You Can Use Garlic to Clean Your Kitchen — Here’s What You Need to Know

published Nov 11, 2021
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Credit: Tamara Gavin

If there’s one ingredient I always have in stock in my kitchen, it’s garlic. On top of adding it to pasta dishes and stir-fries, I love using fresh garlic in sauces, dressings, and, well, pretty much everything else. And, after years of hearing that you could use garlic in a DIY all-purpose spray, I recently decided to try it out.

If you aren’t familiar with garlic’s antimicrobial properties, here’s a quick primer: Plenty of studies have found that fresh garlic, which contains allicin, may kill bacteria and fungi. Even when it’s diluted, garlic can still be potent. That means, if you’d rather not use harsh chemicals to stave off germs on household surfaces, you can easily whip up your own antibacterial spray with fresh garlic cloves.

With a little bit of research and all of the household ingredients on hand, I went to work making my own cleaning spray starring garlic. Here’s how you can do it in four simple steps.

Credit: Ashley Abramson

How to Make an All-Purpose Cleaning Spray with Garlic

What you’ll need

  • An empty spray bottle
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • One bulb of fresh garlic 
  • Essential oil


  1. Fill your bottle with white vinegar: Fill an empty spray bottle with vinegar almost all the way to the top. While vinegar is not a registered disinfectant with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a great cleaner and does kill some pathogens, such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Combine it with garlic, and make it even better!
  2. Add garlic: After finely chopping about five cloves of garlic (or more, if they’re small), add them to the vinegar. You can also use a garlic press if you have one.
  3. Let it steep: Allow the mixture to steep overnight with the sprayer nozzle screwed into place.
  4. Add essential oil: If you have a favorite essential oil, you can add it to the mixture to improve the garlicky smell. (I used a lemon essential oil, but lavender, grapefruit, and orange oils are great options, too.) Add the drops about eight hours after you’ve made the garlic-and-vinegar mixture. Shake and then you’re good to spray!
Credit: Ashley Abramson

Once you’ve made your spray, you can start spritzing any surface in your home. I used mine throughout the kitchen, and it cleaned my counters and stovetop right up and left it shiny — without any streaks. If you have a sensitive nose, though, the spray does have a very faint garlicky smell, but nothing too overpowering. The lemon scent mostly masks it all. Now that I have my handy spray, I also have big plans to use this food-safe cleaning solution on my cutting boards and even the inside of the fridge.

Have you ever made your own homemade cleaning spray? Tell us in the comments below!