Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Learn how to make the best Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner! This non-toxic all-purpose cleaner uses vinegar and essential oils to help you clean your house without harsh chemicals.

a bottle of homemade all-purpose cleaner on a wooden tray with essential oils, lemon, and fresh mint

I think I may cook too much. I know for certain I clean my counters approximately 32,810 times per day. Give or take.

At the rate I wipe down my hideous white speckled formica (<— just typing that makes me puke in my mouth a little) I would burn through $5 worth of cleaners in a week.

Making my own all-purpose cleaner has saved me a ton of money over the years. It is amazing how only a few simple ingredients already in your pantry can clean so much, and save you boatloads of cash.

This homemade eco-friendly cleaner works like a charm and smells great to boot.

And just like my Homemade Dusting Spray and Furniture Polish, this non-toxic all-purpose cleaner is safe to use around kiddos and pets.

Check out how I use this vinegar all-purpose cleaner in this post on a Cleaning Schedule for Working Moms.

What’s in All-Purpose Cleaner?

This recipe includes:

  • Vinegar – white and cheap
  • Essential oils (don’t worry, I don’t sell them)
  • Dish soap – use your favorite

If you’re interested in the bottle I use, it is this one from Amazon. You can also use any clean empty bottle that you have hanging around the house.

Essential Oils for Cleaning

I need to make clear that I don’t sell essential oils. I don’t think they can cure cancer or solve the world’s problems.

But I do think that essential oils have wonderful cleaning properties and allow you to personalize how this all-purpose spray smells. 

I personally buy and use the brand Plant Therapy because they’re not an MLM, you don’t have to be a member to buy them from their site (plus they qualify for ebates), and I can purchase them from Amazon.

Personally, I have a thing for citrus (mix of sweet orange, lemon, and grapefruit), lemongrass, or peppermint

Tea Tree oil has great anti-bacterial qualities, but I can’t get past the fact that it smells like Sasquatch’s sweaty balls.

A lightly-scented essential oil won’t be great for masking the vinegar smell. But maybe you don’t want to use oils or don’t have any on hand. That’s ok too.

The vinegar scent will dissipate about 10 minutes after you use it. 

If you have asthma or other issues that make you sensitive to scents or essential oils, consult your doctor prior to using any.

How to Make Homemade Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaner

*A detailed (i.e., measurements) and printable recipe card is available at the bottom of this post.

Making this homemade all-purpose cleaner couldn’t be easier. Can you add things to a bottle? Great! You’re done.

Fill half of your bottle with water, and half with vinegar.

Add 10-20 drops of dish soap in. Pro tip: make sure you add the dish soap after the water and vinegar so that the bottle doesn’t get sudsy when more liquids are added.

Then put as many drops of essential oils (I usually use about 10-30ish depending on the scent) as you’d like on top of the dish soap. Shake, and use as needed.

That’s it!

How to Use Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

We use this vinegar all-purpose cleaner for almost every surface in the house except our wood floors (we use a Boma mop for those). It’s great for kitchens, door handles, light switches, banisters, and bathrooms.

Pro tip: use peppermint essential oil for bathrooms, especially if you have male children (like me!). Seriously, wrong is wrong with boys?

The peppermint scent is strong without being overwhelming and smells fresh and clean.

This eco-friendly homemade all-purpose cleaner is great on most surfaces. However, I wouldn’t use it on marble, and you would want to do a few test spots on granite. As with anything, check with your manufacturer for guidance.

I do know however, it works fabulously on ugly Formica!

How to Reduce Waste While Cleaning

If you’re making a homemade all-purpose cleaner to be eco-friendly, you probably don’t want to then use paper towels for your cleaning.

Every year I invest in terrycloth washcloths from Target. I buy them all in the same color and they live in a drawer in my kitchen. I use them for cleaning up kitchen messes and wiping down counters.

I keep a rag bin in my kitchen and toss them in after a few uses. The rag bin contents get washed with bath towels every two days.

After a year, I buy more washcloths in another color and move the old ones to my stash of junkier cleaning towels.

The older cleaning towels are kept with the rest of the cleaning supplies in the basement and are used for bathrooms. Pro tip: never use kitchen towels to clean bathrooms!

More Eco-Friendly Zero-Waste Posts You’ll Love

Zero Waste Food Storage Ideas

an assortment of items for a zero waste food storage photo collage

10 Baby Steps Anyone Can Take to Reduce Waste

a yum box, liberty bottleworks water bottle and other items on a wooden board

Easy Healthy Meal Prep

onions and other vegetables on a wooden cutting board

Zero Waste Produce and Bulk Bin Shopping Bags

two cloth drawstring bags

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

a bottle of homemade all-purpose cleaner on a wooden tray with essential oils, lemon, and fresh mint
5 from 9 votes
Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
0 mins
Total Time
1 min

Learn how to make the best Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner! This natural surface cleaner uses vinegar and essential oils to help you clean.

Course: DIY
  • white vinegar
  • water
  • 10-20 drops dish soap
  • 10-15 drops essential oils
  1. Fill half of your bottle with water, and half with vinegar.

  2. Add 10-20 drops of dish soap in.

  3. Add as many drops of essential oils as you'd like on top of the dish soap (typically 10-30 depending on the scent of oil).

  4. Shake, and use as needed.

Recipe Notes

This eco-friendly homemade all-purpose cleaner is great on most surfaces. However, I wouldn't use it on marble, and you would want to do a few test spots on granite. As with anything, check with your manufacturer for guidance.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

21 comments on “Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner”

  1. Sarah! We are having a debate in my house about sponges versus rags for dish washing. Can you please help me settle this madness? And do share if there’s a product you love.  

    Thank you!

  2. Yay. Thank you!!!!!
    When we moved into our house, our real estate agent gave me the best thing ever. It’s our first house and I was a bit nervous about having granite counter tops. She gave me a recipe for a cleaner and a bottle of it she had made with our name and address on it along with a few more microfiber cloths. It’s been almost 10 years and our counters still look brand new. It’s one part water to one part rubbing alcohol with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. It’s fab. 

  3. If you order directly from Plant Therapy it’s still free shipping and returns. Twice a year they run sales. You get points for each purchase you turn into $ off and still use ebates or

  4. Hello, thanks for providing this recipe! Is there a need to add baking soda? I know it can be whitening in large proportions, but with the lemon juice & vinegar, isn’t that enough?

    • Do you mean add it to the container? The baking soda would react to the vinegar in the bottle and cause a huge mess.

      If you wanted to add baking soda to say a toilet bowl and spray some of this in there that would be fine. But the acid + base = explosion!

  5. Love this

  6. So wait. Are you trying to say my countertops – white and speckly Formica beauties are not amazing? Ha.

    I just placed an order for some essential oils – hoping to see some change using them!

    I use this cleaner a lot. I used lemon essential oil though – it was all I had on hand.

    • I’m sure yours are *stunning*! 🙂 If you can believe it, our counters are actually the improved version. When my parents bought this house the kitchen had orange speckled formica.

  7. According to this website, vinegar can cause irritation in the eyes, nose, throat and lungs due to it releasing acetic acid vapors.

    I personally still use my cleaning solution of vinegar, water & essential oils but if you have asthma or something of that nature, you might want to select a different option.

  8. I make something similar for my pergo floors. in a spray bottle I use equal parts white vinegar and wintergreen rubbing alcohol so you are filled about 3/4 of the way. Top off with water and about 5-6 drops of dish soap. Since water is really bad for Pergo, this allows the vinegar to clean, and the alcohol evaporates quickly so the floors are dry in minutes.

  9. I have read several of your posts just to see what funny thing you would say in them and this one takes the cake. I have laughed harder reading about surface cleaner than I have about anything in a LONG time. Thanks for the great information and the incredible laughs!!!

  10. Just want to add that citrus can scratch granite, so if you’re using this for granite (I have a similar cleaner with rubbing alcohol instead of vinegar, the smell goes away faster), don’t use a citrus essential oil. I use vanilla cause then it smells like I’ve been baking…

  11. so do you have a recipe for dish soap??..great blog love it!!

  12. bahaha smells like sasquatches balls!

  13. You’re amazing! I love your honesty and creativity. Great job! You’ve really helped further my desire to make all my own products.

  14. I just found your blog and I have to say you are hysterical! I laugh out loud reading things about cleaning solutions and folding your sheets. I love your humor and look forward to reading more or your blog posts!!

  15. Ask, and it will be granted! See post above.

    If you don’t already have peppermint essential oils, I can bring some on Saturday. Let me know.

  16. Can I request your recipe for diaper pail cake/deodorizers?