DIY All Purpose Cleaner
April 26, 2016 | Kathryn Kellogg
Last Updated on July 25, 2022
These DIY All Purpose Cleaner Recipes are easy to make, made with simple ingredients, and will leave your space sparkling clean!
Using a homemade all purpose cleaner that isn’t filled with nasty chemicals is a must! You can make both an all purpose vinegar cleaner and DIY multi purpose cleaner in mere minutes.
best all purpose cleaner
It takes seconds and few ingredients to whip up a homemade all purpose cleaner. I first started naturally cleaning my home out of financial necessity.
Later, I discovered that most cleaning products have terrible, undisclosed ingredients in them and made the permanent switch.
I couldn’t be happier because I seriously now have the best all purpose cleaner, and my bank account couldn’t be happier.
cleaning with homemade all purpose cleaner
My boyfriend was a pharmacist and worked at a hospital for five years. He knows clean.
He also happens to be way better at cleaning than I am. I always tell him that in hopes that I’ve inflated his ego enough to escape actually cleaning myself…. it never seems to work.
And, while weaseling my way out of cleaning may not work, the cleaner itself definitely works. Justin approved!
We like to divide the house by surfaces and floors. I do surfaces; he does floors.
Mostly because I cannot stand mopping. I use two main surface cleaners, one for granite and one for everything else.
My favorite cleaner is made with vinegar, but it can dull or etch granite and marble.
I know a lot of people haven’t had any issues with it, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
A ruined granite slab won’t fit in my trash jar.
why you’ll love DIY all purpose cleaner
- Only takes minutes to prepare.
- You probably already have the ingredients on hand.
- Even works on hard cleaning jobs.
- Much less expensive than commercially prepared cleaning products.
all purpose vinegar cleaner
- 1 Part Warm Water
- 1 Part White Vinegar (bought in a glass bottle at the grocery store)
Mix together in a spray bottle.
diy multi purpose cleaner
- 1 Cup of Warm Water
- 1 Tablespoon of Liquid Castile Soap Like Dr. Bronners (bought in bulk at Whole Foods)
Based on the size of your bottle, you can adjust this to 1 tablespoon for every cup of water and 1.5 teaspoons for every half cup of water.
frequently asked questions
can I combine vinegar and castile soap?
Wasn’t that easy? Now, you never want combine the vinegar and the Castile soap unless you’re wanting to waste your ingredients.
And, I mean – have you seen the name of the blog? Zero Waste!
If you combine vinegar and Castile soap you unsaponify the soap. In order to make soap you saponify fat. By unsaponifying the soap, you’re reverting it back to fat, and you can’t clean with fat.
This is where natural cleaning gets tricky. There’s so much information out there, and a lot of wrong information. So, do your research, and don’t get bummed if you found a dud recipe online. Natural cleaning should be super simple.
why can’t I clean granite with vinegar?
Cleaning your granite countertop with any cleaner that has vinegar is a bad idea because the acid in the vinegar essentially can eat the surface of the granite. This will lead to the counter having a rough texture and becoming discolored over time. We all know how expensive granite is, so it’s not worth the risk if you ask me.
can I use the DIY all purpose cleaner in my bathroom?
Yup! This is truly the best all purpose cleaner recipes because you can use them on almost any surface. Your bathroom tub, shower, and sink will all look fantastic and smell great too! You can even use the all purpose vinegar cleaner on mirrors and windows and they will sparkel.
can I use the DIY multi purpose cleaner on hardwood floors?
I don’t recommend using either of the DIY all purpose cleaner recipes for hardwood floors. Hardwood is so delicate when it comes to cleaning, and you don’t want to damage them.
I introduced my husband to the world of vinegar and baking soda today. Watching him geek out over the chemical reaction to both of them to clean something he’d be scrubbing away on was priceless!
That’s adorable!! Volcano!
Glass cleaner: 4 parts distilled water+1 part alcohol+1 teaspoon bio washing up liquid et voilà!
Regarding alcohol: use vodka! I use Everclear, the highest proof I’m aware of, but there is a brand with a latch top… Also I just have a spray bottle of straight alcohol, one of vinegar, one with a teaspoon of Oasis AP detergent (we use the greywater) plus water. For glass, a spray of vinegar, and a spritz of alcohol = works great. By having a separate bottle of alcohol I can use it to sanitize surfaces, treat wounds, etc.
I agree -be careful the surfaces you use vinegar on!
I also like having some vinegar with lemon smell. Really easy to do it and smells great ( I just leave the some peels of lemon in a jar of vinegar closed in a dark and dry place for 10 days. Then remove the lemon peel and that’s it. I love it!
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What types of spray bottles do you use? All the ones I can find have plastic parts – even if the main body is made out of glass, the tube and pump are made of plastic.
You will be very hard pressed to find a bottle without the plastic top. The only ones I can think of that don’t have a plastic top are the vintage spray bottles you’d see in a conservatory from the victorian period. I can’t really think of any other way to describe it. Can you visualize it?
I have been cleaning and deodorizing with 100 proof vodka mixed with water for a few weeks now, and I’m very happy with the results. I use the same solution as suggested for vodka "febreeze" — half and half. It’s in my spray bottle, and I use it on most surfaces. It is not only effective, and antibacterial, the best part is if my dog licks it, I don’t have to freak out (obviously, you would not want a dog or child to drink a bottle of vodka cleaning solution, but it’s a lot safer than other stuff out there in regards to contact/minimal ingestion). I have found the only thing it is really ineffective on is rust stains and cleaning out the tub (I like a paste approach there). It can even be used to fight cat urine stains and smells in carpets, and actually kills the bacteria causing the smell. So happy I found it!
Hi, just cheeking this will work for everything like washing the floor, and the toilet, and the ditches and the windows and the things made of wood? Is it really for all purposes?
It’s really all purposes! I wouldn’t recommend the soap spray on wood.
I recently tried adding lemon peppermint oil to my castile soap cleaner (I am not very exact, I just squirt some soap into the bottle and fill with water), anywho the Dr Bronner’s I used is peppermint and I added lemon essential oil to it as a disinfectant – I would not recommend it. I am using it because castile soap can be expensive and I don’t want to waste it but the smell is so strong I feel like I am gassing myself when I clean my tub.
Just wondering which cleaner you use for what? Do you use the vinegar solution for cleaning everything, including the bathroom, and keep the soap solution only for the granite, or do you use the soap solution for other areas of the house as well?
I use the vinegar solution on everything except my granite counters. I also use my tub scrub for the tub or difficult grout.
Hi! I was wondering where you got the stainless steel (?) spray bottle? I love it!
If you can believe it, the dollar tree five years ago. Still working!
Do you repurpose the Castile soap container? I’m in the research phase of trying to go zero waste and still have SO many questions.
Sure, you can repurpose your old containers! I just get castile soap filled from bulk in my old containers.
How do you get vinegar that’s not in plastic?? 🙂
I buy it in glass bottles. Heinz tends to sell it in glass.
I have beautiful, original wood floors from 1894, any recommendation for cleaning those? I’m worried the vinegar would dry them out more – I’ve heard using olive oil once a year on them can help, but I definitely just fell into the pinterest trap of combining Dr. Bronners & Vinegar. 🙁
I just strained out the clumpy Dr. Bronners and reused the rest, luckily, it wasnt that much. So asking here for wood floor help!
Simply needed to state I appreciated this post since I have been needing to freshen up our home in the wake of living in it for a long time. It’s interesting how sometimes only a modest change can bring joy.
Hi there! Thanks for all your help in this transition. Quick question, do you make the solution and put it in the spray bottles each time you prepare to clean, or can it be made and left in the bottles to use again at a later date?
Also, not really understanding the unsopanified stuff.
Thanks in advance!
I’ve always left mine mixed in the bottles and just give them a good shake to mix things up before using again.
Hi. I have used vinegar and water spray; vinegar, water and essential lavender; vinegar with organge and lemon peels with water but it all still smells like vinegar and my boyfriend and his brother always complain when I clean with it. But I prefer cleaning with this now because of my one-year-old. What can I do to get rid of the vinegar smell?
My husband hates the smell of vinegar, too. I try to clean when he’s not home, and the smell usually dissipates within 30 minutes. Or I’ll light a candle or some incense to help mask it while I clean! The great thing about vinegar is that it’s safe to let kids use to help you clean… and both my kids now like the smell of vinegar!
This recipe works excellent. I was using another method for all natural cleaner, but this one looks to do a better job cleaner stains. I just tried it in my bathroom. Cleaned tremendous and has a sweet smell to it as well. No vinegar smell.
Have you found a zero waste spray bottle?
Hi I have tried vinigar on my shower and it didn’t work. Would liquid Castile soap leave soap scum? How do you clean an oven with it? I want to try but I also want to know it will work effectively on everything. Especially my oven, stove and glass doored shower/toilet. Have you found any Castile soaps that don’t contain palm oil like Dr Bonners does? I don’t have a bulk store anywhere near me to refill Castile soap is there a zero waste option? Sorry just doing some research at the moment
For shower & tub scum, I scrub with a baking soda & water paste. It works on my stovetop and oven, too. After scrubbing, I usually spray the vinegar solution on and scrub some more.
I make a cleaner using vodka (cheaper the better) and infuse it with any leftover citrus that I have. The smell is amazing and it is THE BEST cleaner. Years ago I watched an interview with a professional cleaner who swore it was supreme and can be used anywhere. Now that I infuse it, I like it even better. It works with peels or slices and I always have jars infusing at all times. Right now I have one with lemon, one with mandarin and one with grapefruit! I choose my scent when I clean and no yucky vinegar smell!
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Thanks for this post. I was looking at one talking about white vinegar.
I started to use it a long time ago for environmental and healthy purpose.
Well I’m still facing the issue: where to get it from a non plastic bottle ?
You are talking about glass bottle but around me I don’t see anything like this 🙁
And I don’t want to look for a website as I don’t want to add more gas pollution and packaging waist to this purchase…
Any idea where to get it ? I’m dreaming about the white vinegar bulk where we could fill our own bottle !
The knowledge gives by you is not only helpful for me but also for all humans. thank you very much.
the best Zero Waste All Purpose Cleaner is my favorite one, keep sharing.
I’ve been making my own bathtub cleaner for years and saved more money than I can count. 1.5 cups of water, 1/2 cup of white vinger, 1 tbs of dish soap and a couple few drops of tea tree oil. When I fist made the switch I see mes to need to clean more often and with a lot more elbow grease but as the bacteria that cleaners "kill" were eventually really killed off I clean less often and it takes a swipe and your done. I’ve been using this recipe for over 10 years. I make it in bulk now, about 7 spray bottles worth at a time, 3.5 cups of vinegar, 10.5 cauos of water, 7 tsp of soap and 2 dropper fills of tea tree oil. It works on all bathroom surfaces not just the bathtub. Spot cleaning my vinyl tiled kitchen floor, kitchen wall splatters. You name it. I suppose it’s turned into more of an all purpose cleaner in my house over the years.
SO! New to this – my better half is worried about vinegar smell. I have tried to stay away from the vinegar cleaning supplies because of this (he absolutely hates the smell, as do I but I’m happy about the chemical free/health aspect of it so I look past the smell). Does this leave a vinegar smell in the house? Is it noticeable? Can you do anything to minimize that vinegar smell? I have tried essential oils, yes, but nothing masks it quite completely!
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Opening windows on nice days will go a long way in cleaning your indoor air. With the Environmental Protection Agency claiming that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, letting the breeze sweep out the floating dirt will reduce your task list.
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