuating amongst those three. Tea tree oil you should be rather careful with because the smell is quite strong.

      You might want to invest in a bottle of eucalyptus radiata, the more gentle version of eucalyptus It smells fantastic and it has a lot of uses for kids.

  6. Tom Moore says

    Hi Tiffany, just mixed up some Thieves oil to your recipe and was wondering if I can make a bottle spray with it? While I wait for my cold air diffuser on back order to arrive, I want to spray some black mold.

    Also, how many drops are in a teaspoon?

    Love your site.

    • Tiffany says

      Most people say that just a few drops in a small spray bottle is enough to kill it. I would prefer to err more on the cautious side, and put probably 10 drops in a 4 or 6 ounce water bottle. Just don’t oversaturate because you’ll be adding fuel to the fire with the moisture. You can also spray straight tea tree oil onto the mold to kill odors and stop growth. The latter is what I usually do.

      100 drops of oil equals 5mls or one teaspoon

      So glad you’re enjoying NOH! That just made my day :)

    • Tiffany says

      Any sort of hard liquor actually. Vodka works best because it has the least amount of smell and is clear…but other types will work too. The strong the “proof” the more effective it is for killing germs. You can even use vodka to clean your bathroom. Works fabulously! :)

  7. Chas Barber says

    Hi Tiffany…am really loving reading some of your posts and wondered what would be a good source (and most inexpensive) to get these essential oils from?

    Thanks for what you do and for offering this info for the rest of us! :)

  8. Heather says

    Tiffany, I just made a bottle of thieves oil in one once of jojoba oil. I gave some thieves to my neighbor who put it on her family who were sick. Now I’m reading most of the ingredience aren’t good for children? She has twin two year olds and a six year old. The six year old asked for more oil later that night because she said she could breathe when she had it. What is the reason for not using it on small children? And is it small or young children? Because my five year old is very small, so if it’s a poundage issue, maybe he shouldn’t use it? Thanks so much for all your info!

    • Tiffany says

      Thieves oil should only be added to a room, like in a diffuser or spray where children are present. Cinnamon and clove essential oils are extremely strong and have a tendency to burn the skin and mucus membranes which applied directly to the skin. They can also cause other allergic and adverse reactions. Because of their harsh nature, it is not advised that infants or small children (under 3 years old) are giving these oils directly.

      In a diffuser, 1-3 drops with water in the dish is sufficient for kids 2-5 years old. Kids 6-10 years old can use 1-4 drops in the room. For a room spray. 5-10 drops per every cup of water is recommended. Never spray anything with essential oils directly onto furniture or rugs because it may cause staining.

      With that being said, cloves oil to the gums is a commonly used remedy for children cutting teeth here in Germany. Obviously you should only use the tiniest drop on a q-tip and it takes awful, so we only tried this with Mackenzie once, but she did not experience any side effects. Every child is different though, and you obviously don’t want to take unnecessary risks with infants or small children.

      If your neighbor’s kids have a cold, they might want to try my natural cold remedy for kids mix. I put a few drops into my daughter’s bath, mix a few drops into a carrier oil and massage it on her chest/back, and also put a few drops onto a handkerchief and put that in my daughter’s pillow when she goes to bed. This usually lessens her cold symptoms by the next morning.

  9. Linda says

    Hi Tiffany , I really appreciate your helpful advice . I am very interested as I have so many problems with chemicals . I also am glad you’ve mentioned we even have to be careful with essential oils . I didn’t know that or that some are especially bad for babies and children. Where do we find essential oils to put in these recipes . Thanks again for all the time you take to help us out . Linda ( Alberta , Canada

  10. Sarah says

    Hi Tiffany, thanks so much for sharing this! I have a question though. I have a 5 month old baby and my husband seems to be having the beginnings of flu symptoms. Is it possible to use the 2-6 month old recipe variation (20 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata, 10 drops Chamomile, 10 drops Tea Tree Oil and 10 drops Lavender) in a diffuser instead of a room spray? Also, the Chamomile oil that I have is Chamomile Roman France 3% Dilution. Is this ok to use?

    Many thanks! :)

    • Tiffany says

      Sure, you can use this as a diffuser instead. Just mix the oils recommended together and use them straight instead of diluting.
      You should only add 1-2 drops for children under 2 years old to a diffuser. So if your 5 month old will be around, make sure not to put in too much. You might also want to try out this cold remedy for kids on your husband. It helps clear the sinus and always helps us bounce back a bit more quickly.

      Both Roman Chamomile and German are safe for small children, as young as newborns.

  11. says

    Do you have a suggestion for an alternative oil to use for the thyme linalol? I have a 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 yr old. The price on the thyme linalol is a little too much for us right now. Thanks!

  12. says

    We stumbled over here from a different website and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again.

    • says

      Hi JoyGail. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I missed your comment somehow.
      Because these oils are safe with smaller children, they should be ok for dogs as well (and other house pets). We spray it around our dog without problem (but she’s also about 120 pounds lol.)

      If you’re concerned, I would suggest you try spraying it with them not in the room first and let them come in after a few minutes, watching for any reaction. If all is fine, you can test a spritz on the other side of a large room, and then somewhere closer, just to make sure they will not have any adverse reactions.

  13. meghan says

    Hi Tiffany!

    I’m flying with my 4 month old and wanted to make a spray to use on the plane to help prevent any sickness. Would this be safe to spray in close quarters with my son?

    • says

      You’ll want to use the 2-6 months old formula of 20 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata, 10 drops Chamomile, 10 drops Tea Tree Oil and 10 drops Lavender.

      Make sure it’s Eucalyptus Radiata and not Globus as that can be too strong for small children.

      Also, if you’ve never used essential oils before around him, you always want to use them with caution and in limited amounts, especially in the beginning.

      Happy travels!


  1. […] This natural cold remedy is for symptoms like runny or stuffed up noses, congestion, cough and fever. Ingredients like lavender and neroli were included to help encourage sleep and I have been putting it on her chest before naps and bedtime, but you can put it on at every diaper change if symptoms are more severe. And if anyone in your house comes down with a cold, don’t forget to disinfect the air with your homemade germ-killing spray. […]

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