DIY All Purpose Cleaner with Essential Oils

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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.

With just 3 ingredients, this DIY natural all-purpose cleaner comes together in under a minute + it's safe, effective and smells AMAZING! | rootandrevel.com

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!

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With just 3 ingredients, this DIY natural all-purpose cleaner comes together in under a minute + it's safe, effective and smells AMAZING! | rootandrevel.com


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:

  1. 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.
  2. My dear readers roll their eyes, but slowly start reading the labels on the products they use.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?!

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With just 3 ingredients, this DIY natural all-purpose cleaner comes together in under a minute + it's safe, effective and smells AMAZING! | rootandrevel.com

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 PreservativesMany 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.
  • ColorsArtificial 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!
  • BleachAlso 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!

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With just 3 ingredients, this DIY natural all-purpose cleaner comes together in under a minute + it's safe, effective and smells AMAZING! | rootandrevel.com

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

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.

Happy Cleaning!

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Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

3-Ingredient DIY All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

With just 3 ingredients, this DIY natural all-purpose cleaner comes together in under a minute + it's safe, effective and smells AMAZING!
Prep Time1 min
Total Time1 min
Course: DIY
Cuisine: Cleaning
Servings: 20 ounces
Author: Root + Revel Collective

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Do not use all-purpose cleaner on granite or marble countertops as the vinegar will etch the natural stone.
I recommend these glass spray bottles, which are the perfect size, pretty to look at and you don't have to worry about BPA in the plastic.

[convertkit form=4923064]

With just 3 ingredients, this DIY natural all-purpose cleaner comes together in under a minute + it's safe, effective and smells AMAZING! | rootandrevel.com

About The Author

28 thoughts on “DIY All Purpose Cleaner with Essential Oils”

  1. After learning from you, I used essential oils as my natural cleaners and used glass spray bottles. But after using them a few weeks, the essential oils had destroyed the plastic sprayer. Any suggestions?

  2. Hi. Thanks for this article. Do you have to keep the all purpose cleaner in the fridge? and also how long can you store it for? Many Thanks

    1. I don’t refrigerate mine. I always use it up before I worry about the shelf life… with just a few ingredients I think it will last a long time, and if not, you should be able to smell it if it’s gone bad.

  3. Hi, just wondering if this would be OK to use on antique finished wood? I’m just afraid of leaving watermarks. Thanks!

  4. Monica Cromartie

    Thanks for the tip. Just thought I’d pass this alternative along as well if you’re looking to get citrus scent without springing for essential oils. We’ve been using this a few months and no complaints

  5. Lesley Morrison

    Can I replace Essential Oils with real lemons? I have started using lemons a lot around my home (as being absolutely TERRIFIED of 8 legged creepy things-I can’t even say the name of them!) because they keep creepy things GONE COMPLETELY!!! I started using lemons and lavander disinfectant because I’d read the didn’t like the strong smell and I am TOTALLY shocked that I have only had 2 small(ish) 1’s in my home for MONTHS!!!! These smells are an absolute god send to me because I’m SO BAD!!! Sorry HAD to share this for others like me!!! But would like to use real lemons if poss? Thanks. Lesley

  6. Thanks for this stellar info! Will this work for dishes, as well as laundry? I’m looking for an all-purpose cleaner to use for everything (sorry if you’ve addressed this already.) Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for giving me the motivation to make some additional changes in my home. It is just crazy what they can sneak into our products! I also like to save citrus fruit peels and add them to the bottle of my all-purpose cleaner. I find I can use less essential oil this way, while also reducing some food waste.

  8. 5 stars
    Is this OK on wood? (Real wood, finished) Thought I’d ask before I used it. Just made a bottle 🙂
    PS – it’s no biggie, but the recipe is a little bigger than the bottle holds. I got the glass ones you suggested. It’s fine because I cleaned my counters, my microwave, and a bit of my floor where the cat had a hairball, and I’m pouring the extra solution into the bottle and it now fits.
    Works great!

    1. Yes! It’s okay on real wood. Thanks for letting me know about the size. Good to know that some users have a little leftover, I will make a note of that 🙂 Glad to hear that it works great!!

  9. Can this be used on floors? We have wood-laminate flooring, and I’d love a cleaner I knew was safe for cats and babies. I’m thinking if I mop mostly with water and some of this spray (I’m using something like a swiffer-wet mop), it shouldn’t harm anyone and get the job done, right?

    1. Hey Claire! Great to hear from you again 🙂 Yes, you can definitely use this cleaner on your floors. But I have an even better DIY homemade floor cleaner recipe that I’m going to be sharing soon. Definitely check back for that one, but in the meantime, this is a great option! Thanks for reading 🙂

      1. Thanks Kate! I’ll keep an eye out for that floor cleaner recipe, and I was hoping you had one on the way! What luck. 🙂 I’m kind of obsessed with your site right now, so I’m sure I’ll see it when it is published. Ha! I’ve been looking for a way to get “greener, cleaner and safer” without breaking the bank or going through too much trouble, and your site brought me several awesome options! Some things I’d like to see in the future (if you don’t mind suggestions…):
        – baby stuff: wipes, ointments, etc. The stuff available out there scares me and I’m not even a mom yet! I saw one wipe recipe with paper towels, water and johnson&johnson, but I’m curious what you have up your sleeve.
        – general adult face cleanser

        I actually bought everything I need off Amazon for Bathroom Cleaner and All-Purpose Cleaner today! 🙂 So excited to try it on Sunday when it arrives. I’m going to wait till fall to put together my gift-bottles of toner and makeup remover; I’m planning to put cute little labels on them with your recipe for it & website tied around the neck. ^.^

  10. Can the all purpose cleaner be used on quartz countertops? I believe they are not as porous as granite.

  11. Kirsten Dangler

    Do these cleaners kill germs?

    Do you use an all purpose cleaner for the bathroom also? Or do you make another DIY cleaner for that room?

    We have a septic tank. I want to be sure there aren’t any ingredients that might mess with it.

    Where exactly do I need to use castile liquid soap?

    Thank you so much for your time. Love this idea about making my own cleaners.

    1. Hi, Kirsten! Thanks for writing in. Yes, these cleaners absolutely kill germs. All of the ingredients are chosen specifically for the antibacterial and disinfecting properties. I use a different cleaner in the bathroom, which you can find here: https://rootandrevel.com/homemade-bathroom-cleaner/. I don’t think any of these ingredients would mess with your septic tank. They’re all natural, food-grade ingredients. You’ll see the castile soap listed in the recipes that call for it. You can find more recipes here: https://rootandrevel.com/category/recipes/diy/. Good luck and be sure to report back with your results 🙂

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Tips for a healthier home

Here are some eco-friendly home care tips for a healthy and green living:
  • Switch your cleaning products to eco-friendly options. You can find many of these in the grocery store and online.
  • Use sustainable materials for furniture, such as wood instead of plastic or metal. This will help create less waste and reduce the amount of natural resources that are used to produce them.
  • Choose lightbulbs with little or no mercury. These not only create less waste but also have an impact on climate change by using less electricity.
  • Plant trees around your property. Trees benefit the environment by providing shade, absorbing carbon dioxide, and purifying the air with their leaves. They also provide fuel for firewood during colder months and a habitat for wildlife. The benefits of planting trees go far beyond what you see right in front of you!

Green cleaning products

One way to make your home more eco-friendly is by switching over to green cleaning products. These products aren’t as harsh on the environment as traditional household cleaners and are less likely to cause allergies or other health issues. Plus, you can find a variety of green cleaning products that work for every type of surface in your home.

Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products

There are many cleaning products that you can use in your home that are environmentally friendly. One of the best ways to start is by switching to eco-friendly cleaning products. Many people don’t know that there are many types of eco-friendly cleaning products on the market today, including laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. A switch to green cleaners can be a simple way to create an environmentally friendly living environment.

Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean your home

If you want to make your home safer and more environmentally friendly, then you can switch from using toxic cleaning products to using eco-friendly alternatives. For example, if you want to clean your toilet, then you could use vinegar instead of bleach or other harsh chemicals. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, so it will do the job without harming the environment. You can also use baking soda as a healthy alternative to many household cleaners. Baking soda is an abrasive cleaner that breaks down dirt and grime; it’s also non-toxic, so it won’t harm people or the environment. It’s also inexpensive, so you can use it liberally without worrying about running out of supply too quickly.

Sustainable living

Most people are more aware of the environment these days and want to do their part to make it a better place. Homeowners and renters alike are doing everything from switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, to using sustainable materials for furniture. Here are some tips for living an eco-friendly lifestyle in your home:
    • Clean with white vinegar – You can use this as a natural disinfectant that is also eco-friendly. It is also inexpensive and easy on your pipes because you won’t be putting harsh chemicals down the drain.
    • Avoid aerosol cans – Aerosol cans contain harmful chemicals that will release into the air when sprayed. Try switching to an eco-friendly product or find another way to clean.
    • Use reusable napkins – Napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, even facial tissue all come wrapped in paper (or other packaging). Reusable napkins or dish towels will give you one less thing you need to throw away every day!
    • Put up a clothesline – Even if you live in an apartment or condo where putting up a clothesline isn’t possible, there are many ways you can still dry your clothes without using electricity or gas. For example, hang them outside on a sunny day or turn your oven on low heat and hang them from the top rack.

Living with less waste in your home

One of the best ways to reduce your ecological footprint is by reducing the amount of waste that your household produces. Take a look at what you’re throwing away and try to find alternatives.
For example, instead of buying disposable napkins, use cloth napkins that you can throw into the wash. If you need face wipes for removing makeup, consider making them yourself from reusable materials like cotton rounds. And if you want to stop using plastic bags, use canvas bags or have bags made from recycled material. There are many other ideas for eco-friendly alternatives in your home as well.

Sustainable materials for furniture

Did you know that the average American generates over 4 pounds of waste every day? This means that we are throwing away a lot of furniture and other items in our homes. To stop contributing to this problem, it is best to use sustainable materials for furniture. Sustainable materials are made from recycled materials which can be up-cycled into new products. Not only are these items better for the environment, but they also save money because the items will last longer.
Sustainable materials for furniture include:
      • Recycled plastic
      • MDF
      • Plywood
      • Timber reclaimed from old buildings or driftwood
      • Bamboo
      • Faux leather (made from cotton)
The pursuit of a healthy, green and sustainable home is achievable for anyone. It will require more time and effort, but the payoff will be worth it.
Start with the small things. Make a conscious effort to recycle, turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them, and check your thermostat. It’s easy to get into a routine of living without giving it much thought, but the more you make an effort, the easier it will be to live sustainably.
After you’ve made changes in your everyday life, look for furniture that is made with sustainable materials. You can also buy an eco-friendly houseplant for your home that requires little care.
    1. Tips for a healthier home:
      • Turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them
      • Check your thermostat
      • Make a conscious effort to recycle
    2. Green cleaning products:
      • Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products
      • Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean
      • Sustainable living:
      • Living with less waste in your home
      • Sustainable materials for furniture
  • Sustainable materials for furniture:
    • Consider buying furniture made with sustainable