Easy Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

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This non-toxic, homemade all-purpose cleaner costs pennies to make and leaves your household surfaces naturally clean.

Woman's hand using a spray bottle filled with homemade all-purpose cleaner

An “all-purpose cleaner” is one you can use to remove grime, grease, and dirt from almost every household surface. This homemade version is safe for stainless steel, Formica, laminate, finished wood, and even natural stone surfaces like granite and marble.

Where to Use Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

An all-purpose cleaner is just that: it cleans pretty much every household surface, except for glass. (For that, check out my no-streak homemade window cleaner.) But it’s important to remember that cleaning is not the same thing as disinfecting.

Cleaning: For most surfaces, you can use a homemade all-purpose cleaner to physically remove grime, food residue, dirt, and other debris.

Disinfecting: Some surfaces, like sinks, showers, and toilets, as well as food preparation surfaces, need to be disinfected after cleaning to kill lingering germs. (Good news: you can make homemade disinfecting wipes to tackle those spots!)

What the Ingredients Do

Understanding the role of each ingredient helps you decide whether and when to change things to suit your personal preferences.

Soap and Water:

It’s often tempting to reach for potent cleaning products in the belief they’ll do a better job keeping our homes healthy. However, according to the CDC, soap, and water are enough to clean most surfaces. Stronger solutions contribute to indoor air pollution that can irritate allergies and asthma.

So, this homemade all-purpose cleaner puts soap and water to work around the home to help you clean without damage. There is no need for a fancy soap with antibacterial properties or oxygenating action. I do not recommend substituting Castile soap since it is oil-based and may leave a film. If you choose to use it anyway, you might need to rinse surfaces to remove any film left behind.

Baking Soda:

Baking soda is known as bicarbonate to UK readers and is a safe, natural, and inexpensive way to deodorize surfaces. Used in this homemade cleaning spray, it also provides very mild abrasive properties to help lift sticky messes and crusty spots without damaging household surfaces.

Essential Oils:

Adding essential oils to this homemade cleaner is optional. Including certain essential oils like (tea tree or lemon) can add some disinfecting power but may pose a danger if you have pets. Also, their use does not mean you should skip additional disinfection of bathroom or food preparation surfaces. And if you’ll be this homemade all-purpose spray on stainless steel, don’t add more than a few drops to the mix, or you’ll leave streaks.

I include them because I enjoy the fragrance they provide. Also, since peppermint essential oil helps get rid of household pests, I always use it during warmer months. However, these oils are not “essential” to this homemade all-purpose cleaner recipe. (Pardon the pun.)

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  1. Can’t wait to try this minus the oil though.

  2. Monica Cromartie says:

    This recipe works great. I was using another recipe for all natural cleaner but this one seems to do a better job cleaner stains. I just tried it in my bathroom. Cleaned great and has a nice smell to it as well. No vinegar smell.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Glad to hear it!

  3. Can you use Dawn soap?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Absolutely. Dawn is a fantastic soap.

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