Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner {31 days to cleaner living}

cleaner_05_022912We’re taught from a very young age that the cleaners with the most powerful sounding names work the best. It has to be “tough”. It has to be “extra strength”.

And it’s not going to be cheap. Or smell very good.

And they usually come with some pretty scary warnings on the bottle because of the damage they can cause to our bodies. It’s about enough to make a gal stop cleaning all together.

Another lifetime ago, I was blessed to work with a woman who had decided to use only natural cleaners due to learning more about carcinogens after her fathers cancer diagnosis. It sparked a little something in me, even before I really started my journey into natural living.

I tossed out my old cleaners and instead switched to more natural products.

The problem was, they were expensive. But like many dual income/no kids couples, an extra few dollars a month were no big thing and I just bought the cheapest ones I could find.

And to tell you the truth, the very honest truth, I kept my house clean but didn’t go nuts about it. So it’s not like I had to buy cleaners every week.

And then I quit my job to stay home after my son was born, and ouch. Those extra few dollars here and there meant big things and the natural cleaners were on the “can’t afford” list!

It’s a good thing many of the frugal ladies out there are “green” even when they don’t mean to be, because I discovered homemade cleaners that worked just as well as the store-bought stuff. At a much more affordable price.

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner


1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1 small squirt liquid soap (Dr. Bronners works well)
optional – 10 drops orange essential oil

Method of Preparation

Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle, shaking gently.

Spray and use like you would any other all purpose cleaner, testing different surfaces before you spray the entire thing. This should be able to be used on most hard surfaces, though double check if you have marble or granite.



  • If you have hard water it may be beneficial to buy distilled. This way you won’t be leaving behind iron or lime deposits when you clean.
  • The essential oil is optional, but does help cut through grease as well as cut the scent of vinegar.
  • Use organic vinegar if you can as it’s made from corn and some people notice a sensitivity to breathing regular white vinegar.



If making your own cleaners isn’t up your alley, or you have a husband like mine that will only help clean when it’s not homemade, there are more natural cleaners that I do like using.

  • I’ve always had good luck with the Seventh Generation cleaners and can’t remember a time when it came up against something it couldn’t handle.
  • Another great way to clean is the Norwex cloth. These microfiber cloths use only water and are a powerhouse for cleaning and leaving the area sanitized. I bought my cloth over a year ago, and while pricey, it has worked wonderfully and still going strong.

For more natural cleaning recipes, check out the 30 Days to Cleaner Living series or my friend Michelle’s ebook Clean Start: your room to room guide for natural cleaning. (only $4.95)

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. Susan @ pinkportugueseroses says:

    I will have to try this. I have been using Chartreuse Brand of organic cleaners and have been very impressed with the cleaning power.


  2. I have something that I use when things are real tough. I have a bottle of 50/50 hydrogen peroxide, then another bottle of straight vinegar (or 50/50 canning vinegar). Process. Peroxide first, let sit for about a minute. Wipe off with a soapy rag. Rinse w/ vinegar. The Peroxide oxidizes the stuck on gunck and kills the bad stuff. I use a soapy rag to do any general cleaning b/c it just wipes off. I’m talking the really stuck on stuff. If it doesn’t then I add a good bit of the peroxide and let it sit. This is a CHAMP!!! Chemistry does pay off!!

  3. Judy Rogers says:

    Do you have any recipes for homemade laundry soap. Thanks.

    donielle Reply:

    @Judy Rogers, Coming on Tuesday!

  4. I love the name of your blog! It’s so clever. I like making my all-purpose cleaner with tea tree castile soap since my husband can’t stand the smell of vinegar. It’s a great alternative to vinegar for cleaning marble and granite since vinegar can’t be used on those surfaces.