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Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

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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 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.

Essential oils have wonderful cleaning properties and allow you to personalize how this all-purpose spray smells. A lighter 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, as long as you aren’t using straight vinegar. Worst case scenario, your house smells like you douched it for a few hours.

Personally, I have a thing for citrus (mix of sweet orange, lemon, and grapefruit) or peppermintTea Tree oil has great anti-bacterial qualities, but I can’t get past the fact that it smells like Sasquatch’s sweaty balls. I used to clean our bathroom with tea tree oil spray until I was pregnant with my oldest. I was sick as a dog and spent way too much time smelling that tea tree oil.

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 messes, wiping down counters, and wiping my toddler’s face. I keep a rag bin in my kitchen and toss them in after a few uses. After a year, I buy more washcloths in another color and move the old ones to the junkier cleaning towels.

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!

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 1 vote
Eco-Friendly Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner
Prep Time
1 min
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. Put 10-20 drops of dish soap in. Add the dish soap after the water and vinegar so that the top of the bottle isn't full of suds. Then put as many drops of essential oils as you'd like on top of the dish soap. Shake, and use as needed.

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

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!

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

  5. bahaha smells like sasquatches balls!

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

  7. 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…

  8. 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!!!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Love this

  14. 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!