Natural Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Homemade all purpose cleaner mix from HousewifeHowTos.com Regular HWHT readers know I’m fanatic about minimizing our family’s chemical exposure, so homemade all purpose cleaner has become one of the most-used tools in my cleaning arsenal.

Now, when I say “all purpose cleaner” I mean it: I use this on just about every surface in my home. For those of you with granite or marble counters, there’s an acid-free formula below, too!

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 5-10 drops lemon essential oil

Directions:
1. In a bowl, stir the baking soda into the water until it’s completely dissolved.
2. Add the remaining ingredients in order.
3. Transfer to a spray bottle.
4. Shake gently before each use.

NOTES:

  1. It’s important you do the steps in the order provided, or the baking soda will react with the acidic ingredients and make a mess.
  2. Do not use the recipe above on granite or marble. Use the one below, instead.

Thanks to the lemon and vinegar, this cleaner has germ-killing properties. It also leaves a lovely scent and a nice, streak-free shine. I like to keep a bottle of this stuff under my kitchen counter with a microfiber cloth for quick touch-ups. There’s another one in my guest bathroom where I can pop in to tidy things if company drops in.

This homemade all purpose cleaner is great to use in just about every room of the house. If you’ve been doing my daily house cleaning routine, or any of the other printable cleaning routines, you’ll find it cuts through greasy fingerprints on door jambs and appliance fronts, vanities and light switch plates.

What really surprised me, though, was how clean it left my kitchen table. Then I realized, the recipe for this homemade all purpose cleaner isn’t that different from what I use to remove sticky wax buildup from furniture. See, it really IS all purpose… except for granite. For that, use the following homemade mix.

Homemade Granite-Safe All Purpose Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. liquid dish detergent
  • Essential oils (optional)

Directions:
1. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle.
2. If using essential oils, add just enough to counteract the smell of the rubbing alcohol. (It will fade quickly after spraying, so the use of oils is purely optional.) Some combinations I enjoy are: orange and sage; lavender and peppermint; orange and rosemary; or cedar and chamomile.
3. Shake gently before each use.
4. KEEP AWAY FROM FLAME!!!

To use either mix, just spray on and wipe clean with a lint-free cloth. And, while this works fine on floors, I’d really recommend using a homemade cleaner for all flooring types instead.

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  • Heather

    Wouldn’t the fresh lemon juice cause the mixture to spoil rather quickly? I think I’d leave that out if I made it.

    • Katie Berry

      It doesn’t. The other ingredients in the mix preserve the lemon juice, while the lemon’s acidity is needed to make it an effective cleaner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ABitEclectic Kelly

    Some people don’t realize, citrus is a natural preservative. If any homemade products have any citrus in them, you don’t have to worry so much with a preservative, such as vitamin e, grapefruit seed extract, or citric acid :)

    • Katie Berry

      Citrus is definitely a preservative, in the right form. I think you meant Vitamin C, not E, because E isn’t citrus. But you’re absolutely right: citric acid, in its powdered form, is a great preservative. So is grapefruit seed extract and many citrus-based essential oils (lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine). When it comes straight out of a fruit, like a fresh-squeezed lemon or lime, there are going to be some sugars in there (fructose) so while it’s got highly concentrated citric acid there’s still stuff in there that theoretically COULD go bad. Hence the vinegar in the first recipe: it will counteract those sugars and work with the citric acid in the lemon juice so the stuff doesn’t get moldy. Come to think of it, the bottle of stuff I’ve been using is the same batch I whipped up over a month ago and it’s still mold-free and working well.

      Btw, thank you for commenting and leaving your Facebook link. I’m a new “Like” on your page now!

    • Kelly Rentz Heck

      I mean that vitamin e actually preserves oils, ..lol…rosemary extract does too…although it is sometimes hard to find, it is not necessary, it is expensive, and rosemary essential oil works just the same :)

  • Erica

    Can I just buy a bottle of lemon juice ans use that? If so how much equates the juice of one lemon?

    • Katie Berry

      You can definitely try it, and I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t work. It’s pricier that way, though. Two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice equals the juice of one lemon. Good luck!

  • Jess

    I heard that mixing baking soda and vinegar isn’t a good idea because it will cancel out the cleaning properties of both.

    • Katie Berry

      While they can neutralize each other in the right proportion, here we’re using more vinegar than baking soda. So even once the acetic acid in the vinegar combines with the sodium hydrogen carbonate of the baking soda in this recipe, not all of the acetic acid is neutralized. So we still get a strong cleaning solution with the abrasive power of baking soda.

  • sandy

    I have a question. Your receipe for all purpose cleaner with vinegar, does it mean clean the all the counter tops(except stone ones) and also shower and tub and toilet bowls? I am really confused after reading so many blogs saying “all purpose cleaner”

    • http://housewifehowtos.com/ Katie B of HousewifeHowTos.com

      “All purpose cleaner” refers to a cleaner that can be used on a variety of hard surfaces for daily, light cleaning. It isn’t necessarily a disinfectant, though both of these recipes will disinfect if allowed to sit on the surface for 5 minutes before wiping.

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