There are so many reasons you should be making your own cleaning products:

  • They don’t cause cancer, like commercial cleaners can1
  • You’re not putting toxins into the environment
  • They’re cheaper to make than to buy
  • They don’t irritate your skin or eyes
  • They’re kid and pet friendly
  • They’re incredibly easy to make

All purpose cleaner

Seriously, it is so easy to make, and I am going to show you how! You may already have all of the ingredients you need in your house!

Items you will need:

  1. A clean 32-oz spray bottle
  2. 3 cups of warm water
  3. 1/2 cup vinegar
  4. 2 teaspoons baking soda (<– I no longer use baking soda, because I have heard that it can decrease the cleaning properties of the vinegar)
  5. 10 drops essential oil (optional)

All purpose cleaner ingredients

Here’s how you do it:

Add vinegar to spray bottle, followed by water, baking soda and essential oils.  Mix by gently shaking.

I told you it was easy! 

Why does it work?

Vinegar has a high acidity level, which makes it an effective mold, bacteria, and germ killer.  I like to add essential oils to my cleaners, because they offer even more antibacterial, anti-fungal, and disinfectant properties.  Here are a few you can choose to include in your homemade cleaners.  Add one or several different oils to make your own custom cleaner:

  • Melaleuca Essential Oil: Antibacterial and anti-fungal
  • Frankincense Essential Oil: Antiseptic
  • Lavender Essential Oil: Antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial
  • Lemon Essential Oil: Degreaser, antibacterial and anti-fungal
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Antiseptic, disinfectant, and insect repellent3


1 Environmental Health
2 Vinegar Tips
3 Brighthub

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14 Responses to Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

  1. Stacy says:

    I notice you are using a heavy duty plastic bottle. Why aren’t you using glass? I have a plastic bottle laying around but have put off making a cleaner as I don’t have glass bottles that I was told to put them in.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I love your recipe!! I use baking soda for everything, how does the baking soda interfere with the vinegar? Lemon oil is my favorite!!!

  3. Elicia says:

    When I put the baking soda in, it turned into a volcano! Was that supposed to happen?

    • Andrea says:

      Yes, Elicia, that can happen. The vinegar and baking soda will cause a chemical reaction. I have been meaning to update this recipe — I actually don’t use baking soda in it anymore, as I’ve heard it can render the vinegar antibacterial properties less effective. Try another batch sans the baking soda, or if you want to keep the baking soda in the mix, just add the baking soda first, followed by the water, and add the vinegar last. That should avoid any volcanoes or explosions 🙂

  4. Sandra says:

    I’m LOVING the cleaners but can you suggest a good plastic bottle? The one I bought at Walmart only worked 2 days 🙁

  5. Lorelei says:

    I made this cleaner and I love it, but after a couple weeks mine got cloudy stuff floating in it. Anyone else’s do that? And what is it?

    • avaughan says:

      Hi Lorelei, I am glad to hear you love the cleaner! I haven’t ever experienced my solution getting cloudy. I am not exactly sure what would cause that? Since the ingredients are so inexpensive, I would recommend dumping the bottle, cleaning it well, and making it again. Hope that helps!

      • Lorelei says:

        I did dump it out and made a new batch, this time though I used bottled distilled water instead of tap. Hope it helps.

  6. Sheila says:

    I have been looking for kitchen cleaners. I do not like the smell of vinegar. Does the oil mask the strong odor?

    • avaughan says:

      I do know some people have a strong aversion to vinegar. If you use a citrus essential oil, it should mostly mask the scent of vinegar. I dont ever notice the smell. Hope that helps!

  7. Carrie @ Frugal Foodie Mama says:

    Oh, this is awesome! Where do you get your essential oils from? I have a feeling I would have to get mine online.

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