I have tried several “natural” or “green” cleaners over the last few years and have come to two conclusions: either the cleaners didn’t work very well or they were so expensive, I couldn’t justify the cost. As a result, I decided it was time to try to start making my own. The ingredients in my homemade cleaning solution are ones that you probably have on hand and if not, they’re easy to find. Aside from my double-duty cleaning supplies, I now purchase very few cleaning supplies.
I didn’t actually mean for this cleaner to get used everywhere – meaning on ALL surfaces in the house except our wood furniture – but my kids do most all of the cleaning around the house as part of their chores and they are the ones who started using this homemade cleaning solution on our wood floors and bathroom floors.
Where else do we use this spray? The kitchen sink, on the stove top, wood floors, all painted surfaces, as an after bathing spray in the shower, on shower curtains, on the bathroom fixtures (porcelain sink and toilet), on windows, mirrors. If I’m cutting raw meat or fish while cooking, I spray this on the cutting board and knife before cleaning the surfaces with hot, soapy water and a sponge.
I have not done any scientific testing to see if germs are actually gone but I use it regularly. Just this morning, I tried it with Borax on a stubborn laundry stain. We’ll see if it works.
Do test this at your house before embracing it hog-wild. I would not want it to ruin your floors or anything. It’s been a good solid cleaner at our house and I don’t worry about wearing rubber gloves while making it or cleaning with it.
Homemade All Purpose Cleaning Solution
This recipe makes enough to fill a 32 ounce (1 quart) bottle or about 1 liter.
Here are the supplies needed to make this all purpose cleaning solution at home:
- Spray bottle – 32 ounce or 1 quart or 1 liter
- white vinegar (I buy it by the gallon)
- rubbing alcohol
- Dr. Bronner’s pure castile (liquid) soap
- tap water
- 1-Tablespoon measuring spoon
- 1-cup measuring cup
- funnel (if you’re careful, you don’t need this. I need this.)
In an empty 32 ounce or 1 liter spray bottle combine the following in this order:
- 2 cups (16 ounces or 474 milliliters) white vinegar
- 4 Tablespoons (60 milliliters) of rubbing alcohol (70% Isopropyl Alcohol)
- 2 Tablespoons (30 milliliters) Dr. Bronner’s classic liquid soap
- 2 cups or about that (16 ounces or 474 milliliters or until container is filled almost to the top) water
Notes about this homemade all purpose cleaning solution:
- Depending on the exact size of the container, sometimes I can fit all of the water into the spray bottle and sometimes not, which is why adding it last works out.
- You can use just white vinegar and water as a cleaning solution if you’d like to simplify even more. Use equal amounts of both and put in spray bottle.
- If you can’t find the Dr. Bronner’s cleaner at the store, you can add a few drops of your favorite citrus essential oil. This addition is more expensive than using the Dr. Bronner’s but is an option if you’re trying to change the smell. I couldn’t tell enough of a difference using essential oil to justify the cost.
- The Dr. Bronner’s container packaging has plenty of cleaning solutions (and other tid-bits of knowledge) on the bottle itself. If you’ve never bought it, enjoy. Look for it online at Dr. Bronner’s or Trader Joe’s or in the health food section of your grocery store. I use Dr. Bronner’s in our camping supplies as dish detergent and hand soap. It’s organic and very easy on the environment.
- There is a reaction that takes place and makes some of my cleaner thickened and leaves little chunks in the bottom of the spray bottle once the cleaner is gone. This could be the Dr. Bronner’s being cold in our house or it could be the Dr. Bronner’s interacting with something else. Either way, I use these “chunks” at the end by sprinkling them in the bathtub and adding baking soda to make a scrub paste.
- If I’m cleaning windows with this and the windows are VERY dirty or outside, I clean the windows with a wet sponge and a few drops of dishwashing detergent in a bucket of warm water, first. Wet, soapy sponge and then spray this on and wipe to a shine with a clean, dry cloth.
- Dr. Bronner’s has plenty of unscented items but I use the peppermint scented version. My favorite spray bottle is a Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day spray cleaner I bought. Again, I liked Mrs. Meyer’s cleaner but it was too expensive for what it was. The spray bottle itself is a good one that doesn’t leak either. Her cleaners smell wonderful!
- Finally, the rubbing alcohol. At the risk of over-sharing, someone in our family has a nasty case of plantar warts and shared them at home via our shower. Adding the rubbing alcohol to the cleaner seems to have stopped the spread of them. I’m thinking about sending the culprit to school with a spray bottle of this solution to clean the locker-room floor before gym class! Bare-feet on middle school gym locker-room floors? Very bad.
That’s my super simple homemade cleaning solution. It’s simple to make and will save you lots of money in the long run on purchasing cleaning supplies. Make some today and enjoy a clean house without the cost or lots of chemicals. I’d love to hear if it works for you, too.
Do you make your own cleaners or buy them? What’s your favorite all purpose cleaner?
Go Gingham related links:
Cleaning supplies that do double-duty: simple cleaning products that you probably have at your home already
Cute and clean for the kitchen: make a baking soda shaker for soaking those stubborn pots and pans
The mop cover is a re-purposed t-shirt: how to make a mop cover
Parenting: Children’s Allowances – yes, I like my kids doing chores!