This homemade all-purpose cleaner costs pennies to make and leaves your household surfaces naturally clean.
As an “all-purpose cleaner,” you can use it to remove grime, grease, and dirt from almost every household surface. It’s safe for stainless steel, Formica, laminate, finished wood, even natural stone surfaces like granite and marble.
Homemade Cleaning Spray
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.
According to the CDC, however, soap and water are enough to clean most surfaces. In fact, 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 with 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 (known as bicarbonate to UK readers) is a safe, natural and inexpensive way to deodorize surfaces.
In this homemade cleaning spray, it also provides very mild abrasive properties to help lift sticky messes and crusty spots without damaging household surfaces.
The use of essential oils in this homemade cleaner is entirely optional. If you have a dog or cat, avoid using essential oils that are toxic to pets.
Including certain essential oils like (tea tree or lemon) can add some disinfecting power. Still, their use does not mean you should skip additional disinfection of bathroom or food-preparation surfaces.
RELATED: 13 Places You Should Disinfect Daily
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. They are not “essential” to this homemade all-purpose cleaner recipe, though. (Pardon the pun.)
Homemade All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
- Spray bottle
- 16 ounces water distilled is best if you're planning to store the unused portion
- 1 teaspoon baking soda bicarbonate to UK readers
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid dish soap use a mild product, not one that promises oxygenating action
- 5 drops essential oils optional (see blog post for cautions)
- Pour water into a spray bottle then add the baking soda (bicarbonate). Swirl gently until the powder is completely dissolved.
- Add the liquid dish soap. Again, swirl gently. If bubbles form, wait until they subside before continuing.
- Add essential oils if using. Swirl and wait again if bubbles form.
- Spray lightly on household surfaces then use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe. For most surfaces, there is no need to rinse. Change cloths as needed, so you are not spreading grime from one surface to another.
Note: This post originally appeared on August 4, 2013. The recipe above is a new, improved version that is suitable for more surfaces.
Save money and get your home brilliantly clean with these other easy DIY cleaning recipes.
- Homemade All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
- Homemade Window and Glass Cleaner
- Homemade Floor Cleaner
- Homemade Soft Scrub
- Homemade Bathroom Disinfectant
- Homemade Daily Shower Spray to Prevent Mildew
- Homemade Soap Scum Remover (no scrubbing!)
- Homemade Wipes
- Homemade Furniture Polish
- Homemade Granite Cleaner
- Homemade Disinfecting Sink Spray
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