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Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in For Your Home, Green Clean | 3 comments

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

A simple mixture of vinegar and water is a common homemade all-purpose cleaner among DIY and green enthusiasts. But it’s too weak for some jobs and smells awful.

The solution?

Essential oils make cleaning a sweeter smelling task and can improve a cleaner’s antibacterial, degreasing and stain-fighting power. Powders like borax, baking soda and washing soda can also boost the mixture’s cleaning power.

The recipe below is adapted slightly from the book Clean, Naturally.


So far, I’ve tried it in the kitchen and the bathroom and it works great, but here are a few ways it can be altered to fit different needs:

  • Switch up the essential oils. The eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oils used in the recipe all have antibacterial properties. Peppermint and lemon oils could substituted since they’re antibacterial too. Lemon oil is also acidic so it’ll help remove mineral deposits and grease. If you don’t need the antibacterial qualities, sweet orange oil would smell good and should be acidic enough to add to the solution’s cleaning power.
  • Use baking soda or washing soda as the powder. Baking soda might be more abrasive than borax but it will clean mildew and stains and deodorize the surface. I’ve read that washing soda is good for tough jobs, such as greasy ovens and grills but it is caustic so wear gloves.
All-Purpose Cleaner
This homemade antibacterial all-purpose cleaner is a natural alternative to chemical cleaners.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon borax
  2. 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  3. 2 cups water (hot)
  4. 1/4 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
  5. 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil
  6. 3 drops tea tree essential oil
Instructions
  1. Mix the ingredients together until dry ingredients dissolve and store in a spray bottle.
  2. Use with a damp cloth.
Notes
  1. Yields 16 ounces.
Adapted from Clean, Naturally
Adapted from Clean, Naturally
A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/

Kim brings a hint of homesteading to the blog while focusing on changes that work with today’s busy schedules. She often shares recipes for making your own beauty and cleaning products and even canned goods. You can follow Kim on Twitter at @kim_ann.

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3 Comments

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  1. Sarah

    If you’re looking for an inexpensive solution to not buying essential oils, you can always make citrus vinegar by stuffing orange peels in a jar and covering with white vinegar. Cover and let “brew” for 2-4 weeks and then you have a sweet smelling vinegar to use for all your household cleaning. You dilute it 1pt citrus vinegar to 1pt water for a general cleaning solution. Cheap and your house will smell divine!

    • Nicole

      Thanks for the great idea. Once a month I put 1/4 cup of vinegar to the pump for my house humidifier. I like the idea of citrus scented vinegar because the smell flows through the vents when the humidifier runs. I’m very excited to try this out.

  2. Rose

    We’re switching to less chemicals. I took 3 cups of orange, lemon, and lime peels, and put them in a mason jar. Top with vinegar, let sit for two weeks. Works wonderful! The vinegar smell leaves when it dries.Hendon Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

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