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Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Making my own household cleaner is probably something I should have tried a long time ago.

Not only is it more affordable than most of the “natural” cleaners on the market, it’s also incredibly easy to make!

I’ve always assumed that anything I made at home wouldn’t be as effective as a something I could buy at the store, which is why I’ve hesitated making my own cleaner up to this point. I’ve also dreaded having my house smell like vinegar. Luckily, my sister-in-law is braver than I am, and started making her own all-natural cleaners when she became a mom. To my pleasant surprise, her home doesn’t smell like vinegar, and it’s just as clean– if not cleaner– than it was back when she was using the store-bought stuff.

This was the proof I needed to try it myself.

The following cleaner uses all-natural ingredients that you may already have in your house. It takes less than 5 minutes to make, and is just as effective as any other cleaner I’ve tried! Don’t be afraid of the vinegar smell–> it will dissipate as it dries! Adding tea tree oil to the mix not only improves the overall scent, but it also helps kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Feel free to use it as you would any other multi-surface cleaner!

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner
makes 3 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white vinegar
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon tea tree oil (about 10 drops)

Optional: 10 drops essential oil, for scent

Directions:

In a 1-quart spray bottle, combine the vinegar, water and tea tree oil and shake well to combine. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix, if you’d prefer a scented cleaner.

You can use this cleaner on any hard surface, such as counter tops, sinks, and floors. When used with a microfiber cloth, it will even clean your mirrors and windows without leaving streaks! (It will be streak-free after it dries.)

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
The following cleaner uses all-natural ingredients that you may already have in your house. It takes less than 5 minutes to make, and is just as effective as any other cleaner I've tried! Don't be afraid of the vinegar smell--> it will dissipate as it dries! Adding tea tree oil to the mix not only improves the overall scent, but it also helps kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Feel free to use it as you would any other multi-surface cleaner!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon tea tree oil (about 10 drops)
  • Optional: 10 drops essential oil, for scent
Instructions
  1. In a 1-quart spray bottle, combine the vinegar, water and tea tree oil and shake well to combine. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix, if you'd prefer a scented cleaner.
  2. You can use this cleaner on any hard surface, such as counter tops, sinks, and floors. When used with a microfiber cloth, it will even clean your mirrors and windows without leaving streaks! (It will be streak-free after it dries.)

Happy cleaning!

Reader Feedback: Have you tried making your own household cleaners? Any other all-natural cleaning tips to share? I’ve been using baking soda to scrub my bathroom and kitchen sinks, and I love how shiny and new they look!

40 comments to Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Suman

    i love this! i’ve been using diluted vinegar to clean my glass tabletop and it works like a charm. plus, i can have my kids do the cleaning and not have to worry if they spray it on themselves or the floor :)

  • This is a fantastic idea. So simple and non-toxic! Awesome.

  • I love cleaning with vinegar. It’s amazing how well it works! Is the pink grapefruit essential oil your favorite? What other scents work well with the tea tree oil?

    • The only other scent I’ve tried was an essential oil blend that I ordered a long time ago for “relaxation.” Both seem to mix really well with the tea tree oil, for an aromatherapy-like scent around the house! I’ve noticed that even with the added essential oils, the scent doesn’t last long after it dries, so you can’t really go wrong. ;)

  • I’ve always been nervous to make my own cleaning products too, but I’ll have to give it a try!

  • I use this without the tea tree oil, and it works great on just about everything! For those of you with cats: essential oils are not safe to use around cats.

  • Debbie

    Baking soda and white vinegar have been my cleaning staples for years. Baking soda is much gentler on acrylic bath fixtures and leaves them shinny clean. The combo of soda and vinegar with tea tree is a simple, inexpensive toilet bowl cleaner. And I use about 1/3 cup in place of fabric softener in the dispenser in my laundry. It removes any soap residue, which is what makes clothes stiff. Non-toxic cleaning and way less expensive.

  • Sandy Gluck

    Love your ideas. Instead of using an essential oil, could you heat the water along with some herbs such as rosemary or lavender, then steep and strain?

    • Krystalynn Manyik

      Essential oils is a specific extraction process of the powerful oils of different plants. While boiling some herbs may give you a nice smelling liquid, it is basically a TEA. While it may contain some germ fighting power, it would be the same as an essential oil. Also, just like tea, it may not keep well.

  • carrie

    The best ‘mostly’ homemade cleaning potion I’ve used is to clean the bathtub. Fill a spray bottle with 50% white vinegar and 50% liquid soap. spray liberally in the bathtub and sink. let sit for 30-60 minutes. Wipe all the soap scum away with no scrubbing and then rinse! I’ve used liquid Castile soap and method dish soap. Both work beautifully. The vinegar smell will go away shortly after you wipe down and rinse the tub.

  • I’ve been researching homemade natural cleaners for a couple weeks now and then you posted this… great timing! I actually made this mix up last night. Love it so far, and can’t believe how cheap it will be in the long run.

  • Since I started using Norwex microfiber cloths (and subsequently decided to sell them), I haven’t used anything to clean but water :) Washing windows and pretty much everything else = Norwex cloth + water.

  • I agree with Marbara, that once you start using Norwex cloths, you eliminate the need for cleaner! Just use water! Although if people don’t know about Norwex, your recipe is so simple and inexpensive!

  • HCT

    Thank you! You saved me money and chemicals. My husband didn’t believe the homemade cleaner would work so well, but he was surprised!

  • Angela

    You can use tea tree oil around cats. It need to be diluted to a 10:1 ratio of carrier to tea tree. This is what a vet told me. I have used this to “discourage” urinating and marking around our house, and it works great. They don’t like the smell, and will leave the area alone. It is the only thing I have found that truely eliminates cat odors.

  • Denita

    Great tips, except you should not use vinegar to clean marble or granite countertops. The acid in the vinegar can harm the natural stone.

  • Anna

    Will this work for surfaces that have had raw meat placed on them? Just wondering how well it disinfects. Thank you!

    • According to Gina Marino, Good Housekeeping’s microbiologist, vinegar effectively kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. For surfaces contaminated with raw meat, I’d probably use full-strength vinegar just to make sure it kills any possible E.Coli bacteria!

  • Kim

    I am allergic to tea tree oil – what can I use instead?

    • stykzorz

      Try lavender essential oil.

    • Deb

      If you are allergic to tea tre oil, chances are lavender oil will bother you too. You might try peppermint oil. I’m allergic to most anything plant based and lavender oil is one of the worst for me. I have to be careful with tea tree oil but it’s tolerable in limited quantities. I’ve found peppermint oil to be a great alternative. Good luck!

  • Perfect! I got a new spray bottle just for this formula. Anyone got any ideas for grout in the bath tiles?

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  • Henry

    Can i use this product to clean leather seats?

  • Jacqueline

    I have been spraying this concoction on the bathroom tiles and grout all week, and it has made a very noticeable difference!!! Thank you for sharing!!! :)

  • Sarah

    How long will this cleaner stay “good”? I tried an all purpose cleaner with similar ingredients, but it had fresh lemon juice and it went bad really quickly and gave a foul odor. Thanks!

  • Tiffiny Stephan

    Love the cleaner ingredients! However, I’ve stayed away from using vinegar on my marble & granite countertops because I’ve heard it is harsh on them. They also use to feel “crumbly” to the touch but don’t anymore now that I use a Castille soap with tea tree oil. Any thoughts on natural stone?
    Thanks
    Tiff

  • Trisha Nelson

    I love this recipe! ! ! I just got some lavender to add! :^)

  • Angie

    Thanks Megan! This recipe is AMAZING! I made it yesterday and added 10 drops of lemongrass oil for scent, and cleaned my kitchen with it. It worked great, and when my husband came home 4 hours later, he said “wow, it smells good in here!” It did smell a bit like Lemon Pledge, but better. So far I’ve only used it on my laminate countertops and tile floor. Do you know if it is safe to use on wood floors & leather upholstery? I want to use this on EVERYTHING!

  • mary

    Do you use just the baking soda in place of the fabric softener or the mixture of all three ingredients??? Thanks, Mary

  • sarah

    Vinegar and essential oil… great idea. I love the idea of non-toxic. When I cleaned a seasonal rental house, I used only baking soda in the kitchen. It cleaned everything great. Scrub, rinse, and you have eliminated all grease and smells. And safe for all surfaces.

  • […] my closet, I noticed the baseboards around the closet door were super gross. I grabbed my favorite homemade cleaning spray, but it was running low so I had to mix up a new batch. I wondered if using a different type of […]

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