Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

A few weeks ago, my husband asked if I knew of any natural cleaning sprays that we could make.  Since I have been so focused on natural food, hair care, and skin products, he assumed that I would have several natural cleaner recipes on hand. I told him that I hadn't really worried about it: my commercial all-purpose cleaner wasn't being applied to my skin or digested, so it wasn't a pressing concern.  My husband then pointed out that we use that spray to clean our kitchen counters and tables, which food touches, and my child regularly eats directly off of; and when I do a thorough cleaning, the air is misty with cleaner for awhile, so we are probably breathing in a good portion of chemicals.  Um.....good point.  

So after some internet sleuthing, I whipped up a batch of the easiest, cheapest, very natural, all-purpose cleaning spray you can imagine. It costs roughly 25 cents to make an entire bottle of it, and it takes about 25 seconds to make it.  Best of all? It works great!  It can be used on a variety of surfaces, including kitchen counters, bathroom tile, toilets, even mirrors and glass (yes, smudge proof!).  

Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

Empty Spray Bottle
White Vinegar
Optional: Tea Tree Oil


1. Fill up the spray bottle half full with vinegar.

2. Fill it the rest of the way up with water.  Add a splash or two of tea tree oil if you want to. Or don't.


That's it.  Easy, right?  I buy the big jug of store-brand white vinegar, and it's about $2 for a gallon.  I use filtered water to fill it up, because our tap water is kind of gross.  The tea tree oil is optional; I sometimes add it for extra antiseptic properties. However, just the vinegar and water is enough to safely clean bacteria off kitchen and even bathroom surfaces.  Be forewarned that this spray does smell heavily like vinegar (shocking, I know), but I promise you that the smell disappears after it dries.  If the vinegar smell is too strong for you, I suggest adding some lemon essential oil to the mixture (or really any nice-smelling essential oil). 

My favorite thing about this spray? I can go crazy spraying my kitchen counters and I don't have to worry if any of it lands on the apples on the counter--a mixture of just vinegar and water is safe enough to ingest (essential oils are not, however, so don't spray tea tree oil on your produce!). 

I've generally found that this spray works great at cleaning most surfaces and areas in my house.  If you have a really troublesome spot, try spraying the cleaner, then sprinkling with baking soda, and then scrub clean.  That method is good for cleaning tubs and sinks too. I have not tried this spray on all surfaces; so I'd suggest doing a spot test before venturing into other territories.  If you are looking for a dusting spray cleaner or a stainless steel cleaner, I recommend following this recipe:

Dusting Spray/Appliance Cleaner
Recipe From Make Your Own Zone

Empty Spray Bottle
2 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Lemon Essential Oil (optional)
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 3/4 Cup Warm Water


1. Add all the ingredients to an empty spray bottle. Shake well to mix

2. Shake before each use. Spray on furniture or stainless steel, wipe with a cloth or paper towel.


Does anybody out there have any other great recipes for natural cleaners? I'm still on the lookout for a good shower cleaner that matches the ability of Scrubbing Bubbles (and no, the Dawn-Vinegar Pinterest recipe does NOT).  

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