With just 3 ingredients, this DIY all purpose cleaner comes together in under a minute. It's safe, effective and smells AMAZING!
Update: This post was original posted in May 2016. It has recently been updated in January of 2023 to reflect new information!
We’re back with another DIY homemade cleaning recipe! This time, I'm sharing one of my most used household cleaning products: a 3-ingredient DIY all purpose cleaner.
Why make your own all purpose cleaner?
Making your own diy all purpose cleaner is an easy, economical and eco-friendly way to keep your home clean and fresh. A homemade all purpose cleaner is made from natural ingredients that are safe for you, your family and the environment. You can save money and reduce your impact on the planet.
DIY all purpose cleaner is also incredibly versatile and can be used to clean any surface, from floors to countertops. Creating your own all purpose cleaner is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and avoid harsh chemicals in your home.
With a few simple ingredients and a few minutes of your time, you can create a cleaner that is just as effective as store-bought products. You can use household items such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice to make a powerful, all-natural cleaner. It can be used to clean all surfaces, from kitchen counters to bathroom tiles, and it is much less expensive than most store-bought cleaners. These ingredients are all natural, non-toxic and incredibly effective at killing germs and bacteria. The best part, you can easily make your own all purpose cleaner in just a few minutes, and it only costs a few dollars.
I used to be so intimidated by DIY projects. But after I got over my fear (and, let's face it, laziness), I realized that these products come together in less than 30 seconds flat. I made four other DIY cleaning products when I made this all-purpose spray, and in less than 5 minutes. I had completely made over my household cleaning closet with safe, natural, effective products. Boom!
THE TRUTH ABOUT STORE-BOUGHT CLEANERS
I always feel like the Grim Reaper when I write these stories. I feel like I'm constantly warning you guys about the doom and gloom that's found in most of our store-bought products. While I hate to always be the bearer of bad news, my hope is that a domino effect will occur. This will ultimately result in companies changing their products to safer, non-toxic ingredients! That way, we can go into any store and trust that we're buying products that won't harm us.
My dream world scenario:
- I write a story about the scary chemicals lurking in conventional products. I'm all, “this gives you cancer”, “this makes you infertile”, “this messes with your respiratory system”. Total buzzkill.
- My dear readers roll their eyes, but slowly start reading the labels on the products they use.
- Are you still with me?! Eventually, people stop buying those toxic products, voting with their dollars to send these companies a message. And maybe quite literally, send these companies a message asking them to stop using these harmful ingredients in their products.
- In the meantime, you try a few of my easy DIY recipes! You'll see quick and simple they are to make, and how effective they are. You lessen your toxic load, make your home a safer place and live happily ever after.
- Eventually, these big brands get the message and change their ways! Ultimately making transparent products that we can trust to be safe and sustainable.
A girl can dream, right?!
Still not convinced? The EWG's cleaning guide analyzes over 2,500 household cleaning products. They found that almost half were rated “poor” and nearly 75 percent contain ingredients which may have worrisome effects. These were respiratory health effects, particularly chemicals routinely found in all-purpose spray cleaners.
Many are also known to cause developmental and endocrine harm. Not to mention the negative impact they have on our environment. These chemicals are only partly removed by wastewater treatment plants, don't readily break down, and toxic to aquatic life.
Most harmful chemicals in leading all purpose cleaning sprays:
- Toxic Preservatives: Many household cleaners contain harmful preservatives, like 2-BROMO-2-NITROPROPANE-1,3-DIOL (formaldehyde), which are known to cause cancer and are extremely toxic to aquatic life. They can also cause severe skin burns and damage our eyes–not exactly the kind of thing I want to be spraying all over my house.
- Ammonium Hydroxide: Likewise, many multi-purpose cleaners contain ammonium hydroxide, which can burn skin, damage eyes, cause asthma and hurt aquatic life.
- Colors: Artificial colors are so toxic that the FDA prohibits the use of this substance in cosmetics because it causes cancer in rats. But somehow, these chemicals are still allowed into our homes. Just say no!
- Bleach: Also known as sodium hypochlorite, bleach is a common disinfecting ingredient that can cause severe burns and eye damage, not to mention it can cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy people after frequent exposure to low concentrations.
Be wary: Greenwashing or Natural Marketing on Cleaners
Don't be fooled by marketing. Even all purpose cleaners marketed as being natural or green often contain toxic chemicals. A couple common products are Scrubbing Bubbles Nature’s Source All-Purpose Cleaner and Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner. Both chockfull of hormone damaging ingredients like fragrance, stabilizers like Sodium Borate, and cleaning agents like Lauryl Pyrrolidone.
The latter even contains a chemical called 2-butoxyethanol, which the U.S. The EPA found it causes red blood cell damage and hemolytic anemia in animal studies. This occured via inhalation, skin exposure and ingestion (the exact way humans would be exposed to the cleaner).
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a term that is used to describe companies that make false or exaggerated claims about their sustainability practices. It's done to mislead consumers into believing that their products and services are more environmentally friendly than they actually are. It's a way for companies to appeal to a more socially conscious customer base without actually making any changes. In many cases, greenwashing is used as a marketing tactic. They aim to increase sales without actually making any changes to the product. Unfortunately, this deceptive practice can lead to misinformation and can lead to people buying products that are not as environmentally friendly as they thought. It's important for consumers to be aware and to not be fooled by companies that are take advantage of this deceptive practice.
Whatever you do, start reading your labels and researching the effects these chemicals can have. The EWG has a great cleaning guide–here's a list of 127 all-purpose cleaners with ratings. They will likely surprise you! I couldn't believe that it's not even required by law that these companies disclose their ingredients. Please, never buy a product if they aren't willing to tell you what's in it. RED FLAG!
A note about homemade multi-purpose cleaners:
Now for the good news! This DIY all purpose cleaner is super safe and natural (it only contains 3 ingredients, one of which is water!!)! It's super effective and smells AMAZING thanks to essential oils. The essential oils mask most of the vinegar scent, and even if any remains, it goes away after a minute.
I recommend using crisp citrus oils like sweet orange, lemon or grapefruit or refreshing green oils, like basil and bergamot.
Eucalyptus and Tea tree even have antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and germicidal properties.
Tea Tree Oil
All-natural tea tree oil has a wide range of uses. It's known for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent choice for diy all purpose cleaning and disinfecting. Tea tree oil can be used to clean everything from kitchen counters to bathroom tiles. It's also great for disinfecting surfaces and removing mold and mildew. And it's an all-natural alternative to chemical cleaners.
Eucalyptus oil is an all-natural solution for all purpose cleaning and disinfecting your home. This essential oil is derived from the eucalyptus tree, and it has powerful anti-microbial properties. It can be used to clean and disinfect surfaces, kill germs, and reduce airborne bacteria. It can also be used to freshen up a room, as its distinct scent can help to neutralize odors. Eucalyptus oil is also great for cleaning and protecting fabrics, as it helps to repel dust mites and other allergens. So, if you're looking to keep your home clean without using harsh chemicals, eucalyptus oil is an excellent choice. Not only is it safe and effective, it's also easy to use and cost effective.
Best Place to Buy DIY All Purpose Cleaner Ingredients
One of my favorite places to shop online for home supplies (and healthy food!) is Thrive Market. If you have a Thrive membership, you can order the essential oils for this recipe on their site. Check out their essential oils collection here. If you don't have a Thrive membership, check out this review of Thrive Market + Shopping List of My Favorite Buys!
I also love Plant Therapy, whose oils are 100% pure, free from any additives, adulterants, or dilutions. Their facility is USDA Certified Organic, and their prices are also SUPER reasonable! Get 10% off your order of $50 or more sitewide with the coupon code ROOT10!
Just make sure you don't use this on granite or marble countertops–the natural stone can be etched by the vinegar. But don't worry, here's a natural granite cleaning spray recipe. And in the meantime, you can use this multi-purpose cleaner on other kitchen and bathroom surfaces, cabinets, the inside of the fridge/freezer and some appliances.
If you're looking for a dusting spray and wood or furniture polish, try this.
3-Ingredient DIY All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 20 drops essential oils
- Pour all ingredients into a bottle.
- Fit with a spray top
- Gently swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients together.
- Use immediately or as needed.