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

homemade all purpose cleaner in a spray bottle

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


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

Optional: 10 drops essential oil, for scent

*Note: 100% pure tea tree oil is toxic, especially to pets. As I understand it, it can be considered safe when diluted properly, using at least a 10:1 ratio of water to essential oil. This recipe errs on the safe side and uses 50 times more water, for a 576:1 ratio. 


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.

bottle of vinegar, spray bottle, and a bottle of tea tree oil

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!

Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. The vinegar I have is already diluted with water to be 5% concentrated. Do I still follow this recipe as is or do I need to change it?

  2. I make my own all purpose cleaner with a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar, 25 drops of essential oils (I’m a fan of the combination of spearmint and lemon), and add 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap. When I’m cleaning, it’s like an aromatherapy spa sensation and takws cleaning to another level.

  3. Is there a cleaner that will clean that sticky feeling on kitchen cabinets and drawers? I have tried baking soda, vinegar, and others, nothing seems to work. It’s not dirty looking just sticky.

    1. I would try using an oil on it, like olive oil, then cleaning that off. Oil almost always removes sticky stuff for me.

  4. This method works great. I was using the different recipe for all natural cleaner, but this one looks to do a better job cleaner spot. I just tried it in my bathroom. Cleaned tremendous and has a delightful smell to it as well. No vinegar smell.

  5. I love this. It is so simple to make and no chemicals! I use just a few drops mire of tea tree oil and the smell is wonderful. It also does well to eliminate any odors when my dogs have an accident in the house. Thank you!